最有看点的互联网金融门户

最有看点的互联网金融门户
国际资讯

网络银行知多少

2014年开始,市场变得对数字化产品青睐有加,而逐渐远离传统市场。亚马逊的兴盛和希尔斯百货的衰落就是典例。部分产业正在发生翻天覆地的变化,比如日用消费品产业和服务业都开始借助前沿科技来发展自己,更不用提数据时代对以网络为依托的技术部门产生的影响了。尽管部分产业已经开始转向互联网发展,但是金融业,特别是银行业,依旧在很大程度上依赖实体银行。

目前,纯网络银行依旧屈指可数,虽然有部分逐步发展起来,但是,整个金融业依旧主要支持有广泛实体分支机构的银行。不过这种情形应该在未来会发生转变。

网上银行的劣势

当然,大型银行也提供网上银行服务,比如美国银行(Bank of America)、富国银行(Wells Fargo)集团和摩根大通(JP Morgan & Chase Co.)的客户可以通过网络在线处理业务。

但是,最大的不同就在于是否可进行实体交易。客户想要在美国银行全美5600家银行或者16200个自动提款机上取现吗?估计是不会。客户能否走进一家分行,同柜员进行交流,而非通过电话解决问题?没问题(当然,只是理论而言)。客户是不是只想通过古老的方式来存钱,把贵重物品放在保险箱里?这样的话,只用去附近租个保险箱就可以了。

人们往往习惯看得见摸得着的东西,这点区别很重要。实体让人放心。这正好解释了为什么自从金本位设立以来,国家一直维持这一制度。同样,这也是传统投资者对比特币采取观望态度的原因之一。人们更习惯于去一家实体银行,同真人进行面对面交流,并可以从其他人那里获取现金。

尽管电子交易规模日益壮大,现金依旧占据主导地位。尽管金融业务交易中,现金交易仅占交易总值的0.2%,但是,却占了高达49.4%的交易实体量。

作为金融业发展的一种新形式,但这并不代表网上银行就无法提供现金提取服务,只是需要依赖其他传统实体银行来提供此类服务。例如网上银行BofI就为使用对手银行的自动提款机支付相关费用,因为实体配置较少,所以这方面的预算还是比较充裕的。但是不管怎么说,网上银行依旧需要依赖实体银行。

谈到实体银行,如果你选择在网上银行,能够有面对面交流的机会就是十分幸运的,除非你住在网上银行仅有的一两家实体机构附近。

纯网上银行的优势

网上银行——例如BofI(即网上银行的单词首字母简写),以及印第安纳州第一网络银行——相较于传统银行,节省了很大一笔开支。所以,就像运营良好的地区银行那样,纯网上银行能够为客户提供高利率,比如为存款和短期资本市场账户提供高利息率,而且查询业务也基本免费。

此外,不设立实体银行意味着客户搬迁不必重新开户。人们常常希望能够按照自己意愿跳槽到更合适的职位,而无需转账和改变网上账户将倍受客户青睐。

传统银行业设立实体机构来为客户资金提供实体保障。但是,这并非意味着网上银行就不受联邦存款保险公司(FDIC)的支持。不过,也不排除会有少数网上银行不受联邦存款保险公司的支持,通常,大型网上银行都受联邦存款保险公司的保护。因此,客户在网上银行和实体银行存款一样皆有保障。

当然,这一点已然将网上银行和比特币银行区分开来,例如已经没落的Mt.Gox。尽管他们都操作虚拟货币,但是,网上银行能够提供保障,即便银行运营状况不佳,客户也无需过分担心资产安全。

的确,纯网上银行缺少客户服务的实体机构。但是,他们正采取创新方法来弥补这一不足。例如FCTY就设立了两家实体银行,但是,它同样在客户需要开账户的时候会派出员工。此外,FCTY也会有其他创新想法:提供银行上门服务。

纯网上银行的支持者也许会说,网上银行还没用广泛流行开来是因为它还没有充分展现在普通大众面前。但是,无论就顾客还是投资者而言,尤其是对BOFI而言,情形都会得到改变,。目前,第一家网上银行资产总额已高达35.6亿美元,估值超过10亿美元,其股价较去年上涨了100.93%,其中,仅4月8日当天就激增了10.03个百分点。

网上银行有利有弊,只要银行业跟随着市场产业发展的大潮流,假以时日,网上银行必将广泛流行开来。

In 2014 the market favors those that go digital - and discards those that do not. The Amazons  have thrived while the Sears  of the world have sunk. The sea change encompasses several industries, with Consumer Goods and Services both favoring the technologically savvy, to say nothing of how the Digital Age has influenced the internet-dominated Technology sector. But while several fields have been revolutionized by the shift online, the Financial sector - specifically banking - still largely favors brick-and-mortar based throwbacks.

There are scant few banks that operate strictly online. A few are beginning to make waves, but the industry still greatly favors those with a wide physical branch presence. But the tide may be turning.

The Disadvantages of Online Banks

Of course, even the major lenders have online banking options. Bank of America  , Wells Fargo  , and JPMorgan & Chase Co.  haven't keep their head in the sand when it comes to allowing customers to do their banking through the internet.

But the key difference is the possibility of physical transaction is there. A customer wants to pull their money out in cash from any of Bank of America's 5,600 branches or 16,200 ATMs? Donezo. Want to walk into a branch and talk to an actual person and not someone on the phone about a problem? No problem (well, at least theoretically). Want to utilize one of those old standbys of banking, the safety deposit box, to hide your valuables? Go to a neighborhood location and rent one out.

People take comfort in the tangible, and that's a big key difference. Physical reassurance. It's why the country stayed on the gold standard so long after it made sense to do so. It's one of the myriad reasons traditional investors are wary of bitcoin. People like to feel that if absolutely necessary, they can go to a real bank and talk to a real person and get real money they can ultimately exchange with another real person.

And though digital is big, cash is still king. While only 0.2 percent of all financial transactions by value occur with cash, a whopping 49.4 percent of the volume of it does.

This is not to say, as a flipside, that online-only banks are incapable of providing cash. But they usually rely on the infrastructure of other banks to supply it. Internet bank BofI Holding, for example, pays debit fees associated with using rival bank's ATMs, which they are able to do since they don't have much overhead. But it's still essentially leeching on the physical structures of others.

Speaking of physical structures, if you bank with an online bank, good luck getting face-to-face time, unless you live where the bank's one or two actual physical locations are.

So traditional banks provide the infrastructure to provide reassurance in the form of physical cash, customer service, and protection of wealth. But all of those things have costs. And by trimming those out, inter banks can provide exceptionally cheap banking. And a much higher interest rate than competitors.

The Advantages of Online-Only Banks

By existing almost solely on the internet, banks like the aforementioned, awkwardly named BofI (for "Bank of the Internet"), and First Internet Bank of Indiana  trim an incredible chunk of overhead out of their budget. As a result, like an even more efficient regional bank they are able to offer favorable interest rates to customers, usually paying a higher rate for savings and money-market accounts, and almost always offer free checking.

Additionally, the lack of physical locations means a customer doesn't have to change banks if they move. The ability to freely move for a job is usually a net financial benefit for a person, and getting to avoid the hassle of moving money and switching online bill pay can be a welcome benefit.

Traditional banks have the physical branches to provide physical reassurance of wealth. But this is not to say that online banks aren't backed by the FDIC. Well, there are probably some dicey ones out there somewhere that don't, but the major online banks are all FDIC insured, thus protecting customers' deposits exactly the same as they do with physical banks.

This of course differentiates online banks from bitcoin "banks" like the failed Mt. Gox. While they both handle digital money, one of them can provide reassurance that if things ever did somehow go south, there would be nothing to worry about.

It is true that online-only banks lack many physical branches to provide customer service. But they tend to make up for it in innovative ways. 1st Century Bancshares, for example, does have two physical branches, but it will also send an employee to wherever a customer is to set up their account. If they didn't invent it, 1st Century is certainly spearheading one pretty innovative concept: home delivery banking.

A "bull" for online-only banks, then could argue that the only reason online banks haven't caught on is a lack of exposure to the populace. But that might be changing, both with customers and investors, notably BofI. The "oldest bank on the internet" currently has $3.56 billion in assets, is valued at over $1 billion, and its stock has gained 100.93 percent from its price a year ago, including a 10.03 pop on April 8.

Internet banks have their pros and cons, but if banking is moving like other industries are, internet banking is going to a part of conversation for some time to come.


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