Nationwide, Investec and Co-op Bank share £80 million BCR grant pool
Banking Competition Remedies (BCR) has announced the results of the Capability and Innovation Fund (CIF) Pool B – awarding £50 million to Nationwide Building Society and £15 million each to Investec Bank and Co-operative Bank, reports Jane Connolly.
Designed to promote market competition in banking services for UK SMEs, the fund received 13 applications for the second pool.
Each applicant was required to submit a list of public commitments, outlining what it will deliver with the grant, for which they will now be held accountable. The successful applicants will sign an agreement with BCR and progress made on those commitments will be published quarterly on BCR’s website.
The commitments are extensive – for example, Nationwide states that it will match the £50 million grant to “change the face of SME banking in the UK for good” with the launch of its business current account in early 2020.
The building society also states that it will “provide a range of options to remove real and perceived barriers to switching by June 2020, including use of the CASS, Open Banking-powered switching support, dedicated personal switching assistance and closed account histories”.
Investec Bank, which also plans to match its CIF grant, commits to providing £300 million of additional lending to SMEs and creating 40 new jobs.
The Co-operative Bank pledges to modernise its digital service for SMEs, develop products and personalised business support services to help small businesses thrive and increase the pace of banking for SMEs.