HSBC planning a business challenger bank

HSBC are the latest big bank to launch a digital ‘challenger’ - this time based around business banking.

My thoughts are broadly the same as when the news broke that RBS was building a challenger:

(Spoiler: HSBC won’t make it work either)

h/t to @Joe_Merriman over on the Starling Community (or what’s left of it - poor the 'ling :cry:) for finding this.


‘Online upstarts’

And for that reason alone, it will fail


It’s a slightly crazy thought but do they even need to make it work or just be in the game. If they launch a mobile only brand and it can offer even basic banking away from their usual customer service crapness they could probably use it to retain existing customers that might otherwise consider moving

Like I said though, just a crazy thought

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I’ve been told by my current Business bank that my Business account (which I’ve had with them in good standing for nearly 8 years) is going to be moved to a Challenger Bank under some initiative by next Feb.

Seems like they’ll all be getting in on the initiative if it’s a chance to nab a load of decent customers?

No idea who I’m going to go with yet. I don’t like most of the options TBH but HSBC would be good for the amount of International payments we do.

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If you don’t mind sharing, who are you with at the moment? I’m assuming RBS/Natwest?

Hi Peter, yes indeed I currently have a Natwest personal account, currently in the process of Switching, and a Business account with them too which they are chucking me out of (part of the reason for switching my personal account)



Hi @Avionyx - Did they give any more details about it (did they imply it was moving outside of NatWest, or that NatWest were creating a challenge off shoot?)

More info available here, I understand it’s some sort of competition thing and basically anyone who turns over less than £25mil and isn’t in masses of debt is being switched outside of NatWest.

If anyone knows anymore about it I’d love to hear it as they’ve not been forthcoming with too much info.


Ah, yes. To be fair to Natwest, they are being forced to divest some business accounts, I think, as part of the pay back for their bailout :frowning: :thinking:

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Wow - I knew little bits of this, but not that much - Thanks.

Echo the sentiments above - If anyone knows more, I’d be keen to know!

Thanks for the link - fascinating.

This line caught my eye which might be useful if you did want to stay with them:

Switching isn’t mandatory but eligible customers will be rewarded for doing so.

Do you have a list of participating banks? (There’s nothing on the website yet).

It’s practically certain, though, that HSBC (or a HSBC owned subsidiary or challenger) won’t be on the list. The purpose is to move the market share away from the big four:

You may hear the participating banks referred to as challenger banks. This is a term sometimes used for smaller banks who compete, or intend to compete, in the business banking and corporate banking market. Over 70% of small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) current accounts are currently with the big four banks (RBS, HSBC, Lloyds and Barclays), which is why the Government is keen to increase competition and provide more customer choice.

I wonder if something as simple as Starlings “free business account” is enough of a “reward”?

I initially read it as there would be an incentive from Natwest to leave, as well as a good offer from the challengers to join.

Rereading it, it seems that part of the RBS remedy fund needs to be used by the challengers on creating a better position than what’s otherwise in the market. Under this reading, I’d have thought that Starling might need to enhance their offer over and above what’s on the open market. That’s all assuming their bid to participate is accepted…

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Yeah, I vaguely remember reading about some Starling bid for RBS funding not too long ago - It sounds like it was for this.

I initially read it as the incentive was from the challenger bank - Not NatWest. But it may be both as you said.

Very interested to see where it goes and if it shines a light on some other players in the market.

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Something like Starling will vastly need to increase the features available to be worth switching to, I looked at them a while back and only being able to have one person have access to the account is hugely limiting for anything other than a sole trader.

Tide are only slightly better but, although I do have an account with them, the amount of scary stories regarding people having accounts frozen and closed without notice is too much of a put off for me to run my business using them.

I’m going to be incredibly interested to see what options are available because right now I really don’t see there being any.