The Internet's first offshore bank has launched a marketing campaign that spokesmen said will allow it to grow 1,000% within the next 18 months.
Chartered on the Caribbean island of Antigua in 1994 for the specific purpose of conducting offshore banking electronically, the $100 million- asset European Union Bank (http://www.eubank.com) began promoting itself last month through clickable banners on World Wide Web search engines like Excite, Lycos, and Opentext.
For a cost of only $50,000, their advertisement has been accessed seven million times and has received approximately 60,000 "hits." That, in turn, has led to 1,000 E-mail messages from potential clients, and almost 150 activated accounts for the bank.
Bank officials see a ripe market among clients seeking tax advantage through offshore banking. "Instead of having to travel tens of thousands of miles and spend $25,000 to open an account, the same services could be accessed electronically with an initial deposit as low as $2,500," said Kenneth J. Suhandron, the bank's president.
Lord Benjamin Mancroft, recently reelected as chairman of the board, took pains to point out the bank's above-board nature: "We are very conservative and ordinary in all ways except for our marketing."