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. It operated on a licence from French bank Banque d'Escompte, an innovation that allowed it to get around the usual difficulties faced by European banking startups. It launched with €200m in funding from various institutions including Intel, Morgan Stanley and Apax Partners and initially targeted the British market with a savings interest rate 2% higher than its high-street competitors, and gained 250,000 customers.
A 2.4 billion euro merger with the Spanish online bank Uno-e was proposed 2000, 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. First-e then sold its business to Direkt Anlage Bank of Germany in October 2001.
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.
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- ^ Garfield, Andrew (7 March 2000). "Uno-e and First-e plan global e-bank". The Independent. Retrieved 23 June 2009.[dead link]
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- ^ Jones, Rupert (8 September 2001). "Internet bank First-e to close". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 June 2009.
- ^ 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.
- first-e website on the Internet Archive
- Announcement of closure by Banque d'Escompte on the Internet Archive