Abbey National hunts for agency for net banking launches

– Abbey National is launching two internet banking services as part of a £100m e-commerce programme and is talking to advertising agencies about the projects.

– Abbey National is launching two internet banking services as part of a £100m e-commerce programme and is talking to advertising agencies about the projects.

Four agencies have been shortlisted to pitch for one of the services, which has the working title Aquarius. They include Euro RSCG Wnek Gosper, which handles the main Abbey National brand, Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, M&C Saatchi and Duckworth Finn Grubb Waters.

The name of the service, which is being worked on by Siegel & Gale, will be finalised in coming weeks. However, it will be a completely separate service to anything offered by the retail bank and as such will not feature Abbey National branding.

It will be positioned alongside products such as Prudential's Egg and will target affluent customers.

"We are not targeting existing customers but a new audience who are affluent, technology-friendly, financially-aware and time-poor. The advertising will be very different to existing work to reflect the fact that this is a distinctly separate offering," said a company spokeswoman.

A result of the pitch will be announced within the next six weeks. The service itself will launch in Spring next year and will begin by offering an online savings account. However, other offerings such as loans, mortgages and current accounts will be added at a later date. New technologies such as Wireless Application Protocol will also be incorporated to allow mobile users to access the internet.

Meanwhile, the retail bank is launching a branded internet service to offer existing customers another access channel. The spokeswoman confirmed that Euro RSCG would be handling advertising for the service.

Customers will also be able to access their accounts from their TV from next week, when Abbey National launches its interactive digital TV banking service with Open.

The internet projects are the first in a series of e-commerce initiatives to be undertaken in the next three years. They were unveiled this week as the company announced a strong third quarter in its autumn report. The bank expects to take 5 to 10% of the new mortgage market this year.


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