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Digital-only business bank gets regulatory approval

The latest challenger bank gets its regulatory approval and puts modern technology at the core of its offering

CivilisedBank, an online-only bank built on cloud-based software, is the latest challenger bank to receive regulatory approval in the UK, and it plans to launch in 2018.

CivilisedBank has been in the making for more than two years since announcing its plan to serve small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) using the latest technologies to negate the need for physical branches.

CivilisedBank will use a network of local bankers to serve small and medium-sized enterprise customers with a turnover of up to around £25m and will be backed up by a cloud-based technology platform. The technology is already used in Europe by BNP Paribas bank.

The bank’s founder Chris Jolly told the Financial Times how technology can turn a banker into a mobile bank. “With modern technology, you don’t need a branch network. A local banker can have a laptop, a phone and all the systems that go with that,” he said.

Like other new banks, known as challenger banks, CivilisedBank is targeting a niche sector and will offer business banking services such as loans, savings and current accounts, and will develop relationships with customers through a blend of technology and local bankers.

The bank stated: “With CivilisedBank, business banking happens where you do business. You’ll always speak to someone you know, and they’ll serve your needs enabled by reliable, innovative technology.”

New banks have the advantage of not being hampered by the type of legacy IT systems established banks have when trying to offer niche targeted banking services.

According to a statement on CivilisedBank’s website, technology should enable business. “We’ll make it faster and easier so you can be productive on your desktop, tablet and smart phone. Even innovative technology is best when you don’t have to think about it. That’s civilised online banking for you.”

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