ABN opens virtual “branch”

Holland’s biggest bank ABN Amro is to open a “branch” in the Second Life virtual world.

Holland’s biggest bank ABN Amro is to open a “branch” in the Second Life virtual world.

The virtual reality world, which has its own currency, is becoming increasingly popular with real-world businesses. Second Life allows people to set up “stores” to trade virtual goods – but they can also be used to sell real items online, which are delivered through the post.

ABN Amro board member Wietze Reehoorn said, “Second Life is an example of the new generation internet, which is gaining popularity rapidly and where we want to be from an early stage.”

Second Life’s “Linden dollars” can be exchanged for real US dollars, but ABN Amro is planning to keep its presence virtual for the time being and will not initially offer real-life banking services through its Second Life outlet.

In the real world, ABN Amro is set to shed hundreds of IT jobs in a move aimed at rationalising its organisation and improving efficiency.

The cuts, to be carried out through a combination of outsourcing, offshoring and redundancies, follow third quarter results that showed a 5.6% fall in profits for the quarter at £762m, compared with £802 in the same period last year.

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