With the continuing expansion of the specialist banking market, this year promises to bring a host of new products and services to the sector.
As a result, Specialist Banking has compiled a list of some of the latest banking products, from mortgages and saving accounts to cryptocurrencies.
In January, challenger M&S Bank entered the mortgage market and launched a range of first-time buyer products, which include ?£1,000 cashback and a free valuation.
The larger bridging loan products offer a maximum loan size of ?£5m with rates starting from 0.48%.
Gary Wilkinson, CEO and co-founder at Redwood Bank, also revealed that it was currently considering the launch of bridging and refurbishment commercial mortgages.
Towards the end of 2017, mobile banking platform Revolut added a new feature to its mobile app which enabled customers to buy and exchange three major cryptocurrencies.
Customers can buy, hold and sell bitcoin, litecoin and ethereum with any of the 25 base currencies offered on the app.
With the current buzz around cryptocurrencies, it wouldn't be surprising if other banking platforms attempted to make cryptocurrency trading more accessible.
Business current accounts
Countingup recently launched its mobile-based business current account to sole traders, freelancers and contractors at the top of its waiting list.
Tim Fouracre, founder and CEO at Countingup, said: â€œCountingup believes that every small business should have their accounting and banking in one place.
â€œIt's the simple way to run a business.
â€œFollowing the launch of our free business banking app in January, we will be rolling out a number of accounting features this calendar year, including the functionality for three million self-employed sole traders in the UK to submit a tax return.'
Business savings accounts
Virgin Money recently launched a new instant access business savings account for SMEs.
Virgin's offering allows businesses to save between ?£1,000 and ?£1m with a rate of 0.6%.
Value could be found in businesses turning to challenger and specialists banks for savings, assuming they can overcome their inertia.
SynerGIS Capital has revealed that it will be launching its first public offering of one- and two-year fixed rate bonds, as well as an Isa wrapper option.
â€œWe aim to differentiate ourselves from riskier P2P lenders by limiting the use of funds to a diversified portfolio of secured asset-backed lending opportunities focused on commercial property, government and local authority development and infrastructure projects, trade finance and other asset-secured opportunities,' said, John Gunn, executive chairman at SynerGIS Capital.
London is the biggest sharia financial centre in the world for commercial finance outside of the sharia countries, according to Charles Haresnape, CEO at Gatehouse Bank.
As a result, Gatehouse Bank plans to launch sharia-compliant 'home finance', alongside its current buy-to-let offering.
To support the expansion of its product range, the bank recently opened a new customer service centre in Milton Keynes.
On Tuesday (20th February), the London-based fintech Soldo integrated with Starling Bank.
Business users will therefore be able to automate sending company money and receiving payments.
Julian Sawyer, COO at Starling Bank, said â€œSoldo had already achieved an incredible feat by innovating the way in which businesses can efficiently manage their cash flow and with the integration of our payments technology, [it has] raised [its] value proposition to another level.'
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