By Harry Keaney
The Bank of Ireland is entering the world of interactive Internet banking.
The bank has received regulatory approval for the new venture, which will be known as Fsharp, an off-shore bank based in the Isle of Man that will target Irish and British expatriates seeking 24-hour, high-tech banking.
Bank of Ireland hopes Fsharp will have 10,000 customers by the end of its first year and 50,000 by the third.
Customers will be able to conduct all their banking business online, although they will initially have to fill in and return a paper form to establish the account, so as to ensure the bank knows who exactly is setting it up.
The new Internet bank will have a backup call center that will be open 24-hours. Fsharp will offer deposit facilities, fund management from Mercury Asset Management, and from Bank of Ireland Asset Management, which has an office in Greenwich, Conn. Fsharp will also have debit and credit card facilities, and tax advice will be provided by the company KPMG.
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Fsharp will not offer its services to residents of Britain or Ireland but Bank of Ireland said the new bank could act as a prototype which could be used elsewhere.
Meanwhile, Bank of Scotland has initiated discussions with Irish regulatory authorities about selling mortgages in the Republic by telephone and over the Internet.
IBO boat ride
The Irish Business Organization of New York’s annual boat ride will take place Wednesday, Aug. 11. The departure will be at 7:30 p.m. from Pier 16 at South Street Seaport, returning at 10:30. Tickets $35 before Aug. 6 and $40 afterward and at the pier. The trip includes beer, wine, soda, and snack. Non-members are welcome.
1999 Celtic ball
The Ireland Chamber of Commerce in the U.S. will host its 11th anniversary dinner dance and 1999 American Celtic ball on Oct. 14 in the grand ballroom of the Waldorf Astoria in Manhattan. Details, (212) 755-4444.
Chicago headquartered Fruit of the Loom, which sells underwear and other apparel under its own brand name and well-known names such as BVD and Gitano, has posted a second-quarter loss on a 12 percent drop in sales.
The manufacturer had a net loss of $2.3 million, compared with net income of $65.3 million a year earlier.
Sales dropped to $551.7 million from $628 million.
Late last year, faced with fall retail demand, the company sharply curtailed production of fleecewear and other products. However, demand later picked up and the company found itself hamstrung by production costs.
Fruit of the Loom has substantial Irish operations in counties Donegal and Derry.
Cork, Kerry jobs
More than 1,000 new jobs are to created in Cork and Kerry.
A £13 million investment is expected to create 500 jobs in the expansion of an existing plant and two new developments in Cork City. A total of 350 jobs are to be created during the next four years in an expansion of private Canadian company Surfact Mount Technology Center at its electronic contract manufacturing facility. A £9.5 million investment is planned at the SMT Center, located at the IDA Business and Technology Park, on Cork’s Model Farm Road.
Pilz Gmbh and Co. of Germany will create almost 100 jobs in software development, manufacturing and a customer support facility. Pilz is a market leader in safety technology for industrial automation. It is investing more than £3 million in a plant at Model Farm Road. The 100 new jobs are to come on stream during the next five years.
A U.S. company, Datastream Systems Inc., will create at least 50 jobs in a software operation. More than 40 percent of Datastream’s sales are generated outside the U.S.
Also, the Industrial Development Authority expects to be able to confirm within weeks that up to 300 jobs will be created at the former Pretty Polly site in Killarney. More jobs are expected to be created at Liebherr container crane company, in Killarney. In Castleisland, ‘tnam Inc.is expanding its health insurance claims processing operation, creating 70 more jobs. Fleet Street Travel Ltd., a British corporate travel management company, has become the first investor in the new Kerry technology park in Tralee. The company is planning an initial operation that will create 60 jobs.