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Southport Reporter®

Edition No. 176

Date:- 20 November 2004

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THE strong partnership between the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation and the Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service is to be celebrated at an awards ceremony on Tuesday, 23 November, 2004 in Liverpool.

Football pundit and a patron of the Foundation, Alan Hansen, together with Professor Ray Donnelly, founder of the Foundation, will present the awards and certificates.

Firefighters and civilian staff from 26 fire stations across Merseyside, including Chief Fire Officer Tony McGuirk, will be attending the event held at the Foundation in Liverpool.

Since the partnership was officially launched in August this year, MFRS have been participating in a payroll-giving project in which staff can donate a percentage of their monthly earnings to the charity. 

As part of the continuing partnership, firefighters will also present a cheque for £2,387.19 raised by all fire stations region who took part in a charity car wash.

MFRS continue to hand out information and encouragement to smokers to stub out their habit and reduce the number of deaths and injuries cased by smoking-related house fires while at the same time reducing the risk of developing lung cancer.

FPB report reveals 'dramatic' slowdown in Internet banking

TAKE-UP of Internet banking services by the small business community has slowed dramatically since 2002, according to a survey commissioned by a leading business group.

The Forum of Private Business' report surveyed 5,000 small to medium-sized businesses asking them about their relationship with their bank. Among its findings, the report reveals that the number of small businesses using Internet banking has stalled. Overall, there has only been a three per cent increase in Internet banking usage since 2002, compared to a 13 per cent increase between 2000 and 2002. 

The slowdown in Internet banking is likely due to recent reports that banks will no longer honour the debts of victims of Internet fraud automatically.

.....continued...... Up to now British banks have refunded money to victims regardless of how obvious the fraud was and how much the customer was at fault. However, the Association for Payment Clearing Services said that banks were entitled to review cases and could not guarantee that such refunds.

Nick Goulding, FPB Chief Executive said:- "The fact that the uptake in Internet banking usage appears to have stalled suggests inconsistency in the successful marketing and delivery of services by individual banks. The Bank of Scotland's impressive achievement in attracting 56 per cent of its customers to Internet banking compares favourably with the likes of Lloyds TSB which only attracted 37 per cent online."Use of Internet Banking by Bank
Bank 2000 2002 2004
NatWest 32.9% 40.7%  39.9%
Barclays 35.0%  51.0% 52.2%
Lloyds TSB 17.3% 37.0%  36.9%
HSBC 28.9% 37.4% 50.2%
RBS  28.2% 41.7%  33.3%
Bank of Scotland 35.2% 49.2% 55.6%
Average total 27.3% 40.6% 43.3%

Mr Goulding continued:- "Despite wide variations in Internet banking uptake across providers there may be other reasons for the slowdown. Many smaller businesses need a more sophisticated banking service, such as the ability to handle coins and notes, and have more complex lending propositions in their relationship with their bank."

FPB member, Brian Johnson, a clothing retailer from Castleton in Derbyshire, cited a number of reasons for shying away from Internet banking. He said:- "Being in a rural location means we have no access to broadband, which makes the Internet slow to use, but I'm also concerned about the safety of Internet banking and despite assurances from the banks I'm happy to continue banking using traditional methods."

Banks have to self-fund compensation to victims of internet fraud in which 2000 victims were reimbursed of a total £4.5 million in the first half of this year.

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