CivilisedBank, an online-only bank aimed at small and medium-sized businesses, received its banking licence from the Bank of England’s Prudential Regulation Authority today.
The bank hopes to create a "network of local bankers" to serve SMEs without "the high client volume per banker or the traditional costs associated with the existing high street banks".
Led by Chris Jolly – a former senior executive at Merrill Lynch, Commerzbank and Societe General – the bank aims to launch to customers by early next year.
Jolly, CivilisedBank's chairman, said: “We are reinventing traditional banking for businesses by bringing back one-to-one relationship banking to SMEs, enabled by the very latest technology – both online and mobile.
"We want to return to a civilised way of banking with personal service backed by effective technology without any legacy issues. CivilisedBank represents a cultural innovation in banking and a genuinely new approach in the UK market.”
Jolly added that the bank has received funding from Warwick Capital Partners, a London-based investment manager.
"They have developed a very good understanding of our business model and we look forward to continuing what is already an excellent working relationship with them,” Jolly added.
Challenger banks are outperforming their high street peers in meeting consumer needs for digital services, a survey by US financial services group FIS released this week showed.
The study of 1,000 British banking customers also found that traditional lenders are lagging behind on factors including mobile, online access, digital payment options and safety.
“This new research shows just how important digital banking is becoming to British banking consumers,” said Bruce Jennings of FIS.
“With challenger banks leading the way in the UK in this respect, high street banks need to catch up quickly or risk losing their future customer base.”