Azure Built ClearBank Enters UK
February 28, 2017
ClearBank is the first clearing bank
to enter the UK market in more than 250 years.
ClearBank is regulated and authorized and is on track to open its doors
in Autumn 2017 to financial services providers, FCA-regulated businesses
and Fintechs that require access to UK payment systems and core banking
technology to support current account capabilities.
Free from the constraints of legacy technology, built on a combination
of public and private cloud infrastructure, ClearBank delivers open
access to payment, current account and transactional clearing services.
Financial services organizations, from banks and building societies
through to new challenger banks and Fintechs will be able to process
payments and offer new competitive transactional banking services more
cost effectively, efficiently and quickly than ever before possible.
Principal clearing banks move money between different individuals and
organizations via UK payment systems such as Bacs, CHAPS and Faster
Payments. They are often the only banks providing agency banking
services that have full and direct access to all of the UK payments
infrastructure. The majority of banks and financial services providers
must use agency banking services from a clearing bank to process
payments or offer current account and sort code based services.
Before ClearBank, there were four principal clearing banks: Barclays,
HSBC, Lloyds and Royal Bank of Scotland. ClearBank is the fifth UK
clearing bank and the only one that does not offer services direct to
the consumer. As a result, it offers a truly neutral and independent
banking service to the financial services market and does not compete
with its own customers.
ClearBank was founded by Nick Ogden, fintech entrepreneur and founder of
WorldPay, who is Executive Chairman at ClearBank. Former CFO of RBS
Ulster Bank and CFO of Royal Bank of Canada Europe and Asia, Charles
McManus, is ClearBank CEO and leads an executive team of high-profile
industry figures including: Chief Financial Officer, Marc Jenkins; Chief
Risk Officer, Steve Barry; Chief Technology Officer, Andrew Smith; and
Chief Governance Officer, Philip House.
Nick Ogden, ClearBank Executive Chairman, said: “There are thousands of
new fintech startups and challenger banks improving choice, but the
industry will never truly move forward while it’s constrained by the
challenges of legacy operational structures. ClearBank was built
specifically to create competition and aims to change the market
dynamics radically. Figures from the Cruickshank Report indicate that,
with the improved efficiency delivered by ClearBank’s built-for-purpose
technology, between £2bn and £3bn could be saved from the annual costs
that are paid for transactional banking in the UK.
“This represents a substantial boost to the UK economy delivering better
operational processes without any impact on the way that commerce is
operated in the country.
“We are delighted to share the result of more than three years of
regulatory, operational and technology efforts, bringing true
competition and a new level of transparency to UK banking. That is the
ClearBank CEO Charles McManus, said: “There are two things that make
ClearBank unique. Firstly, ClearBank is the first UK clearing bank to
offer services that intentionally complement its customers’ market
activities, driving choice and competition in the wider market. From our
own customers through to the consumers they serve, we believe the
benefits ClearBank offers will help develop greater choice, and more
inclusive service offerings.
“Secondly, we’ve built ClearBank on cloud technologies from the ground
up, meaning that our customers can access faster, more efficient and
more cost-effective solutions and payment processing.
“It’s our mission to bring open competition, transparency and efficiency
to the agency banking services market. The right technology and
regulatory environment and demand for open competitive pressure now
exist to support us in achieving that aim.”
Economic Secretary to the Treasury, Simon Kirby MP, said: “I am clear
that UK financial services should be the most competitive and innovative
in the world, which is why we are creating the right environment for new
banks to enter the market.
“That is why I am so pleased to see ClearBank launch today – it will
play an important role helping challenger banks access the services they
need to do business, so they can compete effectively with the big
players and deliver the benefits of greater choice and value for
consumers and businesses.”
ClearBank’s leading edge technology platform has been built on a
combination of public and private cloud infrastructure. It is
specifically designed to handle core banking, clearing and settlement
services, in a ground breaking partnership with Microsoft and other
technology providers. Built from the ground up on Microsoft’s Azure
cloud platform, and benefiting from Microsoft’s cyber security shields,
ClearBank has been developed to meet the needs of the UK banking market
now and in the future.
Rose, Chief Executive of Microsoft UK, said: “By embracing Microsoft’s
cloud services, ClearBank is rewriting the rules on how financial
services can be delivered in the UK. Through the power of Microsoft
Azure, ClearBank has been able to create a robust banking infrastructure
that is able to overcome substantial barriers to entry in a fraction of
the time it has traditionally taken, and at minimal cost.
“Furthermore, by utilizing Microsoft’s UK data centers, not only can
ClearBank be confident that it has access to cloud services that offer
world-class reliability and performance, it can also be assured that its
data residency and regulatory requirements are fulfilled.”
ClearBank secured an investment of £25M from PPF Group and CFFI Ventures
in addition to investments from the founding management team. All
members of the ClearBank team participate in a share program.
The ClearBank graduate program, which screened more than 3,000
applications when it was launched late last year, has already started
with six graduates in house and offers a two-year Professional Retail