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Closing bonus as online bank becomes a casualty

Zurich Bank, the online service set up by Zurich Financial Services in January, closed to new business last week and will shut down completely in spring 2003.

It claims the launch into internet banking in a joint venture with HBoS was “highly successful” but ZFS has decided to focus on its core insurance business after the group unveiled a £1.3bn loss.

It says it is too early to say what will happen to the 200 jobs at the bank as existing customers will be serviced until next spring.

Zurich Bank will not disclose how many customers it has but says it got 70,000 formal applications.

All current accountholders will be paid a bonus of 5 per cent of their balance, with a minimum payment of £200.

It launched four Zurich own-brand mortgages in June, sold through the Zurich Advice Network, which are being scrapped.

It will not put a figure on how many borrowers it has but says that they will not be affected by the withdrawal and HBoS will continue to provide mortgages through Zan.

Zurich banking customers can switch for free to Halifax or Intelligence Finance accounts.

Zurich Bank managing director Chris Gillies says: “Our priority is to ensure that customers are treated fairly.”


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