The U.K. banking industry has seen a slew of new market entrants in the form of “challenger banks,” but one of the latest to enter into the industry is of another sort. It’s ClearBank, a new U.K. agency and clearing bank that provides banking-as-a-service for FinTechs and banks that need to connect into payment systems and core banking technologies.
According to reports Tuesday (Feb. 28), the startup was launched by Worldpay founder Nick Ogden and is the first new market entrant in more than 250 years. Ogden revealed plans for ClearBank at a press conference attended by government officials, reports said, revealing that the company plans to launch in August of this year.
The company will provide services to FCA-regulated businesses, FinTech startups and banks. Built on hybrid cloud technology via Microsoft Azure, the company offers an API developed on ISO 20022 messaging standards. Ogden stressed that ClearBank is regulated and authorized to begin operating.
In addition to announcing its launch plans, ClearBank also revealed that it raised more than $31 million from PPF Group and CFFI Ventures, as well as from members of its founding management team. The company will be headed by CEO Charles McManus.
“ClearBank was built specifically to create competition and aims to change the market dynamics radically,” said Ogden. “Figures from the Cruickshank Report indicate that, with the improved efficiency delivered by ClearBank’s built-for-purpose technology, between £2 billion and £3 billion [about $2.5 billion and $3.7 billion] could be saved from the annual costs that are paid for transactional banking in the U.K.“
Ahead of its launch, ClearBank will be stress-testing its solution in collaboration with a challenger bank, Ogden said.