Digital bank launches targeting young professionals

A team of financial services experts led by two former Barclays executives has unveiled their plans to launch Pennyworth, a new digital bank to serve the needs of young professionals and middle managers.

Founded by Jeremy Takle and Ben Harvey, formerly managing director and head of product at Barclays’ US digital consumer bank, began the pre-application process to become an authorised UK bank in March. Today it started recruiting 1,000 'Pennyworth Pioneers' to gain advanced access to its mobile banking app as part of beta testing in early 2021.

Instead of competing for consumers’ current accounts, Pennyworth will enable its customers to integrate and experience personalised banking across their existing accounts through Open Banking. Financial planning insight will be a core part of the service, with tailored support to help customers define and track progress towards their life goals.

Pennyworth will also help its customers achieve their goals faster by offering high-yield savings and deposits, low-cost loans and overdrafts, and the ability to contact their bank manager through a single click of a button in its app.

Chief product officer Harvey explained: “We are building a digital bank for ‘aspiring affluent’ young professionals, busy people climbing the corporate ladder with complex financial needs, who would benefit hugely from personalised service and financial planning insights, but who struggle to access them in their traditional form.”

Chief executive Takle stated: “Traditional banks continue to exploit busy people by providing poor value, impersonal service, and the first wave of neobanks have failed to break that inertia because they are too busy battling to win current accounts that most people don’t want to switch.”

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