First-e closes - a pan-European tale of woe

So much for first-e mover advantage...

So much for first-e mover advantage...

Internet bank First-e is no more. Just two years after its high-profile launch - when it promised to gain a foothold by offering its online-only customers market leading savings rates - it has shut up shop. The company didn't quite break the news that way. Instead, its website tells customers of an "important announcement" whereby UK customers will have their funds transferred to investment accounts at Self Trade, an arm of DAB bank (AG). According to a report earlier this week in the Irish Independent, First-e majority shareholder Bancque D'Escompte of France had been pushing for a sale to Germany's DAB since a merger with the online unit of Spain's BBVA fell through. A large part of First-e's operations are in Dublin, and around 250 staff are expected to be laid off as a result of the deal. Enba, an Irish internet incubator with a number of high profile investors, ran First-e with a licence from Bancque D'Escompte. First-e's German customers will have the option of transferring to DAB's internet bank.