Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Boursorama is a convincing example of this model. Since its merger with Societe Generale, Boursorama is no longer confined to the business broker but has become a real bank. However, if the online bank has no place as an independent financial organization, recent operations have shown that banking online is now essential to any actor with a network. Newcomers in the banking landscape have understood. Insurers having embarked on the adventure of assurfinance began by acquiring or developing a range of online banking in addition to the existing branch network.
The acquisition of online banks by banks should not be seen as a way to computerize the customer relationship. Indeed, banks are now looking to boost their network by opening branches. The agency is the best way to attract customers, offering Internet users the opportunity to simplify the management of current operations.
Nevertheless, some players have managed to build a profitable model around online banking service. This model is based on tactical development articulated in two phases:
(I) a startup focused on specialized and profitable activities. For example, the tactic is to capture customer deposits and generate commissions on high value added activities (securities, life insurance ...) for which the customer is willing to pay.
(Ii) extension to activities of daily bank (current accounts, credit card) which are less profitable, because requiring investment in major infrastructure, earn little and are subject to very strong competition.
In their early days, online banks were intended to attract a large clientele by proposing a new model of bank: Account Management possible at any time and from any computer connected to the Internet, with an offer "discount". Using the Internet as the only interface between the bank and the customer had in fact enable substantial savings, both in terms of personnel but also capital assets. Thus, online banks offer rates were very aggressive on a range of services equivalent to that of a traditional bank. However, they failed to offer prices low enough to stand out, to forget the absence of physical relationship between the customer and the banker, and succeed in capturing some of the customers used to a classical model.
Weakened by the explosion of the Internet bubble in 2000, online banks could not withstand the intensity of competition in the banking sector, especially as traditional banks, although lagging behind the banks line, developed or acquired equivalent services. The interest of a pure player in online banking has therefore been questioned since it was possible to combine customer relationship in a network, and maximum flexibility via the Internet. The only entities that have managed to sustain their existence are those that are backed by a bank, maintaining an independent identity. This allowed them to diversify their services, taking advantage of operational know-how and organizational parent companies and thus offer very attractive prices.