Over half of the UK's building societies are planning to introduce an online savings channel in the next year in a bid to attract and maintain customers during the current economic gloom.
According to a survey of executives at 43 building societies by Nordic IT services outfit TietoEnator, only a quarter of building societies questioned already offer online savings services, but around 55% of respondents are planning to introduce the channel within the next 12 months.
TietoEnator says this is in direct response to the key challenge that building societies are facing of securing funding by attracting and retaining savers. Over 87% of survey respondents said introducing an online savings channel is "important", with 26% stating it is "crucial".
Half of those questioned fear savers may move to other providers in order to take advantage of services such as online savings accounts.
Commenting on the findings, Adrian Coles, Director-General, Building Society Association, says: “Building societies have always been keen to innovate in order to deliver what their members want. Online savings are no different and I'm sure we will see substantial development over the next 12 months.”