New challenger joins UK banking industry

CivilisedBank will offer an online service to small and medium-sized businesses later this year after securing its first round of funding.

The bank has begun its application for a banking licence, Reuters reported.

CivilisedBank will offer business current accounts to small businesses, which will allow deposits, transaction banking, overdrafts, foreign currency exchange, investments, savings and loans. The new bank hopes to provide specific savings and investment products for the retail market at a later date.

The launch of CivilisedBank will see the introduction of a new cloud technology to the UK banking industry that is already in use by BNP Paribas and Alpha Bank. The technology platform will remove the need for branches, allowing CitiBank to operate via a network of local bankers.

The online-only provider joins a growing number of new banks challenging the dominance of the so-called ‘Big Five’ – Lloyds, Barclays, RBS, HSBC and Santander. These banks control more than 80 per cent of the personal current account market, and around 85 per cent of small business banking.

Regulators and politicians have aimed to make it easier for new banks to start operations in the UK in order to encourage competition in the banking industry. Metro Bank, Aldermore, Shawbrook and OneSavings are just a few new providers looking to break the stranglehold the Big Five have on the industry.

Chris Jolly will be the bank’s chairman, having held senior roles in real estate and at Merryl Lynch. Former Santander private banking managing director Gordon Dow will join the company as chief executive.

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