Private bank waits for green light from PRA

Ray Entwhistle founded Scoban in 2010 to offer private banking services to high net-worth individuals. He subsequently raised £1.4m in capital from individual investors, directors and other figures associated with the company.

It is understood that Mr Entwhistle submitted a full banking application in early September and could seek to sell the bank’s naming rights to a sponsor if he is successful. However the executive chairman of the venture indicated that the bank may not be given the green light for at least six months.

Mr Entwhistle said feedback from “numerous” meetings with the PRA had been “positive” but added: “The process can still take six months from submission and longer if there are any contentious issues”.

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Scoban is thought to be among 21 ‘challenger’ banks in negotiations with the PRA following comments by Sam Woods, director of the domestic UK banks division for the watchdog, when he urged contenders to “bring it on” at a recent regional banks event in Whitehall.

Scoban has already attracted 120 private shareholders, most of whom the directors expect to become clients.

The company has undergone extensive testing of its banking platform and plans to open offices in London and Edinburgh.

Members of Scoban’s board include Graeme Hartop, former managing director of Scottish Widows, and Jeremy Fraser, former legal and compliance director for ING

Meanwhile a leading academic has revealed his plans to work outside the regulatory system to get several local finance initiatives off the ground.

Richard Werner, director of the Local First Community Interest Company, said he was not putting his own scheme, the Hampshire Local Finance Project, through the formal banking application process but that he was discussing with local authorities in England about setting up similar ventures elsewhere.

Adviser view

Julie Bayley, founder of Cumbria-based Eden Financial Planning, said: “We have seen many banks shut down in our area in recent years, including an HSBC branch in Appleby, so while I would be cautious about new banks, we have to welcome them into our communities to boost competition.”