Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), one of the UK’s ‘big four’ banks is launching ‘Esme’, a digital site under its NatWest brand that will offer business loans within hours to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
The Financial Times reports that the new service will be available around the clock and the bank will offer up to £150,000 ($187,000/€177,000) for all small businesses, including those who are not RBS customers. Loans will be for up to a maximum period of five years.
Esme, developed by RBS’s in-house innovation lab, will process each step of the loan application, including credit scoring and compliance with know-your-customer (KYC) and anti-money laundering (AML) requirements.
The move by the state-owned bank comes less than two years after RBS announced the closure of global cash management division as part of a major restructure to focus on the UK market. Many of its non-UK business customers transferred to BNP Paribas and Citi.
Alison Rose, chief executive officer (CEO) of RBS’s corporate, commercial and private banking business said the launch of such a digital service was in response to the rise of similar peer-to-peer (P2P) and other direct lending sites in the UK.
“The last thing SMEs want is to spend hours filling in paper work, so this allows them to quickly complete a digital process. [SME lending] is a really big part of our engine of growth,” she told the FT.
Rose added that despite the bank’s digitisation move, RBS will continue to give importance to its managers whose role is to support these SME businesses. “We know a relationship banker is so important if a company does get into distress. The relationship banker stays with them the whole way through,” she said.
RBS has agreed deals with several P2P sites in the past two years as a way to refer some smaller businesses that it is unable to finance. The bank formed a partnership with a group of sites including Funding Circle to provide options for customers with loan applications that do not meet its criteria.
Leaked documents from the UK Home Office proposing that low-skilled EU migrants would be restricted in the UK’s post-Brexit immigration scheme may be more likely to increase automation and off-shoring of labour, rather than increase British wages, industry experts have warned.
The European Central Bank's (ECB) hotly anticipated meeting on Thursday afternoon made the euro skyrocket, as president Mario Draghi announced interest rates would remain at 0% and its quantitative easing programme will stay until at least the end of 2017.
The “sad truth” of banking is that many jobs will be automated in the future, Deutsche Bank's chief executive said yesterday. Despite this, a recent survey found that 98% of European workers are optimistic about the changes automation will bring to their workplace.
The dollar failed to recover against other major currencies on Monday following Friday’s disappointing US employment data announcement. This was coupled with ... read more