A WAR has broken out between mainland banks, which are offering clients lucrative prizes such as cars and gold nuggets to attract deposits. The state-funded China News Service (CNS) reported yesterday that the Fujian branch of the Bank of China recently launched a promotion campaign offering depositors the chance to win a car. While the Construction Bank offered its customers gold nuggets, the Agricultural Bank teamed up with an insurance company to lure farmers with new deposit plans that combined interest payments with insurance security. According to CNS, the gimmicks were used by banks in Fujian after the province reported a dramatic downfall in deposits this year. It said the banks had lost customers to new investment tools, such as stocks and bonds, which offered depositors higher rates of return on their investment. Savings at the Fujian Industrial and Commercial Bank - the most popular bank among urban residents - dropped 40 million yuan (HK$53.96 million) in the first half of this year. Deposits at the Fujian branch of the Bank of China also went down by more than 20 million yuan. The CNS said the downward trend had slowed slightly after the introduction of the promotion schemes and the latest increase of interest rates by the Central Bank.