European Internet bank first-e is to shut down its German and UK operations with the loss of 245 jobs in Dublin. Customers are being invited to transfer their accounts to online bank/broker DAB.
Set up in 1999, first-e was funded by Enba, a Dublin-based Internet incubator, and operated under the banking licence of privately-owned Banque d'Escompte. Enba has been seeking a buyer for the venture since the collapse of a proposed merger with Uno-e, the Internet arm of Spain's Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria.
First-e's 80,000 customers are being offered the opportunity to transfer their accounts to DAB in Germany and its online broker SelfTrade in the UK.
The bank will formally cease operations in early October. The closure will lead to the loss of 245 jobs at first-e's headquarters in Dublin.
Thirty five staff are being kept on at Factor-e, the bank's technology arm, which hopes to sell its software products to other banks and brokers.
First-e was established in the first wave of enthusiasm for the stand-alone Internet bank model. Its failure follows a wave of withdrawals from the sector, marked last week by the closure after only six months of operation of firstviewbank.com, a Danish Internet-only bank established by Swedbank.