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Precise parent granted banking licence for challenger

Precise parent granted banking licence for challenger

Charter Court Financial Services is set to launch a challenger bank early this year, after its banking license was approved by the Prudential Regulation Authority.

Charter said its “lower cost” online and telephone-based proposition will focus on offering “competitive” rates across easy access, notice and fixed rate savings accounts.

The dedicated savings proposition Charter Savings Bank will join a small group of challenger brands who have recently moved into the retail banking space.

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Regulators have approved five other challenger banks in the last year: Axis Bank, Union Bank of India, FCMB, UBA Capital and Paragon Bank. It has also has held discussions with a further 25 applicants.

Charter Court Financial Services is the holding company that sits behind Precise Mortgages.

The group has made several senior board appointments to support the launch of the banking proposition, with Philip Jenks becoming chairman after a forty year career in retail banking.

Ian Ward, former chief executive of Leeds Building Society, has been named vice-chairman and will be responsible for overseeing the savings proposition.

Tim Brooke, a former PricewaterhouseCoopers partner, joins the board with specific responsibility for overseeing the bank’s risk functions, while Ian Wilson has been appointed as the bank’s chief risk officer.

Ian Lonergan, chief executive of Charter Court Financial Services, will take overall control of running the new bank, with former Shawbrook Bank director of savings Paul Whitlock coming in as director of savings and the chief spokesperson on banking issues.

Mr Lonergan said the business sees the development of a retail banking proposition as a logical extension of existing growth plans.

“Being granted this licence by the PRA demonstrates the strength of our offering and the ambitious plans we have to champion savers and help them realise their financial goals,” he added.

Mr Whitlock added: “It’s high time, in what has become a listless market, that straightforwardness and robust rates are re-introduced to the market.”

peter.walker@ft.com