A banking service for Britain's one-million-strong Indian community has been launched today by Lloyds TSB.

The bank has joined forces with India's second largest bank, ICICI Bank, to offer the service, which will provide customers with free money transfers between India and the UK, as well as access to a Rupee mortgage for Indian property purchases.

The service is the first of its kind to be offered by a high street bank and aims to provide a one-stop shop to help the country's Indian population manage their finances and property purchases.

Many Indians living in the UK still have property and financial commitments in India.

The service is one of a range of Lloyds TSB initiatives designed to help meet the financial needs of Britain's diverse communities, the bank said.

Lloyds TSB's partnership with ICICI Bank means that customers transferring money between India and the UK will benefit from preferential exchange rates. The service will give customers access to ICICI Bank's network of 560 branches in India.

Following a successful pilot, the India Banking Service is now being rolled out to branches across the country - focusing on areas with the largest Indian populations.

Gordon Rankin, director of Lloyds TSB Community Financial Services, said: "The India Banking Service is designed with the needs of this community in mind and should help a large and vital part of the population get the most out of their money."

The service will be available in all branches of Lloyds TSB from the end of April.