Barclays has begun the roll out of Open Plan, an integrated banking service inherited from its acquisition of the Woolwich, which enables customers to combine their current account, savings and mortgage. The UK bank has set a target of attracting 500,000 customers to the new account by the end of next year.
"We believe that Open Plan will change the way people bank and give our customers a much better deal," says John Eaton, managing director of UK retail products, Barclays.
He says the bank is investing £50 million in the roll out of the service. "This is a big move. We believe that by 2005 at least one tenth of the UK population will be using Open Plan from Barclays and Woolwich."
Open Plan customers will benefit from being able to offset credit balances against their mortgage, automatically sweep money to earn a higher rate of interest, avoid overdraft charges and borrow money at mortgage rates.
Barclays estimates that for a customer with a mortgage of £87,000 and £7,000 savings they can save almost four years off the mortgage term and £17,800 in interest.