Banks face new branchless challenger

By Nicole Miskelly | 9 March 2015

CivilisedBank is a new challenger bank that provides an online-only service to small and medium sized businesses (SMEs). The new bank, led by a team of experienced financial services executives, has secured initial stage funding ahead of its proposed launch later this year.

The bank will not have branches but will instead operate through a network of local bankers to target owners and managers of SMEs in the UK and offer business current accounts, overdrafts, transaction banking, investments, savings, loans and foreign currency exchange.

CivilisedBank intends to use cloud technology which has only previously been used by BNP Paribas and Alpha Bank outside of the UK, which allows it to operate online-only. Chris Jolly, CivilisedBank chairman and former senior executive at BofAML said that bank will be at the forefront of 21st Century banks which are “fair, transparent and responsible.”

“We are pioneering a next generation model of customer-facing, technology-driven banking in the UK. Our local bankers will be responsive to the banking and financial needs of businesses in their communities based on one-to-one relationships with their customers. After years of turmoil, we believe that the UK deserves a more Civilised approach to banking,” said Jolly.

CivilisedBank joins fellow challenger banks such as Metro Bank and Shawbrook which have been going head-to-head with traditional banks and tempting competitor bank customers to join them since regulators and politicians encouraged more competition in the banking sector.

Anthony Duffy, Director of Retail Banking in UK & Ireland at Fujitsu said that, “News of the proposed launch of CivilisedBank is to be welcomed. The drive to innovate in financial services is being led by new entrants, as evidenced by CivilisedBank’s plan to combine a network of local bankers and a cloud-based operating platform.”

The market is currently controlled by some of the biggest banks including Barclays, HSBC and Lloyds who hold 80 per cent of personal current account and small business banking. Reports suggest that CivilisedBank is currently in the process of applying for a banking license which will enable them to start providing services to customers and means they will follow in the footsteps of challenger banks such as Metro Bank which gained a full license in 2010. 

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