BankBid's bid for business

A new online auction site that sets up banks to bid for customers has gone live without support from two of the four major banks.

Called BankBid, the new online service requires consumers to submit personal financial information, and gives the information anonymously to participating banks. The banks then compete for the business by supplying BankBid with relevant information for consumers to choose from.

Consumers are provided with speculative forecasts on how each service will affect their financial integrity, BankBid officials said. Currently, the service is available for loans and investment portfolios.

Despite National Australia Bank and Commonwealth Bank turning down invitations to participate in the service, BankBid officials say they are so confident the company expects to float "some time in the next three to six months".

A spokesperson for National Australia Bank said they were approached by BestBid (BankBid's creators) but decided not to participate due to "other Internet priorities".

BankBid said it would not disclose the user identities, but participating banks would be supplied periodically with demographic information about the site's customers.

"We are an independent broker . . . the balance between supplier and customer," said Brian Clayton, BestBid's executive chairman.

BankBid has currently secured contracts with four banks including ANZ, AMP, Citibank and ING Mercantile Mutual and, according to Clayton, other deals are "still in discussion". BankBid will limit the number of participating banks to 10, Clayton said.

St George Bank is believed to be in final discussions with BestBid although officials said no contracts had been finalised.

"There are a few matters that still need to be ironed out," a St George spokesperson said, declining to specify.

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