|By Jim Bruene on January 8, 1999 11:38 AM | Comments|
TeleBank’s banner ad on Yahoo!
Brick-and-morterless TeleBank (Washington D.C.: $2.3 billion; 51,000 accounts) is basking in the in the glow of a dynamite 1998 earnings report which saw total accounts and deposits more than double during 1998 to 51,000 accounts (from 22,000) and $1.1 billion in deposits (from $522 million). As nice as those results were, we were far more interested in hearing more about their Yahoo! relationship. In a Feb. 3 conference call with analysts, CEO Mitchell Caplan, reported that phase two of the Yahoo! business agreement would be announced the next day (phase one was a banner advertising buy which began in fourth quarter, see above).
The next day we awoke to a somewhat anitclimatic announcement of the so-called ATM Refunder. Yahoo! users that sign up for a checking account will receive a refund of up to $1.50 per surcharged ATM transaction with a maximum of four refunds per statement period.
The gimmick makes for a good banner ad and is a low-cost way to remove one of the barriers to checking at a virtual bank. It reinforces TeleBank’s positioning as a smart place for savvy Web users to do their checking, but it won’t move sigificant market share on its own.
We have to wait for phase three of the Yahoo! relationship for the bigger story. All the bank will say is that it involves a “strategic integration” on Yahoo! Finance that will be announced at the end of frist quarter. Speculation revolves around a bill pay center with Checkfree (see footnote). Separately, the bank sent postcards to prospects offering a $25 bonus to start a savings account.
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