Call centre software glitches have forced Halifax to postpone the launch of its much-vaunted direct bank IF. The decision to pull the plug comes just 24 hours before the new channel was due to open for business.
IF (short for Intelligent Finance) is the latest in a long line of UK Internet banking ventures to suffer gestational problems. Most recently, Cahoot, Abbey National's Web-bank was forced to turn away customers on its first day of trading because of difficulties with registration.
The problems at IF arose during testing of volume call handling procedures. IF was scheduled to open a telephone-only operation swiftly followed by an Internet service. The telephone bank will now open some time in August. No deadlines have been set for the launch of the Web operation.
IF had pre-registered 15,000 users for its service. The bank reckons the cancellation will cost £1m-2m in lost sales.