By Margarita Nahapetyan
HSBC Direct (NYSE:HBC) conducted a survey according to which almost half of all adults in the Unites States who use the Internet, also do their banking online.
For the study, researcher Kevin Martin, executive vice president of Personal Financial Services at HSBC Bank USA, inquired more than 2,000 adults and came to the conclusion that currently there are 49 per cent active e-banking users compared to 23 per cent in the beginning of 2007. The research also found that 62 per cent of individuals with the ages between 21 and 34 conduct their banking operations through Internet, and nearly 40 per cent of 45 to 69 years old adults are also increasingly turning to the virtual reality in order to manage their finances.
According to Kevin Martin, people are engaging themselves more and more with the Internet banking mostly because of its increased convenience, as well as independence and typically better value that it offers. This means that online users are given the opportunity to carry out transactions at times when a brick and mortar bank branches would traditionally be closed. Web activity on HSBCDirect.com, therefore shows that in 2008, 39 per cent of individuals performed their online banking operations between 6:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. In addition, in 2008 the site registered that almost 25 per cent of its web traffic took place over the weekend, with the distribution equally split between Saturdays and Sundays.
HSBC Direct says that the results of their study are similar to the projections from Forrester Research according to which 92 million, or 76 per cent of all American households are expected to be using online banking services by 2011. In February, a study conducted by Forrester Consulting has found out that presently, during the global financial crisis, consumers in the United States are more frequently using the online banking option in order to access their accounts. According to the poll, 71 per cent of bank customers said that they are keeping an eye on their finances more often now than they used to do a year ago.
But all these findings contradict the results of another survey that was conducted by comScore, which found that engagement at many of the top banking sites in fact went down in the 3rd quarter of 2008, compared to the volume in 2007. Four out of the top 5 online banking web sites experienced declines in the average number of minutes spent by each customer on their websites by the end of 2008 versus a year ago, reported comScore, adding that Wachovia went down by 12 per cent and JP Morgan Chase being down by 8 per cent.
It does not matter how and when people decide to bank, said Kevin Martin. What matters, according to him, is that consumers want to do business with a bank they know and trust. HSBC Direct does not just offer one of the most competitive interest rates in the market, it is also a great part of HSBC's presence in the United States, one of the nation's leading financial services organizations. "Globally, the HSBC Group reported pre-tax profits of US $9.3 billion for 2008, remaining one of the world's most profitable financial institutions despite exceptionally challenging market conditions," concluded Kevin Martin.