Barclays to spend US$483 million on e-commerce

Barclays Bank Plc, Britain's fourth-biggest bank, expects to spend 325 million pounds (US$483 million) on e-commerce and related initiatives in 2000 in order to improve service to customers.

Barclays Bank Plc, Britain's fourth-biggest bank, expects to spend 325 million pounds (US$483 million) on e-commerce and related initiatives in 2000 in order to improve service to customers.

LONDON, 24 May 2000 - Barclays said the new e-commerce initiatives which it would launch between now and the end of the year included its new integrated retail financial portal, a new release of personal online banking products, Barclays Stockbrokers' latest real-time dealing service and a joint venture with Freeserve Plc to create a small business portal.

"Our objective is to use technology to develop entirely new business models that allow us to deliver superior value to the customer while transforming our internal infrastructure to make us more efficient and effective," Barclays Group chief executive Matt Barrett said in a statement.

The group spent 180 million pounds on e-commerce last year.

Barclays is one of many British banks to have set up e-commerce initiatives and online banking services.

The group joined the likes of Deutsche Bank AG, Citigroup and BNP Paribas on May 10 in launching a forum to help set up common worldwide standards for the use of financial services via mobile Internet access.

The forum, which also includes Union Bank of Switzerland AG and ABN AMRO said it expects mobile Internet access to exceed PC-based connnections to the Web by the year 2003.

Meanwhile, Britain's largest mortgage lender Halifax Plc has launched its Intelligent Finance online banking service, while Abbey National Plc, seen by some as a possible takeover target of Barclays, has launched an electronic banking service called "cahoot" which it expects will attract one million customers within a year.

Separately, Britain's biggest banking group HSBC and Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc, America's biggest brokerage, said last month they would together spend US$1 billion over the next five years to form a global online bank aimed at relatively well-off investors.
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