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NEW YORK – Credit unions and banks online reached more than 30% of the active Internet audience in five major markets in November, according to Nielsen/NetRatings. “The online financial services sector is one of last year’s success stories,” said Richard Goosey, international chief of measurement science, NetRatings. “Between October 2001 and October 2002, the number of European surfers visiting financial services sites grew from 15 to 25 million, while the percentage of European Internet users who regularly visit a financial services site steadily rose to 37%.” On a country-by-country basis, online bank domains in Sweden attracted the highest percentage of active users in November, with more than half that country’s surfers visiting a bank or credit union site and spending an average of more than an hour on those sites during the month. “In virtually every market, it is the traditional, established brick and mortar banks that are attracting the biggest audiences,” Goosey said. “With full service banks and credit unions drawing well over a third of the active audience in November in such markets as Australia, France, the Netherlands and Brazil, the predicted death of the brick and mortar bank is proving to be one of the wildest exaggerations of the Netherlands and Brazil, the predicted death of the brick and mortar bank is proving to be one of the wildest exaggerations of the Internet boom years.

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