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Woolwich gets interactive


The Woolwich has pledged to attract half a million new e-customers by the end of the year with the help of IFAs.


The bank aims to woo the new customers to its Open Plan account, which launched in October 1998, but currently has just 50,000 customers.


But Woolwich is confident it will able to add 450,000 customers in just ten months because of the consumer reaction to date.


The account allows users to access all Woolwich products via the internet, over the phone and web-enabled mobiles, as well as through its 400 local branches.


Woolwich corporate PR manager Rob McIvor says the bank decided against investing in a “big advertising splash”, believing it better to keep service levels ahead of demand through incremental growth.


The Woolwich says IFAs will be instrumental in boosting customer numbers as Open Plan will help them boost the service levels they can give to their customers.


It says precise figures on which channels will attract the biggest numbers have not been confirmed, but that there is great potential for IFAs.


McIvor says: “The service has been building up slowly, but we&#39re now ready to shift up to fourth gear from first. This is an integrated service that will help advisers organise their clients finances. In particular, the monthly statements include information on savings, investments and mortgage repayments.”


* Abbey National has announced it will launch a new internet start-up, cahoot, this Spring.


The service is aimed at people “relaxed with new technology” and will be accessible through the internet and web-enabled mobiles.


It aims to have more than one million new customers registered for its e-commerce initiative within a year.


Abbey says the move heralds its metamorphosis into a “bricks and clicks” hybrid bank.

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