Abbey National shortlists agencies for online bank

Abbey National has shortlisted four agencies to pitch for the £10m launch account for its Internet bank codenamed Aquarius.

The shortlist includes Euro RSCG, M&C Saatchi, Duckworth Finn Grubb Waters and Abbott Mead Vickers. BBDO. It is unclear whether other agencies have been shortlisted.

The online bank will be unveiled in spring next year, initially offering an online savings account. It will operate as a separate unit within the Abbey National group and is expected to add loans, current accounts and mortgages later in the year.

An Abbey National spokeswoman says that the new bank will not finally be called Aquarius.

She adds: “The new bank will appeal to a new customer segment, which has different needs to the existing Abbey National profile. The advertising will support this.”

The spokeswoman would give no further details, although the operation is understood to be targeting wealthy customers.

Abbey National’s new brand will be one of several Internet operations to be launched by financial services companies next year, trying to emulate the success of Prudential’s Egg.

Last week Marketing Week revealed Lloyds TSB will launch a separately-branded bank, which is understood to be called e-bank (October 21).

Other separately branded Internet banks are also being launched by the Co-Operative Bank and HFC under the names Smile and Marbles respectively, and Halifax is using the working title for its online operation.

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