The Zurich Financial Services group has announced plans for a major joint venture with the Bank of Scotland to provide banking services and loan products to Zurich's 4.5 million retail customers in Britain.
Zurich and the Bank of Scotland will each take a 50 per cent stake in the deal, which was announced on Friday.
A statement said the joint venture, which is planned to start operating later this year, would offer bank accounts, personal loans, mortgages and credit cards under the Zurich brand.
It also plans to provide banking services through Zurich's personal financial portal which will be launched this summer.
Distribution will be through Zurich's existing channels, which include the Allied Dunbar Franchise Network and Eagle Star Direct, in addition to the personal financial portal.
The portal will provide Zurich's customers with on-line banking and insurance products, as well as a range of services, including share portfolio valuations and market news.
Commenting on the announcement, the head of British operations of Zurich, Sandy Leitch, said it was an important strategic move for Zurich.
"It fits with our goal of reaching more customers and increasing our product range through strategic alliances," he said.
swissinfo with agencies