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The Young And The Fearless


Cover Story: Finance Stars: Marketers

THE YOUNG AND THE FEARLESS

An energetic crop of under-50 executives is making the leap onto the World Wide Web, where they're finding plenty of customers.

At the same time, they're finally grasping the brass ring of financial-services marketing: Cross-selling.Return to top

MARK OMAN

CEO, Norwest Mortgage Co.

Cross-selling. In the financial-services industry, it's the holy grail. And it's just as elusive. Marketers have even found it tough to persuade bank-mortgage customers to open savings accounts--or at least do so profitably.

Mark C. Oman, 41, is giving it a good shot, though. Citing industry studies, his employer, Minneapolis-based Norwest Corp., claims that its banking customers have subscribed to an average of four bank products, about double the average. Thomas K. Brown, bank analyst at Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette Securities Co., says Norwest needs to take a more focused approach. But, he acknowledges, "they're ahead in executing a broad cross-sell strategy."

After years of experimenting with a variety of techniques to squeeze more revenue out of the same customers, Norwest is starting to mine its Norwest Mortgage Inc. subsidiary for potential buyers of other Norwest services. Oman, who's spearheading this initiative, oversees a diverse portfolio. Besides serving as president and CEO of Norwest Mortgage, he heads Norwest Card Services; Norwest Direct, a consumer loan telemarketing unit; and banking operations in Iowa, where the marketing experiment is getting under way.

Since 1989, Oman has built the mortgage company up from scratch to the nation's largest, with $51.5 billion in originations and $125 million in aftertax profits in 1996. Oman thinks cross-selling can eventually boost profits by $100 million. "Mortgages are one of the few core products you can cross-sell," he says. "There's natural leverage there." If so, he would not only have found the holy grail but made the quest look easy.By Phillip L. Zweig in New YorkReturn to top

ARTHUR SHAW

Senior VP, Charles Schwab & Co.

What's Charles Schwab & Co., the nation's No. 3 brokerage, doing acting like a nimble upstart? Ask Arthur V. Shaw, Schwab's senior vice-president for electronic brokerage, and he'll tell you: It's the Internet, stupid. In little more than two years, Shaw has spearheaded a sweeping initiative at the San Francisco-based giant that he says will do even more to change investing than deregulating commissions did in the 1970s. "We're making this Internet business thing really work," says Shaw, 37, a former McKinsey & Co. consultant. "We're bringing to the market an incredible array of products online."

Schwab boasts 1 million online customers, about a third of the market. Online transactions generate a third of all commissions. "Schwab is the dominant player," says Richard Strauss, a Goldman Sachs & Co. analyst. "Unlike a lot of competitors, Schwab is making good coin."

Shaw is now working to deliver customer information automatically. "We're only at the beginning of helping consumers use technology and information," says Shaw--which will likely keep him in his job for some time to come.By Linda Himelstein in San FranciscoReturn to top

SCOTT COOK

Chairman, Intuit Inc.

When Intuit Inc. Chairman Scott D. Cook got into the personal-finance software business 13 years ago, only about 100,000 people were balancing their checkbooks on a personal computer. Today, that number is close to 13 million--and 10 million of them use Intuit's Quicken program. Now, the guy who popularized the binary checkbook is trying to bring financial services to cyberspace.

In fact, Cook is betting the company on it. Intuit, which has $600 million in revenues, plans on ending its reliance on retail software sales. Instead, it's offering a broad array of services delivered via the Internet. This month, as part of a relaunch of its two-year old Web site, www.

quicken.com, Intuit is offering a home- mortgage finder service that allows computer users to compare loans from a half-dozen of the largest lenders. This winter, it will offer auto insurance. And ultimately, every Intuit product either will be wholly online or have an online component.

The 45-year-old Cook, who learned the ins and outs of mass appeal as a Procter & Gamble Co. product marketer, built his software franchise on making checkbook, tax, and small-business accounting programs that are especially easy to use. On the Web, intuitive navigation is still an important component. But Cook believes it will take more than that to coax tens of millions of people to pay bills, invest in stocks, and arrange loans online. The crucial factor is trust. And Cook hopes Intuit can gain the trust of consumers by offering comparative shopping--as well as plenty of sound editorial guidance.

"We're the customer champion for financial decisions," says Cook. "We want them to look at quicken.com as the objective source for making the most of their money." Says Roger Servison, a managing director at Fidelity Investments, an Intuit partner: "There's no question whether [Intuit is] friend or foe." With Microsoft Corp., Servison adds, "you're not quite sure."

Cook understands that being the middleman will not work unless Intuit can offer consumers a broad sampling of investment and loan choices. "Only in the Soviet Union did they figure people didn't want choice--and that didn't work very well," quips Cook. Now, it's his mission to transform Intuit into the ultimate online capitalist tool.By Steve Hamm in San FranciscoReturn to top


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