Nationwide eyes RBS fund and business banking

Nationwide says it is responding to customer demand for business banking
Nationwide says it is responding to customer demand for business banking

Nationwide plans to wade into the market for business banking by taking a slice of Royal Bank of Scotland’s challenger fund.

Britain’s biggest building society wants to launch a current account for smaller firms in an attempt to break the big five’s dominance of the financial space.

RBS has been forced by the European Commissions to set up a near-£800 million pot designed to spur competition while avoiding the sale of around 300 Williams & Glyn branches.

The package is split, with £425m set aside to support challenger banks and fin-tech businesses and £350m to help challenger banks convince small firms to switch from the state-backed lender.

Nationwide, has around 15m customers and employs 18,000 staff, joins the likes of Virgin Money, Starling and Aldemore, which have all expressed an intent to claim a portion of the money.

Chief executive Joe Garner said: “We know there is demand for a Nationwide business current account, because at least 50,000 members ask us each year if we can help.

“This funding gives us a way to enter the market, serve society and meet our member needs several years before we would otherwise have re-considered it.

“We are already transforming the market in personal current accounts, winning more switchers than the big banks combined.

“Nationwide is the only market challenger with the scale, trust and track record to offer a compelling national alternative to the status quo that has reigned in business banking for over 20 years.”

Banking giants RBS, Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds and Santander hold around 85% of business accounts, according to market research specialist Mintel.