Report on the internet economy. In focus: The financial sector Q1 2002

01. 05. 2002.

In association with Webigen Inc. and Sun Microsystems Hungary, GKI Co. conducts quarterly surveys on internet usage and the development of the electronic economy in Hungary. The present report outlines the position of the financial sector in the internet economy.

While on December 31, 2001 banks offering  online checking account services had approximately 148,700 personal and 20,900 corporate online customers, these figures rose to 174,900 and 24,700, respectively, by March 31, 2002. They reflect an approximately18% expansion in both segments over the period of one quarter.  More banks are expected to launch online services by the end of 2002. In 2001 online sales of insurance companies accounted for a negligible percentage of their total sales. This rate will likely remain below 1% in 2002, as well, even at the largest companies. Securities firms have once again become more optimistic, expecting a substantial rise in the number of online clients by the end of the year.

As in numerous other research projects of GKI Economic Research Co., the results of this survey are synthesized in a single index.  This sentiment index,  representing  the expectations of certain segments of the economy regarding the impact of internet use and web-based applications on their market,  is comprised of responses to four questions. The questions relate to the following issues: expectations regarding online sales and procurement,  the impact of the internet on the market of the company as well as the utilization of the internet in the present and in the future.

In the first quarter of 2002, the GKI-Webigen Financial Service Providers’ Internet Usage Index was at 10.6, reflecting no change in the expectations of the financial sector regarding the online financial market.

GKI-Webigen Financial Serivce Providers’ Internet Usage Index

The six banks offering online checking account services had approximately 174,900 personal and 24,700 corporate online customers on March 31, 2002. This means that over the first quarter of 2002 the number of customers using online banking services rose by 18% in both the household and the corporate segments.

During the course of 2002 further banks will offer online services, including large and medium-sized banks and a number of specialized credit institutions. According to the expectations of banks, the number of individual and corporate clients will increase by 32% and 48%, respectively, by the end of 2002.

Number of internet customers at banks offering current account services

The percentage of customers actually using online banking services, however, is relatively low. In the first quarter of 2001, only some 43-44% of all personal online customers and approximately 52% of corporate customers carried out at least one  transaction over the internet.

On March 31, 2002 approximately 165,000 residential and 21,600 corporate customers had bank accounts allowing mobile phone banking services. These figures reflect increases of 12% and 14%, respectively, compared with the previous year, and 230% and 310%, respectively, year-on-year.

Number of customers using mobile financial services at banks

Following a period of stagnation and decline, securities companies have once again become more optimistic regarding the number of prospective online customers. Based on the survey, the number of customers (at approx. ten thousand at the end of Q1 2002) could increase by as much as 30% by the end of the year.

Representativity of the survey: banks at 64% in terms of  total assets, insurance companies at 39% in terms of total premium revenues, securities firms at 12% in terms of response rate.

GKI Economic Research Co. – Webigen Inc. – Sun Microsystems Hungary Ltd.