Abbey National last week unveiled a separately branded interactive bank called 'cahoot', set to launch in June. In addition to banking services, the online operation will offer additional content from e-commerce partners.
cahoot, a stand-alone operation, is designed to attract a highly targeted group of affluent, technically savvy consumers and will not impinge on the company's Retail Bank customer base.
Abbey, as part of its £200m e-commerce strategy, will also launch Internet and digital television transactional services for its Retail Bank customers.
cahoot services will be available both over the Internet and WAP mobile phones and hopes to reel in the "cash rich, time poor," according to a spokeswoman.
"cahoot is aimed at a totally different customer market [from the Retail Bank]," she adds. "It's for people who are happy and relaxed with technology and using it, financially sophisticated and successful."
The company plans to establish the new bank as a complete "lifestyle package" and is teaming up with a number of non-financial partners, including Blackstar, Boxman, Thomas Cook, Dell and BT to offer its customers additional value-add services.
These e-commerce partners will help attract customers back to the site, but will not necessarily be offering discounted goods and services, reveals the spokeswoman. "cahoot customers will be willing to pay more for high quality services," she predicts.