PRUDENTIAL DIRECT BANKING offshoot Egg
, which has attracted 500,000 new customers and £5 billion in investments since its launch six months ago, has announced that from now on it will accept applications for new accounts only via the Internet. Egg chief executive Mike Harris said that the decision was influenced by the reduced running costs associated with an internet bank account - approximately four times less than its telephone banking equivalent - and claimed that the bank will attract two million new customers to the service by 2004, stemming Egg’s current losses of up to £170 million annually. 'The decision we were faced with was: do we continue to invest in telephone commerce and build a new call centre at a cost of £50 million, when everything's moving to the Internet? In three years we think it will be as ubiquitous as the telephone.'