ABN Amro and KPN launch European Internet bank

ABN Amro and KPN launch European Internet bank

ABN Amro Bank is to set up a pan-European Internet banking operation with Dutch telecomms operator KPN. The new venture, dubbed Money Planet, will launch first in the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium.

The two companies say the market for online financial services is worth about EUR19 billion in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany and has a value of EUR65 billion in the other European countries. Money Planet's aim is to capture at least one million customers within four years.

ABN Amro and KPN expect to invest a total of EUR150-200 million in the rollout of Money Planet in the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium over the first two years. The independently managed venture will receive income from commission for the distribution of financial products and services, and will also take a share in the profits from sales of ABN Amro's products. The aim is for Money Planet to be profitable in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany four years after its launch.

Money Planet services will include current accounts, cards, stock brokerage, mortgages, insurance and investment funds. Of these, current account products, cards and stock brokerage services will be marketed exclusively by ABN Amro under the Money Planet label. For other services, Money Planet will offer a choice of different suppliers in the form of an online financial supermarket. Other planned services include stock market news, real-time price information, analyst conferences and chat facilities.

The venture will aim to offer a one-stop-shop for financial services through KPN-operated Internet portals. For example, travellers who have made their reservations via Travel Planet will be directed to Money Planet for travel insurance.

KPN already has Internet portals in the Netherlands (including Planet Internet and Het Net) and Belgium (Planet Internet), and mobile portals in the Netherlands (M-Info) and Germany. An initial version of Money Planet will be added to the portals starting early 2001. Later, Money Planet will be rolled out in other European countries.

Rijkman Groenink, chairman of the ABN Amro board of management, says the bank is moving to a "multifaceted policy" for Internet banking in Europe. "We are responding to the new realities of the marketplace by de facto creating competition for ourselves," he says. "We have announced previously the integration of online banking in the existing distribution framework in the Netherlands as well as the fact that we are preparing to launch a European e-brokerage and e-banking service".

Paul Smits, chairman of the KPN board of management, says co-operation with ABN Amro will extend beyond the Money Planet venture: "There are three possible projects in which we could combine forces: universal bank account and mobile numbers, the development of e-payment solutions, and combined invoicing."

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