Launched five months ago to the accompaniment of loud promotional fanfares, Abbey National’s online bank has failed to hit its customer targets, Abbey admitted yesterday.

To date cahoot has signed only 45,000 customers, averaging 9,000 a month – little more than half the number necessary to hit its target of 200,000 within twelve months. Like many of its UK rivals, cahoot has been beset by technical problems, especially when high numbers of customers attempt to access its service simultaneously.

Describing the present customer level as “slightly below target”, an Abbey National spoke drew attention to recent customer-boosting initiatives including the launch of an account with a market-leading interest rate.

Cahoot apart, Abbey reported bullish third quarter growth, with lending levels on course to match the record achieved in 1993. Funds under management increased 27% compared with the same period in 1999, while sales of life assurance products are currently 30% up on last year.

News source: The Times (London)