The number of e-bank customers in BfG passed the 150,000 mark in January. This represents an increase of 85,000, or 131 per cent, in a year. The number of e-bank customers a year ago was 65,000.
BfG has been a subsidiary of SEB for a year. Like SEB, BfG, which is the fifth largest privately owned bank in Germany, focuses on e-banking, but also has 177 offices throughout Germany that assist BfG's approximately one million customers with advisory services pertaining to savings and investments, among other services.
To help BfG customers begin e-banking, they receive a free "start-up package," and Internet advisors are available at all bank offices to answer questions about e-banking.
BfG expects e-banking transactions to increase through its online broker SEBdirect and through cooperation with two financial portals: wallstreet:online and the Gerling insurance group. Customers can already trade securities via wallstreet:online. Orders, account transfers and portfolio management are handled by SEBdirect.
BfG's name is being changed to SEB in the beginning of the second quarter 2001. SEB, which has become one of Europe's leading Internet bankers in recent years, now has more than 800,000 e-customers in Europe.