Santander to create UK standalone digital bank for SMEs
Spanish bank Santander is to create a standalone digital bank in the UK to help more SMEs to achieve success and give the bank a bigger online presence.
The move comes after Royal Bank of Scotland announced that it would be launching a separate brand, with both banks looking to compete with the digital services offered by fintech start-up companies such as Tandem Money and Monzo.
Santander’s digital bank is expected to be created in the next few months and will offer smaller businesses services that go beyond traditional bank lending, with businesses being able to receive advice on pensions and payrolls.
In addition to its new standalone bank, Santander is also considering launching its Open Bank product in the UK. The product is the bank’s flagship service in Spain and has achieved much success, with figures from the Spanish Banking Association showing that more than 1.35 million Spanish customers were using the service by the end of 2016.
The bank is set to launch four innovation hubs, including a digital financial services platform aimed at small and medium-sized businesses and its Open Bank service.
Santander is among the smaller banks that are currently competing for a £833m fund earmarked by RBS, which aims to boost competition among smaller rivals.
Commenting on the launch of Santander’s digital bank, a spokesperson for the bank said: “As we announced at our group strategy update in October last year, we are working on a project to build an open digital financial services platform for SMEs. We are excited by opportunity to help more SMEs to prosper and we look forward to sharing more about the platform soon.”