Online savings bank promises ‘real alternative to high street’

GE Capital Direct – backed by General Electric – launches with easy-access savings rates of 2.65% and 2.35%

A new UK-based online savings bank has opened for business, and is positioning itself as offering “a real alternative to the high-street banks”.

GE Capital Direct, which is part of GE Capital, a leading provider of finance to UK firms, has launched with two easy-access accounts paying 2.65% and 2.35%.

GE Capital’s long history of lending to UK companies has prompted the new operation to claim that “when you bank with us, you are saving with a proud supporter of British business”. It also hopes the UK public will be reassured by the fact that it is ultimately backed by the US multinational General Electric.

“GE is one of the largest global brands out there,” said Sheragh Beirne, the bank’s managing director, who added that people had become “very dissatisfied” with many of the traditional banks and building societies.

The bank will be internet-based, with a UK customer service team available on the phone, and is a member of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). It is initially offering two “simple and straightforward” accounts for those who can deposit at least £500.

The GE Saver will pays a variable 2.35% gross, while the GE Bonus Saver will pay 2.65%. The 2.65% rate is boosted by a fixed 1.15% bonus for the first 12 months. Both accounts offer unlimited withdrawals.

However, these rates are unlikely to propel the bank into the savings best-buy tables, as there are other easy-access accounts paying more than 2.65%. Aldemore, for example, pays 2.75% on its easy access account, although you will need to have £1,000 to invest.

GE Capital is a major commercial finance provider in the UK, with operations in asset-based lending, fleet, leasing and healthcare financial services, while GE is one of the largest firms in the US. © 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

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