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Wednesday, 2 August, 2000, 09:57 GMT 10:57 UK
Net moves hit Woolwich
Woolwich logo and web page
The former building society, Woolwich, has reported a fall in profits as a result of investment in its new Open Plan internet based operations.

Profits before tax fell to 232.3m for the six months to 30 June, against 253.7m in the same period in 1999.

The company said the fall was due to 30.8m investment in internet operations.

The Open Plan banking service can be accessed via the internet, branches and telephones.

Chief executive John Stewart said that the service had got 290,000 customers - about 90,000 above its targets.

Internet bank

He said the bank was on target to reach its target of 500,000 Open Plan customers by the end of the year.

The company's traditional banking operation performed strongly in the first half with total net mortgage lending up by 50% on the first half of 1999, exceeding 1.5bn for the first time.

Woolwich said it had high hopes for its new Open Plan mortgage, launched last month.

The interim dividend payment to shareholders will be 4.4p, up from 3.9p a year earlier.

Cross selling of the group's services was better than expected, at about 3.7 products per customer.

Woolwich also announced it had signed a strategic marketing agreement with French financial services group Axa.

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16 Feb 00 | Business
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Woolwich share sale
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