Challenger bank trio share 1st RBS fund

The board of Banking Competition Remedies (BCR) has announced the results of the Capability and Innovation Fund Pool A grant process, with Metro Bank, Starling Bank and ClearBank sharing the £280 million pot.

Metro Bank has been awarded £120 million, with £100 million for Starling and £60 million for ClearBank.

The Capability and Innovation Fund is designed to promote competition in the market for banking services to SMEs in the UK through expansion of each successful applicant’s business capacity, product offering and/or target markets.

The three successful applicants will be invited to enter into a Capability and Innovation Fund Agreement with BCR.

Godfrey Cromwell, BCR’s chairman, said: “Following the successful launch of the Incentivised Switching Scheme by BCR last year, Pool A is the first group of grants from the Capability and Innovation Fund – further grants (Pools B, C and D) will be awarded later this year.”

BCR received a total of 16 applications from six applicants for the Pool A process during an application window between 1 November and 31 December 2018.

Charles McManus, group chief executive of ClearBank, said: “We are delighted that the BCR has recognised the strength of our partnership with Tide in awarding us this grant – we both have the ambition to revolutionise banking services provided to the SME market.”

Stuart Chalmers, head of UK commercial banking at Accenture, commented: “The high level of SMEs unwilling to switch places the onus on competitors to develop a distinct offering and effectively communicate the long-term benefits.

“With strong customer loyalty and unconvincing switching incentives, the RBS Remedies Package’s goal to disrupt the market looks currently unachievable.”

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