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Europe spanks US at Net banking

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Online banking is growing faster in Europe than in the US, according to research commissioned by BT. The number of European banks offering online transactions rose by nearly 200 per cent between November and June, today’s Financial Times said. The US had less than a third of the number of Internet banks than in the eight European countries investigated, it was found. BlueSky International Marketing said that much of this expansion was fuelled by smaller banks clubbing together to pool technology. It reported 1,265 sites in Europe, compared to 451 last November. The US saw the number of sites rise to 386 from 184. The country driving this growth in Europe was Germany, with transactional sites up from 369 to 1,048. France was also a force, seeing the number rise by 216 per cent. Suzan Nolan, president and lead marketing analyst of BlueSky, explained: "Countries with a history of online usage have a higher uptake of transactional sites than countries such as the US and the UK, which do not." But others remained sceptical of the research. Kenneth Clemmer, analyst at US-based Forrester Research, said: "There is a big difference between building [a web site] and having people come." The report also contradicted another study released two months ago. Consultants PwC and the Economist Intelligence Unit claimed that European bankers were lagging behind in Web usage and did not understand the implications of the Internet. ®

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