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U.K. Building Society Launches Internet Savings Account

[June 1] In a bid to beat its competitors on the Internet, Britain's Nationwide Building Society is offering 7 percent annual gross interest on a new online savings facility called Nationwide e-Savings.

Having attracted nearly two hundred thousand users to its retail Internet banking service, which it opened exactly three years ago, the Nationwide promises to keep its e-Savings interest rate at least half a percent above the base rate until January 1, 2001.

Chief Executive Brian Davis claims Nationwide has one of the most comprehensive Internet packages of any retail financial services provider.

"e-Savings is the next stage in our ongoing program to deliver value and service through the Internet. And we will be continuing to develop our services at an increasing rate -- including WAP and Internet-based TV -- and intend to remain a leading provider in the rapidly evolving electronic age," said Davis.

One of the U.K's largest financial institutions, the Nationwide Building Society is offering e-Savings as part of its FlexAccount current account. Existing Nationwide members can apply for the account online if they do not already have it.

Much of the publicity that has attended Internet banking has gone to the "online-only" offerings, such as the Prudential's Egg. Yet one or two institutions with hundreds of high street outlets -- the Nationwide and Halifax building societies among them -- have found success online.

On the Internet, Nationwide members can obtain comprehensive banking facilities, including current accounts, savings accounts, mortgages, personal loans and credit cards. They can make payments and transfers, check balances and statements, set up standing orders and view direct debits.

Even customers without Internet access can use the system via the 250 Internet terminals installed in the Nationwide's branches. Along with the banking services, users get access to news, weather, sport, shopping, and financial information.