Lloyds TSB has announced plans to launch a series of dedicated Internet banks across Europe as part of its defence against the growing number of new entrants to the market.
The bank said it would set up a pan-European banking operation this year, focusing initially on Spain before launching in the UK towards the end of the year.
Some 160,000 customers use Lloyds TSB's existing UK online service, and the bank expects the number to rise to one million by the end of 2000. The use of Internet technology is part of the bank's new cost-cutting plans and efficiency drive.
The bank plans to fight off the surge of new entrants to the online banking market, such as First-e and Prudential's Egg, and the threat of US banks entering the market.
Lloyds TSB also announced a restructuring plan which it said will cost £200 million in 2000, but will realise significant savings in the long term. The bank will cut its branch network, with staff numbers expected to be reduced by 3000, but will expand lower cost delivery programmes such as Internet and telephone banking.
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