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Small.biz love banking online, according to a survey by financial outfit Xbridge.

In a poll of 300 small businesses carried out in the first half of July, two thirds said they expected to source most of their financial services online over the next five years, while just a third said they expected to still be popping down to their local branch for their banking needs (as long as it hasn't been made into a wine bar or coffee shop, that is).

Said Xbridge MD, Brad Liebmann: "The small businesses surveyed are currently using the Internet nine times more than they were five years ago, and at the same time their usage of the bank branch network has dropped by a third. This trend indicates that in five years time small businesses usage of the Internet could surpass bank branch activity for the first time.

"What we're seeing in action here is a new generation of Web-savvy entrepreneurs and small business owners choosing to find financial services for their business online the same way they have found personal financial services."

High street banks will have to wise up to this change if they want to hang on to punters, said the research. ®

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