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Bank of Ireland Launches Online Banking Service

Following an emerging trend towards online banking in the Isles, The Bank of Ireland Friday announced plans to launch Fsharp in September.

While Fsharp will initially target Irish and UK expatriates, the Bank soon hopes to draw customers of all nationalities living and working abroad. Accounts will be available in all major currencies, and a 24-hour technical support center will be available for customer service.

The launch follows recent global research conducted by The Mercer Management Consulting Group and commissioned by the Bank of Ireland, which revealed that 60 percent of English-speaking expatriates prefer online banking when it comes to offshore investments.

The report also said that 63 percent cited the main reason for not having an offshore account was of lack of information, and half of the 37 percent who hold offshore accounts were dissatisfied with their service. The research was conducted via the Internet, with a sample base of approximately 450 respondents in 46 countries.

The English-speaking expatriate market size is estimated to be 1.7 million with investment assets £15,000 and combined deposits £25 billion.

"Due to the nature of the expatriate community, offshore banking via the Internet offers huge benefits for those living and working abroad," said Tony O'Shea, general manager responsible for offshore banking at Bank of Ireland.

"It takes away what consumers in the Mercer research described as the 'hassle of offshore banking' by offering them an opportunity to carry out offshore banking transactions anytime, anywhere, anyplace."

Scottish Widows, Scotland's second-largest pension provider, will also launch online banking services within the next three months to compete with the U.K. Internet bank Egg, Bloomberg reported Friday. Egg has attracted £5.5 billion in deposits in its first six months.



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