Bank of America has folded its Loans.com portal back into its main site-the latest in a string of high-profile Internet-only bank offering flops that includes Bank One's closing of Wingspan and Juniper Financial's sale to CIBC.
On January 28, 2000, Bank of America, a leader in online banking, purchased the rights to the Loans.com domain name for $3 million at an electronic auction. Now, nineteen months later, BofA-serving more than 30 million households and two million businesses across the country-is using the site to redirect Internet traffic directly to www.BankofAmerica.com.
"Bank of America purchased Loans.com at the height of the Internet craze because it was looking for different ways to deliver product," said spokesperson Brad Russell. "We wanted to address all the different needs and wants of our consumers, and this was a possible delivery channel."
Customers who visited Loans.com were offered the opportunity to receive a free credit report-the main "hook" for the site.
Russell continued, "The dot-com bubble had burst. People were going out of business quickly, and consumers wanted to feel safe about who they were doing business with."
Research confirmed that consumers felt much safer conducting their business with Bank of America branded solutions. Therefore, instead of building out a separate division, a decision was made to fold that effort into Bank of America.com.
Yet there are no plans to sell, auction or in any way divest Loans.com. Instead, Bank of America is determined to continue capturing its traffic. In fact, Bank of America sees the Web site as a way of assisting the company's online business.