The Netherlandsâ€™ biggest bank told Reuters Second Life bureau that it will create a virtual bank resembling ABNâ€™s real-life outlets, offering financial advice. ABN said it wonâ€™t be offering banking services at first. An ABN spokeswoman said that such services may be available in the future.
ABN Amro joins a growing list of internationally-recognized companies who have established outposts in this virtual world. Those companies include Dell, Nissan, Adidas, IBM, Sony BMG, General Motors, Toyota and others.
While each company has different objectives, they all have one thing in common:
â€œCommunicating with customers via the Internet can become more personal and more direct,â€ Wietze Reehoorn, a member of ABNâ€™s executive board, said in a statement. â€œCompetition between Dutch banks will be determined to a significant degree by finding the best way to establish personal contact with customers.â€
It adds a completely new dimension to the notion of internet banking.
Much reporting and commentary to date about companies entering Second Life has focused on that, ie, their entry. What will get more attention in future will be about what a company plans to do in Second Life – especially if their plans relate to their business in the real world – and how they intend to be part of the Second Life community.
ABN Amro’s December 1 press release (in Dutch) says it will be opening its branch in Second Life at 11:00 CET on December 7.