Small-business use of online banking service channels grew by more than 50 per cent over the past two years, and the Internet is now poised to surpass call centers in terms of small-business usage, according to a survey conducted by Greenwich Associates. The growth of small-business Internet banking indicates that improvements in functionality and educational effort undertaken by banks – especially large banks – to ease customers’ fears about electronic banking are beginning to pay dividends. ‘Large banks are increasingly using their electronic banking capabilities to counter the high-touch advantages of community banks,’ said Greenwich Associates. Among the four major channels for service delivery to small businesses, the Internet has grown the most dramatically at the top 40 banking service providers in the United States. Internet use in 2003 grew to 40 per cent, from just 26 per cent in 2001. During the same period, call center use fell to 41 per cent from 47 per cent, while the use of bankers and branches remained stable at about 72 per cent and 76 per cent, respectively, said Greenwich Associates.
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