This paper is the first to examine the mediating role of relationship quality in the online context. By investigating this major tenet of customer relationship management theory in this nascent service setting, this paper clarifies the interaction between service quality and relationship quality, as they impact on customer loyalty. The findings reveal some fundamental differences in the way that strong relationships and loyalty develop in the online setting vis-à-vis the offline setting. The findings of this empirical research support the existence of a partial mediating relationship. While effective service delivery was found to enhance the quality of customer-firm relationships, and consequently, the customer's perceived loyalty to their main financial institution; there was also evidence of a concurrent link between service quality and loyalty. This finding suggests that a strong relationship does not make customers immune to poor future services, and that firms operating in the online environment should maintain high service standards if they are to enjoy continued loyalty from their customers.