Recognise Bank hits “Magic Moment” as PRA removes deposit restrictions

The culmination of a three-year journey to create a bank to serve the UK’s SMEs, removal of deposit restrictions allows Recognise to offer personal and business savings accounts.

Recognise Bank has today announced the removal of deposit restrictions by the PRA (Prudential Regulation Authority), making it one of only a handful of banks to receive full authorisation without restrictions since the start of the COVID pandemic. The announcement follows a successful £14million investment round last month, bringing total investment to £54million.

The new SME bank opened its doors and started offering unregulated commercial loans at the end of 2020, but the removal of deposit restrictions means it can now provide a much wider range of services. FSCS-protected savings products for personal savers are due to be launched this week, while business savings accounts will follow later in the year.

The flow of funds into the bank from its savings products will enable Recognise Bank to increase lending to the UK’s small and medium sized businesses via a national network of regional hubs.

Recognise Bank has embraced the best of fintech innovation by using cutting edge cloud-based technology to create its lending platform, while also recruiting a strong team of experienced relationship managers offering growing businesses a “personal-banking” style relationship – something that is missing from both the traditional high street banks that have cut back on their regional workforces, as well as technology-led new entrants that won’t be able to offer SMEs a face-to-face service.

Making the announcement, Jason Oakley, CEO of Recognise Bank, said: “This is a magic moment for Recognise Bank and the culmination of a three-year journey to build a new bank and provide much-needed support to the UK’s SMEs who have been increasingly let down by the mainstream banks.

“We have stuck to our plans and ambitions to be a fully regulated bank, and while other new entrants have either stumbled or fallen, Recognise Bank is already working with SMEs in the regions, lending and supporting their business ambitions.

“While the lifting of deposit restrictions is a successful milestone for Recognise Bank, it also marks the start of our next exciting phase. We can now offer savings accounts for personal savers, as well as business customers whose savings needs have been completely ignored by the big banks for years.’’

Recognise Bank was set up in 2018 and received its Authorisation with Restriction (AwR) in November 2020. Instead of the centralised call centres many mainstream banks use, Recognise Bank has created a network of regional hubs with experienced Relationship Managers who work directly with small businesses and their advisers. 

The bank uses cloud-based banking technology to provide SMEs with quicker lending decisions and speedy access to their funds, using the nCino Bank Operating System and the Mambu SaaS cloud banking platform

Recognise Bank offers a range of unregulated funding options for SMEs, including Commercial Mortgages, Bridging Loans, and Working Capital Loans, in addition to specialist Professional Practice Loans for firms such as architects and solicitors, as well as the medical and healthcare sectors. Buy-to-let loans for professional property investors are due to launch later this year. 

The bank has already received £750 million in lending enquiries since it opened its doors in November 2020 and aims to provide £1.3 billion in lending to more than 5,000 SME borrowers over the next five years. It also plans to support more than 50,000 business and personal savers over the next five years.

Recognise Bank is led by Jason Oakley, CEO, who was formerly Managing Director of Commercial Banking at Metro Bank and has a long career in banking and commercial lending. He is joined by Bryce Glover, Deputy CEO, who previously headed up the Commercial Division of Nationwide Building Society, as well as senior banking roles with organisations including Alliance & Leicester / Santander. The board is led by Phil Jenks, previously Chair of Charter Court Group who has first-hand experience of building a successful financial services company from a standing start. 

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