Yahoo List: Internet Banking Better Than Sex
Gerry Dick, Inside INdiana Business
3/3/2005 3:34:59 PM
Indianapolis-based First Internet Bank of Indiana, one of the nation's first web-only financial institutions, has made a Yahoo list of top Internet moments.
The bank is number 59 on Yahoo Netrospective: 10 Years, 100 Moments of the Web, a position that places it above the explosion of online sex. "It's just a great plus for the organization and the staff," says First Internet Bank Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and Founder David Becker. "We were kind of bouncing off the walls...that the rest of the world recognizes that we really were a pioneer in a lot of the real-time banking applications."
Heralding a new era for the banking industry, Becker launched First Internet Bank in February 1999 and had customers in every state in the nation within 90 days of opening. First IB's launch, announced at New York's Museum of Financial History, was viewed as a visionary approach to empowering consumers to manage their personal finances when and where they wanted. While dozens of Internet banks followed, "probably about 4 or 5 pure players remain" says Becker of an industry that has been hurt by the recession and a tendency to hang on to its traditions.
In theory, Internet banks can offer better rates and lower fees than their brick-and-mortar counterparts because they cut out costly infrastructure and overhead. Today, First Internet Bank is a $440 million institution with more than 30,000 customers. "We're doing that with less than 30 employees," says Becker. "A traditional bank our size would have 150 employees."
One of the biggest challenges for Becker and other Internet bankers has been satisfying traditional banking regulators on the concept. "We're a bank at heart,' says Becker. "All we're changing is the delivery mechanism to the consumer."
Becker, who has also founded Indiana startups like Member Data Services and ViFi, says he envisions First Internet Bank as a $1 billion institution in three years.