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E*Trade Bank Seeks To Expand Physical Presence In The United States

by Philip Morton, Investors Offshore.com

14 December 2001


It was revealed recently that E*Trade Bank, formerly Telebanc, is seeking to broaden its offline services and physical presence as its parent company's trading volumes decline.

Since the bank was acquired in 1999, it has relied on the online trading arm of the E*Trade Group to spur internet banking deposits. However, with the number of transactions down by around half over the past year, and new brokerage accounts declining by almost 77%, E*Trade Bank has been forced to diversify, as it can no longer rely on its parent's deep(ish) pockets.

Although during the third quarter of this year the bank reported just 1,625 new accounts (down from 65,000 the previous year), the General Manager of E*Trade Bank, Arlen Gelbard, professes himself unconcerned. 'We're not focussed on accounts,' he explained. 'We've changed our focus to households.'

According to Gelbard, this new strategy makes a lot of sense, as once a family has become a bank customer, a whole host of other services and products can be marketed to it. The US bank is also ramping up its physical presence in the United States in response to growing demand for 'bricks and clicks' banking. 'Sometimes people want to know they have a place to go wring someones's neck,' quipped one analyst recently.

According to E*Trade Bank, with over 11,000 automatic teller machines, the company now operates the third largest ATM network in the States, and there are plans to open 43 E*Trade zones in Target stores over the next year.


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