Alliance & Leicester's e-strategy plays safe



Nick Huber

Alliance & Leicester bank has unveiled a long-term e-commerce strategy, which includes plans for an Internet bank and a new...



Nick Huber

Alliance & Leicester bank has unveiled a long-term e-commerce strategy, which includes plans for an Internet bank and a new cross-company technology platform.

However, the e-business grand plan, outlined in a presentation to the City last week, has received a lukewarm response from analysts, who claimed Alliance & Leicester was not offering anything new in e-banking.

Alliance & Leicester plans to launch its Internet banking service in the last quarter of this year.

Recent Internet banking launches, such as Abbey National's Cahoot and Halifax's Intelligent Finance, have been characterised by technical glitches and Web site crashes caused by intense consumer demand. But Russell Simm, Alliance & Leicester's director of group information systems, said he was confident that software testing would avoid IT launch problems.

"It is very difficult to predict volumes but we have seen other banks and the volume they are likely to get," he said. "The size of Internet gateways running on the server has let a number of people down but we are working very closely with BT to handle capacity."

Alliance & Leicester is expected to announce another strategic partner for its Internet strategy next month. If successful, it may move existing services, such as current accounts, to the new platform, Simm said.

Analysts said Alliance & Leicester's e-banking strategy was relatively late to market compared to rival banks but praised the new technology platform.

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