Christos Cotsakos: A Rich Haul In Cash Machines

Christos M. Cotsakos, CEO of online broker E*Trade Group, had been grappling with a big drawback of online banking: You can't get any cash out of your PC. But now he has found a way, through E*Trade's online banking arm. This week. Cotsakos said he's buying privately held Card Capture Services Inc., a Portland (Ore.) operator of 8,500 automatic teller machines.

Loading up on ATMs is Cotsakos' next step in an effort to make E*Trade a virtual financial-services center--and to spur growth at the online banking unit, which has only 130,000 accounts. The real-world ATMs not only let customers withdraw and deposit cash but also give the marketing-savvy Cotsakos another ad vehicle. He plans to plaster E*Trade's name on all the machines, thus trumpeting the brand in drugstores, grocery stores, and gas stations. He'll also use the screens to flash E*Trade ads to customers. Next up: programming the ATMs to let you check out your E*Trade account--and even buy stock.

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