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New challenger bank will target Millennials

New challenger bank will target Millennials

Challenger lender Iam Bank is poised to launch in the UK, online and with branches, in what its boss has said will see it become the "Apple Store" of banking. 

Lee Travers, chief executive of Iam Bank, believes the new organisation will have a "compelling story" for UK consumers.

The bank has already launched its website and unveiled a digital learning offering, but the executive team is "on the look out" to acquire a small UK bank, building society or even credit union with a high street presence.

Once it has made the acquisition, Iam Bank can get its UK banking licence and start to create a branch network.

According to Mr Travers, although the digital market place is growing at a vast pace, customers "still prefer the safety and security of traditional banking".

Therefore, in addition to the strong digital presence, it aims to have branches in the UK and the US, where it has already started to make an acquisition to get its US banking licence.

Mr Travers said these branches will be developed as "member experience centres", where customers can interact electronically or face to face, attend financial education workshops and even take part in mother and baby groups.

Iam Bank's target market is Millennials, with a view to offering low-cost savings, pensions and investment products to help get young people into good saving habits.

Savers do not have to put in significant upfront minimum investments: they can round up their spend on things like a coffee, and invest incrementally through a new service called IamVested.

The service allows the member to invest these amounts into selected, appropriate, low-cost exchange-traded funds and bonds, or they can invest in the brand with which they have spent money, where applicable.

Mr Travers said in future the bank may consider building an in-house fund management team to offer active and passive solutions, potentially even creating a managed portfolio solution for customers.

From September 2017, the digital bank will roll out free online learning and financial therapy workshops across the UK and the US, aimed at Millennials.

This will be provided through a tool called Iam;emma, which aims to help young people and students take control of their finances, identify their spending and saving patterns and set clear goals.

The financial literacy tool will initially target students at the top 10 universities in the UK, and offer a rewards-based financial literacy programme.

Students passing stages 1, 2, and 3 will be given learning-based rewards. Passing the third stage means the student will receive a "credit" of between £10 and £1,000 into a digital bank account with Iam Bank, although there is no obligation on the student to set up an account with the bank. 

Other plans for Iam Bank also include creating more than 21,000 partnerships with retailers to enable cash back, which the customer can invest into their cash or passive investment accounts.