Yahoo! Taps Into Online Banking

As analysts have recently pointed out, leading portal site Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO) has no problem getting people to come to its site. Now Yahoo! is working toward getting its visitors to stay awhile. Today, Yahoo! announced a deal with online bank Telebank (Nasdaq: TBFC) that will allow Telebank customers to view their account information on Yahoo!.

This new feature will be integrated into the personalized My Yahoo! section, as well as Yahoo!’s finance area, which is the Internet’s top financial site, according to Media Metrix. Telebank customers will be able to check account balances and transaction histories for savings accounts, checking accounts and CDs. Yahoo! users will also be able to open a new Telebank account.

“Yahoo! users understand the enormous benefits of online account access, and we believe this makes the new online account access service a powerful account acquisition tool for Telebank,” said Mitchell H. Caplan, president and CEO of Telebank.

Rapid Expansion For Online Banking

Yahoo! and Telebank, which also offers mortgage and insurance services, are tapping into an online banking market that is expected to grow from 6.9 million U.S. customers in 1998 to 24.4 million by 2002, according to a May 1999 report from CyberDialogue. Last week, American Express launched its own online bank to try to grab a piece of this big pie.

Telebank, which has signed a merger agreement with online broker E*Trade, already has more than 70,000 accounts, more than $1.3 billion in deposits and more than $2.6 billion in assets. Telebank’s merger with E*Trade, which was valued about $1.8 billion in stock when the deal was announced in June, will allow E*Trade’s users to transfer money online.

The deal is the first merger of an online bank and an online broker. E*Trade believes the merger will reduce the cost of customer acquisition and position Telebank as the first pure-play e-commerce company in the financial services sector.

On Monday, E*Trade announced the hiring of Frank Petrilli as president of its securities unit. Petrilli was raided from competitor TD Waterhouse, where he served as president and chief operating officer. Petrilli’s new responsibilities will include working toward integrating E*Trade’s new acquisitions, including Telebank.

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