AN OFFSHORE BANK account can be in any jurisdiction that offers offshore banking facilities but, with a representative office, the customer service financial advice and transaction facilities can take on a distinctly local flavour. In 2003, Lloyds TSB Offshore moved to strengthen its service to clients by establishing a representative office in Hong Kong to provide increased support and introduce a range of banking and investment options to new and existing members of its Overseas Club. Andrew Wenham, manager, Lloyds TSB Offshore Hong Kong Representative Office, said the Overseas Club was designed to meet the needs and challenges of clients who required a flexible one-stop offshore banking service. He said Hong Kong customer service representatives were on hand to provide support and explain the company's full range of banking and investment services, in addition to internet and telephone banking services. 'Many of our clients enjoy the confidence and reassurance of being able to discuss their financial objectives face to face with one of our customer service staff,' Mr Wenham said. Since its launch in 1989 the Overseas Club has attracted thousands of customers from all over the world. Key attractions include a minimum opening deposit of either #100 ($1,413), US$100 or Euro100 ($939). Accounts are rewarded with premium interest rates, paid without the deduction of tax at source. There is no set minimum balance to maintain with interest paid on the first #100. Accounts accrue interest on a rising scale as more money is deposited into the account. Sterling, US dollars and euro accounts can be accessed through a Visa debit card and a cheque book in pounds sterling. The cost of maintaining an account varies from #7.50 per month for a sterling only account, US$90 per annum for a US dollar account and Euro90 per annum for a euro account. Clients can open more than one account for their annual subscription. Mr Wenham said Lloyds TSB, one of the largest British banks, ensured customers had round-the-clock access to their accounts through 24-hour telephone and internet banking services, support from the Overseas Club teams in Jersey and the Isle of Man, and dedicated support from the team based in Hong Kong. He said Overseas Club members also had access to a range of savings accounts tools such as money market accounts. In addition, customers could access the bank's other businesses in Hong Kong, offering multicurrency financing for properties in Britain, Australia, New Zealand and a number of states and provinces in the US and Canada. Overseas Club membership also offered exclusive member benefits such as discounts on lifestyle products and services. Lloyds TSB Offshore online real-time service was designed to make it easier for account holders to manage their euro or dollar Overseas Club accounts at a time and place convenient for customers, the bank claimed. Available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and free, the offshore Currency Internet Banking service charges only the bank's standard tariff as would be applied to any payment instruction. Customers can go online to check the balance, interest rates and previous transactions of their US dollar or euro Club Account, and effect payments in any major currency to beneficiaries abroad or in Britain. Clients can request a guaranteed international draft, drawn abroad and in the currency of that country. They can also review and print current and previous statements (up to six months' previous statements) and store banking details of regular payment beneficiaries.