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Live Chat in Online Banking Grabs Some Ink

Citi_myhomeequity_livechatAlthough our readers won't find much new information in today's Wall Street Journal article, Online Banking Strives for the Human Touch, it's significant for two reasons:

  • Another example of a leading personal finance writer looking for "the next big thing" in online banking (see also NetBanker June 28); expect a wave of these stories through year-end
  • The article included a full-text screenshot of a banking chat session with SunTrust. You might circulate this among your reps so they understand that what they write in a chat session potentially becomes part of the "public record" (by the way, the SunTrust rep, and/or the marketing guru who scripted the canned responses, deserve a raise for their sales technique).

If you make it to the end, you'll find a couple interesting online lending factoids:

  • Bank of America claims an 8-fold increase in online-mortgage sales in Q1 2006 compared to the year earlier quarter, with live-chat part of the reason; it also said home-equity loan volume doubled
  • Citbank says 90% of its live-chat users complete a home-equity application, presumably at its <> site mentioned earlier in the story (see screenshot above); the bank also said it expects to originate $2 billion in home equity loans online in 2006, double that in 2005