UK banks slow in preparing for euro

UK retail banks are significantly behind their continental competitors in preparing for the introduction of the euro, the single European currency, according to a survey by Coopers & Lybrand, the accountancy firm. "Based on the results of the survey, UK banks have a lot to do over the next five years," said David Sayer, partner in Coopers & Lybrand's retail banking consultancy.

The survey, conducted in conjunction with the European Financial Management and Marketing Association (EFMA), showed that the banks are placing a far greater emphasis on the implications for the practical conversion to the euro rather than on the strategic impact on retail banking activities.

In total, 22 banks from the UK, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and France participated in the survey, which represented 60-70 per cent of the retail banking markets in these countries. A third of the respondents are developing plans for conversion, with a further minority implementing plans already. Coopers and Lybrand said 14 per cent of them had not yet started to think about the possible strategic impact of the single European currency. Jill Treanor