Banks and financial services companies have been falling over each other this week in the rush to launch internet banking services.
Abbey National announced that it will open an internet bank, called cahoot, in six weeks. The company said it would invest £200 million in ecommerce services over the next two to three years.
cahoot will be launched initially in the UK, but will then be rolled out across the rest of Europe. Abbey said it hopes to convert 500,000 existing banking customers to internet banking by the end of this year.
Halifax will launch its internet and telephone bank, called IF.com, in the summer. IF (Intelligent Finance) was previously known as Greenfield.co and will offer current accounts, savings, mortgages, credit cards and loans.
Jim Spowart, chief executive of IF, said the company hopes to recruit 500,000 new customers during the bank's first year. IF's services will also be available via mobile phones later this year.
Halifax will also launch esure, its internet insurance venture in early 2001. esure.com, announced yesterday, will provide cover online to the UK's private motorists and homeowners.
The company, which launched its online banking service Halifax Online in October last year, said it will invest £1.5bn in its online businesses.
Last Friday, Lloyds TSB announced plans to invest £200m to £300m into a series of dedicated internet banks across Europe. It said it would set up a pan-European banking operation later this year.
However, David Anderson, chief executive of Yorkshire Building Society, has said the organisation has opted not to launch a separately branded online business route, reports The Guardian today. Mr Anderson said that despite the growing importance of the internet in the future the society did not want to lose the face to face contact its branch network provides.
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