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Banks invest to meet rising demand for online services

Major banks are upping their investment in internet banking technology to keep pace with growing demand from customers for online products and services.

HSBC revealed last week that it was spending heavily on technology to enable it to process more complex transactions online and to expand its products.

The move follows a 55% rise worldwide in the number of online customers last year. In March alone, the bank was averaging 141 new customers globally every hour.

"We are investing heavily in online straight-through processing and electronic identification and validation of customer addresses," the bank said. "This allows us to ­offer more services and products online."

The bank is offering customers the ability to order HSBC credit cards, overdrafts, general insurance and personal loans online. Application integration and security were vital technologies to enable these services, it said.

Royal Bank of Scotland said most online banking customers currently use the internet for relatively simple interactions such as viewing statements and paying bills. However, the bank is investing to extend the range of online services in anticipation of changing customer habits.

Investment in technology is enabling RBS to drive more business outside the traditional branch, and turn channels such as contact centres into profit centres, it said.

Abbey, which was bought in 2004 by Spanish bank Santander, said it was in the process of implementing Santander's core global banking system, Partenon, across the UK. This would allow it to integrate its call centre and online services.

Abbey said the Partenon platform was key to the acquisition as it would not otherwise have had the resources to develop a platform to give the bank a single customer view.

"This will have every relationship the customer has with us on the system and give the person at the front end access to everything they need, enabling staff to cross-sell products," said a spokesman for Abbey.

Abbey aims to complete the roll-out of Partenon in the UK next year.

Barclays enables mobile banking for 1.9 million customers >>

UK banks need IT to keep up with competition >>

Banking on speed and security >>

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