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A growing number of people in London and the South East are logging on to the net for the first time, according to a new study by Nationwide Building Society.

It found the number of people with access to the internet in the region rose from 34% to 45% between February and December last year. A further 7% are planning to buy a home computer and 5% get connected to the internet in the next six months.

About 11% of the region's 10.6 million* current account holders do at least some of their banking online, up from 7% in February. It means almost 1.2 million people in the region now access their accounts this way.

Nationally, internet use rose from 29% to 36% in the nine months up to December. Most people who carry out their banking online did not wish to be restricted to doing all their financial transactions this way, though:

- 10% of internet bankers carry out their banking exclusively online;

- 78% of internet bankers use the telephone, at least occasionally;

- 79% also use a bank or building society branch.

Nationwide chief executive Brian Davis said: "The number of people wanting to do at least some of their banking online is rising as internet take-up increases.

"However, it is equally clear that all but a minority of internet users still want the option to pop in to a branch or pick up the telephone whenever they wish. Coincidentally, this is exactly the service Nationwide has to offer!"

* Source: MORI Financial Services survey (9 months data to September 2000)

Notes to editors:

MORI interviewed 2,061 adults on behalf of Nationwide between 30 November and 5 December 2000. A similar survey was carried out by MORI on Nationwide's behalf in February 2000.

Nationwide launched the UK's first retail internet banking service in May 1997.

The number of members registered for online banking rose from 100,000 to in excess of 500,000 between January-December 2000.

Members registered for online banking can also access their accounts via Nationwide branches, post and telephone.

In October last year, independent e-commerce ratings specialist Blay's voted Nationwide's internet banking service best in the UK.

Photographs of Nationwide chief executive Brian Davis using one of its branch-based internet terminals are available from the press office. Please telephone 01793 655198.

Similar releases covering the North of England, the Midlands and Wales & South West of England are available from the Nationwide press office or its website at:

Media enquiries to:

Peter Brown, senior press officer,

telephone 01793 655423

Jennifer Stoddart, senior press officer,

telephone 01793 655203

This press release was distributed by ResponseSource Press Release Wire on behalf of Nationwide Building Society in the following categories: Consumer Technology, Personal Finance, Business & Finance, Computing & Telecoms, for more information visit