MNC terminates service allowing banking by phone

December 18, 1991|By Peter H. Frank

MNC Financial Inc. is pulling the plug on one of its best-loved, but least-used, services.

Maryland National Bank's Bankline Money Manager and a similar product at its sister American Security Bank in Washington allowed customers to transfer funds and pay bills over the phone. They will be discontinued at the end of the year, the banking company said.

"The people who loved it really loved it, but not enough people loved it," said T. Christian Armstrong, a senior vice president at the banking company. Only 6,500 people, less than 2 percent of the banks' customers, use the service, he said.

Bankline, which gives account balances and other information over the phone, will not be affected.

For MNC, it is the second time it has killed the bank-by-phone service. The company ended the product five years ago, also for lack of interest, only to inherit it anew when it merged with Equitable Bancorporation three years later.

MNC noticed that many of its customers who mourned the loss of the telephone service moved their accounts to Equitable.

"We re-architected it, we recapitalized it, we updated the system, we improved the service and we marketed the heck out of it, and guess what?" Mr. Armstrong said. "Still less than 2 percent of the customers used it. You just can't make any money out of it."

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