COMMERCE CORRAL.

AuthorGalanternick, Mery
PositionAutomated banking

OVER THE LAST THREE YEARS, BRADESCO, BRAZIL'S LARGEST bank, has convinced more than 600,000 customers to manage their accounts over the Internet.

Evolution was inevitable. "We had already succeeded in replacing all paper, stamps and hassle imposed on our clients with the click of a computer mouse," says Odecio Gregio, Bradesco's manager for technology products. "Why not introduce this huge consumer market to cyberstores?" Thus was born the BradescoNet Electronic Commerce site, an extension of its home-banking page.

And make no mistake, the service is most definitely an extension of the Brazilian banking giant. With the largest online banking community in Latin America, the bank dictates who sells, tightly controls the authentication process and delivers the products-all for a cut of the action.

So far, 170 cyber stores have signed up, 60 of which are open for business. Some 600 more would-be virtual retailers are in various stages of negotiations with the bank. The best-selling items are books, flowers and CDs, but Bradesco's e-commerce has a varied selection of stores including sportswear, toys, computers, food and medicines. To deliver the goods, Bradesco signed up with Sedex, a local air courier.

Like credit card companies, Bradesco charges...

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