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Furness and Harpenden building societies sign up to compete for savers' cash on licuro.com, the UK online interest rate auction house for time deposits

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Seven UK building societies are now signed up to Licuro.com in order to reach savers’ looking for the best time deposit rates available

London – 14 December 2009 – Two more UK building societies, Furness Building Society and Harpenden Building Society, are the latest to sign up as deposit takers on Licuro.com, Europe’s first and largest online interest auction house launched in the UK on 22 July 2009.

Licuro.com logo
Licuro.com logo

Licuro.com is a totally independent market place to bring together, on the one hand, UK savers looking for the highest interest rates for their time deposits (the result of banks and building societies competing directly for deposits) and, on the other hand, banks and building societies looking to access alternative sources of funding and gain new customers.

Since July, Licuro.com has processed over £20 million in the UK and two sister sites will be launched in Luxembourg and Belgium in February 2010 with Germany to follow in March 2010.  It is expected that these new sites will see a rapid increase in traffic over the next 12 months.  The original site in Denmark, mybanker.biz, founded in 2002, has processed the equivalent £1.4 billion in the last twelve months.

Furness Building Society and Harpenden Building Society join the ranks of a number of other building societies that have signed up to Licuro.com as deposit takers since July, including Bath Investment & Building Society, Saffron Building Society and Hinckley and Rugby Building Society

Until 31 January 2010, savers can try out the site for free – their first auction is free.

Judith Wren, General Manager (Operations) from Furness Building Society says: “For building societies like us the proposition is simple. By signing up to be a deposit taker with Licuro, we gain access to funds that might not be accessible to us otherwise. Through Licuro we will be able to bid for term deposits from not just retail, but also businesses or other organisations. It costs us nothing to make bids on potential deposits and we are joining a number of our peers who are already using Licuro. The site is also a way that we can attract new customers – if a depositor chooses to accept a bid from the Furness via the Licuro site, we then take them on as customer directly. They might then renew their deposit with us directly after the term has ended, or they might use the other services we have to offer at a later date, such as mortgages and insurance. As far as we see it, it’s win-win, since savers dictate their terms and can simply choose who, if anyone, they want to deposit with.”

Carl Astley, Finance Manager from Harpenden Building Society, says: “Licuro.com provides the Harpenden Building Society with a new means of attracting funding via a straightforward and dynamic online auction site.  At a time of extremely high levels of competition in the UK savings and deposit markets a new approach is needed and Licuro.com provides just that – a different route for depositors and deposit takers to meet.  At the Harpenden we have a strong tradition of offering competitive deposit rates and excellent customer service and believe that once depositors have a relationship with the Society they will be able to see the benefits of investing with a financial institution that puts its customers at the heart of everything that it does.”

John Norden, CEO of Licuro.com in the UK and founder of mybanker.biz in Denmark says: “We are delighted to see Licuro gaining momentum in the UK. We’ve a proven model in Denmark, which has translated very well to the UK although it is still very early days, and with the roll out elsewhere in Europe UK will in the long run give savers the option of depositing with banks in other European countries, with the obvious foreign exchange advantages. From the savers’ perspective, Licuro is the site to go to if you have, say, £25,000 to invest (although the minimum accepted, which is set by deposit takers themselves, is currently £12,000 with no maximum). We offer savers a totally transparent way of depositing their money at an interest rate that is pushed up by the competition created by the several building societies, each with their own distinct liquidity requirements, bidding for their cash online in real-time.”

He adds: “Interestingly, the interbank and term deposit markets have been turned on their heads by the influx of short and long term liquidity provided by central banks globally, including the Bank of England. The shorter term (i.e. 3 month) liquidity has kept banks and building societies afloat while the longer term interventions in the bond markets have kept the capital markets alive. This, along with new FSA rules that require institutions to look more to deposits than wholesale funding, has left in particular building societies with a funding requirement in 2-3 year duration. We can see clearly on Licuro UK that the demand for long-term (2-3 years) funding is still relatively high, as reflected by the higher interest rates being offered by our deposit takers.  As a result of these conditions, savers opting for time deposits rather than savings accounts will get best interest rates if they deposit their cash for a longer period of time.”

For further information, logos and please contact:
Bella McAvoy or Caroline Evans-Jones
ICIS PR
Bella@icisnet.com
Caroline@icisnet.com
Tel: +44 20 7651 8688

About Furness Building Society
Furness Building Society is a UK top 20 mutual building society, owned by and run for the benefit of our members. We offer a wide range of savings, mortgage, insurance and investment products to customers through our branch and agency network, based in the North West of England. We have strong links to the communities in which we operate, including through staff involvement in local causes and savings products developed specifically to support these causes.
www.furnessbs.co.uk

About Harpenden Building Society
The Harpenden Building Society was formed in 1953 and is a traditional building society with a reputation built on being able to offer a range of uncomplicated savings accounts as well as "tailor made" mortgage products to suit the individual needs of borrowers.  The Society celebrated its golden jubilee in 2003 and, although one of the youngest building societies, it has grown rapidly and organically and now has assets approaching £200million.
www.harpendenbs.co.uk

About Licuro.com
Licuro.com is Europe’s first and largest online interest rate auction house.
Licuro.com provides individuals, companies, organisations and foundations with real-time, safe and convenient access to the best available interest rates on liquid funds for term deposits.

Partnering banks and building societies looking for quick and affordable access to liquidity, independent of the traditional wholesale money markets can use Licuro with no fees charged unless they enter a transaction.

The Danish version of Licuro, Mybanker.biz, was founded in 2002 by a group of Danish financiers. It has signed up 23 Scandinavian banks in Denmark and to date has attracted 8,500 clients (depositors). In the last 12 months, depositors have collectively deposited the equivalent of £1.4 billion through the site.

Spurred by this popularity, the Mybanker.biz founders launched Licuro.com in the UK on 22 July, 2009. Licuro.com has already signed up seven UK financial institutions, with several more in the pipeline. Two sister sites Licuro.lu and Licuro.be will be launched in February 2010 in Luxemburg and Belgium and the roll out will continue in March 2010 with Germany.
Licuro.com is totally independent and allows registered users to auction their savings directly to banks and building societies. Savers choose how much they want to deposit and for how long. In turn banks and building societies bid against each other, offering time deposits at their best available interest rates.

Licuro.com is aimed at:
• Individuals, companies, organisations and foundations looking for the highest possible interest rates on deposits of over £12,000 for a fixed term of between 14 and 730 days.

- Savers/depositors can expect competing bids from FSA-regulated banks and building societies within 2 hours of registering online and offers are valid (no obligation for the depositor) for 24 hours. It costs £5.75 to register for a single transaction or £33.35 for an annual subscription.

- Until 31 January 2010, savers can try out the site for free – their first auction is free.

- Savers in Denmark achieve rates of on average 1% higher than the average interest rate they would attain by going direct to a bank or building society for a time deposit (i.e. a fixed-term deposit as opposed to just a savings account, hence the appeal to banks and building societies as a liquidity management tool). This is as a direct result of the competition introduced by the Licuro system. The same is expected to happen in the UK.

• Banks and building societies keen to compete with each other for direct access to a flexible, alternative source of liquid funds from new clients, in a new marketplace that is independent of the traditional wholesale money markets. Deposit takers pay a fee only if a transaction is agreed upon, in which case the fee is calculated on a sliding scale:
- 10 basis points on a deposit of less than £5mn
- 5 basis points for deposits of between £5mn and £25mn
- 3.5 basis points for deposits of over £25mn.

Most of Licuro’s revenues come from banks and building societies rather than depositors.
Licuro works only with banks and building societies (deposit takers) that are authorised by the Financial Services Authority (www.fsa.gov.uk) and covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (www.fscs.org.uk).

http://www.licuro.com