Dutch banking group ABN Amro has set up a virtual financial advice centre in Second Life, the Internet-based role playing game that has a real economy.
Second Life has a population of over 380,000 who use virtual currency, known as Linden dollars, to buy and sell virtual goods. Linden dollars can be swapped for real money and it is claimed that many regular players make a significant income from transactions.
According to a Reuters report, ABN Amro has opened a virtual bank in Second Life, which resembles the Dutch bank's real-life outlets and offer online citizens financial advice.
However ABN Amro won't be offering personal finance services at first, although a bank spokeswoman told reporters that such services may be available in the future.
Commenting on the move, Wietze Reehoorn, a member of ABN's executive board, says communicating with customers via the Internet can become more personal and more direct and competition between Dutch banks will be determined by finding the best way to establish personal contact with customers.
A number of firms have set up operations in Second Life, including IBM, Japanese car maker Toyota and Adidas which sells vitural clothes and accessories to gamers.
In October UK news and information group Reuters opened a virtual news desk in Second Life. Second Life citizens can access the latest headlines via a mobile device called The Reuters News Centre.