Two more UK building societies, Furness Building Society and Harpenden Building Society, are the latest to sign up as deposit takers on Licuro.com, Europe's first and largest online interest auction house launched in the UK on 22 July 2009.
Licuro.com is a totally independent market place to bring together, on the one hand, UK savers looking for the highest interest rates for their time deposits (the result of banks and building societies competing directly for deposits) and, on the other hand, banks and building societies looking to access alternative sources of funding and gain new customers.
Since July, Licuro.com has processed over £20 million in the UK and two sister sites will be launched in Luxembourg and Belgium in February 2010 with Germany to follow in March 2010. It is expected that these new sites will see a rapid increase in traffic over the next 12 months. The original site in Denmark, mybanker.biz, founded in 2002, has processed the equivalent £1.4 billion in the last twelve months.
Furness Building Society and Harpenden Building Society join the ranks of a number of other building societies that have signed up to Licuro.com as deposit takers since July, including Bath Investment & Building Society, Saffron Building Society and Hinckley and Rugby Building Society.
Until 31 January 2010, savers can try out the site with their first auction free.
Judith Wren, General Manager (Operations) from Furness Building Society says: "For building societies like us the proposition is simple. By signing up to be a deposit taker with Licuro, we gain access to funds that might not be accessible to us otherwise. Through Licuro we will be able to bid for term deposits from not just retail, but also businesses or other organisations. It costs us nothing to make bids on potential deposits and we are joining a number of our peers who are already using Licuro. The site is also a way that we can attract new customers - if a depositor chooses to accept a bid from the Furness via the Licuro site, we then take them on as customer directly. They might then renew their deposit with us directly after the term has ended, or they might use the other services we have to offer at a at a later date, such as mortgages and insurance. As far as we see it, it's win-win, since savers dictate their terms and can simply choose who, if anyone, they want to deposit with."
Carl Astley, Finance Manager from Harpenden Building Society, says: "Licuro.com provides the Harpenden Building Society with a new means of attracting funding via a straightforward and dynamic online auction site. At a time of extremely high levels of competition in the UK savings and deposit markets a new approach is needed and Licuro.com provides just that - a different route for depositors and deposit takers to meet. At the Harpenden we have a strong tradition of offering competitive deposit rates and excellent customer service and believe that once depositors have a relationship with the Society they will be able to see the benefits of investing with a financial institution that puts its customers at the heart of everything that it does."
John Norden, CEO of Licuro.com in the UK and founder of mybanker.biz in Denmark says: "We are delighted to see Licuro gaining momentum in the UK. We've a proven model in Denmark, which has translated very well to the UK although it is still very early days, and with the roll out elsewhere in Europe UK will in the long run give savers the option of depositing with banks in other European countries, with the obvious foreign exchange advantages. From the savers' perspective, Licuro is the site to go to if you have, say, £25,000 to invest (although the minimum accepted, which is set by deposit takers themselves, is currently £12,000 with no maximum). We offer savers a totally transparent way of depositing their money at an interest rate that is pushed up by the competition created by the several building societies, each with their own distinct liquidity requirements, bidding for their cash online in real-time."
He adds: "Interestingly, the interbank and term deposit markets have been turned on their heads by the influx of short and long term liquidity provided by central banks globally, including the Bank of England. The shorter term (i.e. 3 month) liquidity has kept banks and building societies afloat while the longer term interventions in the bond markets have kept the capital markets alive. This, along with new FSA rules that require institutions to look more to deposits than wholesale funding, has left in particular building societies with a funding requirement in 2-3 year duration. We can see clearly on Licuro UK that the demand for long-term (2-3 years) funding is still relatively high, as reflected by the higher interest rates being offered by our deposit takers. As a result of these conditions, savers opting for time deposits rather than savings accounts will get best interest rates if they deposit their cash for a longer period of time."