GE Capital 'to launch online bank'

US conglomerate General Electric (GE) is reportedly planning to set up an internet bank in the UK.

The venture, designed to attract billions of pounds in savings from Britain's high street banks, is expected to be launched by GE Capital, the group's financial arm, in the next 18 months, according to the Sunday Times.

The group, which recently set up an internet bank named GE Direkt in Germany, is reportedly looking to expand its businesses in other European countries in an attempt to reduce its funding costs.

While the financial crisis has had a negative impact on the online banking sector - launched 10 years ago with brand names such as Egg, Cahoot and Smile - GE's latest venture would be the first new internet bank in Britain since the credit crunch, reports say.

US-based Citigroup had recently put up its online banking business Egg for sale, after failing to live up to its expectations, while Cahoot, set up by Abbey and owned by Santander, has been scaled down.

Metro Bank, which opened in the UK recently, has set up branches at the centre of their operations, according to reports.

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