The "Good Hands" people want to grab a bigger share of their customers' wallets. Allstate Corp. plans on launching its long-anticipated Internet bank by September 30 with a host of retirement, savings and investment products.Initially, the Northbrook, Ill.-based company is training its 2,000 agents in California and 1,200 agents in New York to refer policyholders to the new bank, which recently received a full-service thrift charter from the Office of Thrift Supervision.
The primary reason why California and New York were chosen for the rollout is Allstate's Good Hands Network cross-channel strategy, which integrates the Web with call centers and agents, has been introduced in those two states.
"We looked across the United States to determine where we're rolling out our multi-access strategy, and with an East Coast and a West Coast presence, we felt that would help us understand what to expect across the country," says Tony Wilson, vice president of marketing for Allstate Bank.
The company will not market the bank outside of the two initial states this year, but it intends to have agents in all 50 states trained by the end of 2002. However, once the bank opens for business, consumers in all 50 states will be able to open accounts and do their banking via the Internet, call centers, ATMs and by mail.
"Our agents' role will be to market the bank and refer business; they will not be accepting deposits," Wilson says.
Although Allstate is planning a low-key launch, the company will air television ads in two California markets-Sacramento and San Diego-and three New York cities-Rochester, Albany and Buffalo. The company also will roll out a direct-marketing campaign in the two states.
Allstate Bank is targeting investment and savings products for customers planning for their retirement. The product lineup includes savings accounts, certificates of deposit and money market accounts. Allstate will issue MasterCard ATM and debit cards for checking accountholders, and will issue credit cards in the future. The bank eventually will expand its online offerings to include applying for and securing home equity and auto loans and mortgage products.
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