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THE CO-OPERATIVE BANK AWARDED £15M IN FUNDING TO GROW ITS PRESENCE IN THE BUSINESS BANKING MARKET

14 May 2019

Funding will support the Bank’s goal to double its share of the market over the next five years, through the development of products and services for SME customers

The Co-operative Bank has been awarded £15m by Banking Competition Remedies (BCR) following its successful application for funding from Pool B of the Capability and Innovation Fund as part of the RBS alternative remedies package.

The small and medium-sized business (SME) market is a focus for the Bank as it builds for the future with a significant opportunity for growth. This funding will enable the Bank to accelerate its plans to improve and expand its proposition for UK SMEs.

To deliver the transformation and on its commitments to small businesses across the country, the Bank will look to create up to 270 new jobs in the UK.

Andrew Bester, CEO of The Co-operative Bank comments: “This is fantastic news for the Co-operative Bank and we are thrilled to have been awarded this funding. Our SME banking business is a key priority for us and we see considerable potential for growth. We are committed to more than doubling our current two per cent share of the market over the next five years and look forward to putting our plans into action, better meeting the banking needs of small businesses. Our award-winning SME banking proposition is a hidden gem and we want to play our part in driving competition and offering the UK’s SMEs a genuine alternative to the ‘Big 5’ banks.”

The Bank’s strategic investment will be focused on: development of an enhanced digital service to modernise the way SME customers engage with the Bank; developing products and personalised business support services, including working with fintechs and third party solutions to help small businesses thrive; and making banking faster paced for SMEs through improved infrastructure and automation. As part of its plan, £17m of the Bank’s own funds will be committed to supplement the £15m from the Capability and Innovation Fund.

Andrew Bester continued: “Our aim is to pioneer banking that makes a positive difference to small businesses, their customers, and the communities they serve. The investment we have received from the Capability and Innovation Fund will accelerate our ability to do this. Our values are at the heart of our bank and this brand heritage is a real asset at a time when consumers are increasingly seeking ethical choices. They are important both to our loyal customers and to our future growth.”

The Co-operative Bank currently looks after the banking needs of around 86,000 SMEs, 750 co-operatives, 5,000 charities, and around 200 credit unions. The main business accounts on offer are rated Five Stars by Moneyfacts. The Business Directplus Account offers 18 months of free banking to eligible customers, and the award-winning Community Directplus Account offers free banking services to eligible registered charities, credit unions and community interest companies.

The Co-operative Bank also has a unique partnership with the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), the UK’s largest membership body and voice of SMEs and offers a bespoke FSB Business Banking Account. In addition, The Co-operative Bank partnered with Co-operatives UK in February 2016 to form ‘The Hive’, the first co-operative development programme of its kind in the UK, which provides new business support for people looking to start or grow co-operative or community enterprises, using a mix of online resources, training and advice.

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