Online bank Egg has issued a bullish pre-close trading statement in which it talks up prospects for growth within its UK business and releases the first month's trading data from its launch in France.
The stand-alone direct bank says its UK business continues to grow strongly and profitably with increasing card margins and fee income from the loans business being the main contributors.
The banks says the combination of new card acquisition and personal loan volume increases has resulted in strong growth in unsecured lending balances this quarter.
Egg made its first foray overseas last month with the launch of a new Visa credit card product dubbed La Carte Egg.
"We have had 28,000 card accepts in the first month and early indicators suggest that we are attracting a higher quality of applications than expected," says the bank in a statement. "The average salary of our card customers is €50,000, which is 30% higher than the French average and is indicative that our brand is appealing to a more upmarket base consistent with our experience in the UK."
The bank says a concerted advertising campaign has helped it achieve 40% brand awareness in France.
According to the October figures from Nielsen/Netratings, Egg is now the largest pure online bank in the world, with a 1.5 million unique audience.
Egg's preliminary results for the year ending 31 December 2002 will be released to the London Stock Exchange on 24 February 2003.