First-e Group

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A first-e maestro card issued in 2000

First-e was a European online bank during the Dot-com bubble of 1999–2001. The company was based in Dublin, Ireland and employed 280 people, with 250,000 customers.[1] It operated on a licence from French bank Banque d'Escompte,[1] an innovation that allowed it to get around the usual difficulties faced by European banking startups.[2] It launched with €200m in funding from various institutions including Intel, Morgan Stanley and Apax Partners[3] and initially targeted the British market with a savings interest rate 2% higher than its high-street competitors, and gained 250,000 customers.[4]

A 2.4 billion euro[5] merger with the Spanish online bank Uno-e was proposed 2000,[2] but after the dotcom bubble burst in late 2000, parent company of Uno-e, BBVA called off the merger was in April 2001 and instead paid some €350m in compensation.[6] First-e then sold its business to Direkt Anlage Bank of Germany in October 2001.[1][7]

First-e was owned by the Enba group of companies, created by Gerhard Huber, Peter Phillips, Christian Kaiser, Nicholas Malcomson and Xavier Azalbert. Its Board included Sean Donlon, a former Irish ambassador to the US and the late Sir Nicholas Redmayne who was also its chairman.[8]

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  1. ^ a b c "First-e bank to close in UK and Germany". BBC News. 7 September 2001. Retrieved 23 June 2009.
  2. ^ a b Echikson, William (15 May 2000). "Euro E-Bank Whiz". BusinessWeek. Archived from the original on 8 October 2008. Retrieved 23 June 2009.
  3. ^ Murphy, David (20 September 2000). "The garage that went global: It Came From Humble Beginnings, but this duo'S £1bn business could shake up banking around the world in the next 12 months". Independent. Retrieved 23 June 2009.
  4. ^ Fairlamb, David (25 October 1999). "E-Day: Online Banks Invade Europe". BusinessWeek. Archived from the original on 24 July 2012. Retrieved 23 June 2009.
  5. ^ Garfield, Andrew (7 March 2000). "Uno-e and First-e plan global e-bank". The Independent. Retrieved 23 June 2009.[dead link]
  6. ^ "Enba and Uno-e scrap plans for merger". RTÉ. 20 April 2001. Retrieved 23 June 2009.
  7. ^ Jones, Rupert (8 September 2001). "Internet bank First-e to close". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 June 2009.
  8. ^ Daly, Gavin (30 October 2005). "Enba winding up with €256m losses". Sunday Business Post. Archived from the original on 29 September 2007. Retrieved 23 June 2009.

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