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FCM Bank set to launch internet banking service

Ron HuggettRon Huggett

FCM Bank is the latest bank to introduce internet banking, with the focus being on allowing customers to handle their investments online.

Chief executive officer Ron Huggett said the online access would follow the same clean and user-friendly design of the bank’s website, which challenges customers with “Notice anything different?” as its greeting.

Everything is kept simple, with clear explanations of its products and a minimum amount of jargon. There are also saving guides to help customers through the decision-making process.

The bank opened in 2012 with a clear mandate: it keeps costs down by having only one office and ensuring that customers can be served online, thanks to its state-of-the-art IT system. The network was given a €1 million upgrade last year to ensure that it could cope with the bank’s growing customer base – now at 1,000 – which has resulted in over €25 million as assets.

FCM offers savings and investment products in euro and sterling, generating high interest rates through a portfolio of investments, spread across geographical locations, economic sectors and bluechips. Its capital ratios are currently in the high 20s, well above regulatory limits, and it also enjoys good liquidity, Mr Huggett said.

He is, however, frustrated that people are so reluctant to move their savings to a new bank, even when higher interest rates are available.

“People need to think about where they put their money. Even with a few thousand euros invested, you could be getting a few hundred euros a year more!

“There is a definite shift towards longer-term deposits but we recommend that these are structured across different terms so that some of the investments mature every year,” he said.

Once internet banking has been launched in the coming weeks, Mr Huggett will be looking at the next steps in the bank’s strategy. They might need to consider another site as they have nearly outgrown their offices in the Aragon House Business Centre. And in the longer-term, the bank might consider offering retail loans, as well as other savings products.

“We will take things one step at a time. We prefer to stick to what we can do properly,” he said, “and that is to do things differently.”

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