Halifax opens IF Internet arm

Halifax opens IF Internet arm

Intelligent Finance, the telenet banking operation of the UK's Halifax bank, completed its launch when its Web site went live this afternoon (Thursday).

Halifax was forced to pull back from its initial launch date for IF after last minute systems testing revealed unexpected software glitches. The telephone banking arm of the new venture eventually went live in late September, two months later than originally scheduled.

With the opening of the IF Web site, customers will now have the choice of conducting all their banking over email, telephone and Internet - whilst also being able to access balance information on WAP mobiles. A television advertising campaign using Intelligent Finance's signature music, by Fat Boy Slim, will spearhead the promotion of its complete offering.

ICM research, commissioned by Intelligent Finance and published today indicates that over 16.5 million adults in the UK would prefer to bank with a combined telephone and Web bank like Intelligent Finance rather than an Internet-only operation.

The telephone banking arm claims to have opened 50,000 accounts in the weeks since launch - more than one account every minute, with current accounts, credit cards and personal loans currently being added at the rate of 6000 each week. Fifty per cent of business has been forwarded by professional advisors, says the bank, which claims to be notching in excess of two products per plan. IF also claims to have processed over half a billion pounds in approved mortgage applications. Ninety per cent of all business is coming from outside the Halifax, says the bank.

Intelligent Finance uses an interest sweeping algorithm to connect any combination of accounts, enabling customers to choose how to offset their balances.

Jim Spowart, chief executive of Intelligent Finance says: "We've got off to a really good start. Customers are switching banks to get the value from our unique offering."

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