Top Business News

Derin Clark

Derin Clark

Online Reporter
Published: 11/09/2019

Allica, a bespoke bank for SMEs, has been granted a banking licence by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) and will be dually regulated by the PRA and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

The bank, which has the aim of enabling SMEs to advance their business by providing tailored support and financial expertise, is currently planning for a full launch of its products. It is expected to offer small business owners a range of products including loans, savings, payment services and asset finance.

Commenting on gaining the banking licence, Mark Stephens, chief executive officer at Allica, said: “The banking licence is an important milestone in our ambition to offer SMEs a genuine banking alternative. We built Allica specifically for businesses to realise their aspirations to advance. Allica will offer hands-on support from finance experts who are fully committed to providing each customer with tailored business solutions. I’m very much looking forward to the next exciting phase of launch."

Business savers are benefiting from increased competition in the market, with Redwood Bank increasing rates on both its one year business bond and 95-day business savings account.

Its 1 Year Business Savings Bond (Issue 2) now pays 2.00% on a £10,000 deposit and takes second place in the chart for its term. This account allows further additions within 14 days of account opening, but withdrawals are not permitted. While the 95 Day Business Savings Account (Issue 4) takes the top spot for its term paying 1.75%, again on a deposit of £10,000. It allows further additions, via a nominated account, and withdrawals subject to 95 days’ notice. Both these accounts can be managed by post, online and by phone. 

The business savings market is seeing lots of competition, with many providers looking to attract new business savings accounts and deposits. Businesses can earn the best interest returns from fixed rate bonds. However, the very best rates require a lengthy five-year commitment, and with a difference of only 0.18% between these and two-year rates, it could be questionable if the greater commitment is worth the return.

Meanwhile, business savings accounts with instant access all sit at around 1%, with the top account requiring only a £1 deposit.

United Trust Bank (UTB) has introduced a range of enhancements to its bridging products that are designed to reduce costs for borrowers and increase the speed and simplicity of the applications.

After a successful pilot phase, the bank has made the following changes to its bridging products:

  • Increasing the use of automated valuations (AVMs) for loans of up to £1m that are below 55% loan-to-loan (LTV) – with a maximum value of £1m per security property
  • Increasing the availability of dual legal representation for regulated loans of up to £1m
  • A new 75% LTV price band for first charges at a rate of 0.75% per month.

Gavin Diamond, commercial director – bridging, said: “These are significant enhancements to our bridging products and service offering that we hope will keep UTB very much at the top of brokers’ consideration lists when placing regulated and unregulated bridging loans. Our BDMs are talking to brokers up and down the country, finding out what would enable them to build their businesses and meet borrowers’ needs. Such feedback is invaluable in helping us to continually improve and refine what we do as we ensure our specialist short-term loans continue to meet the changing needs of brokers and borrowers.

“The first half of 2019 has been very busy at United Trust Bank, with considerable demand for short-term property finance. With these enhancements to our bridging offering, we look forward to speaking to even more brokers and serving more borrowers in the future.”

Almost one in 10 (9%) small or medium-sized business (SME) owners are at risk of burnout as they haven’t had a holiday for more than five years, findings from Simply Business reveal.

The main reason that prevents SME owners from taking holidays is money concerns, with three in five (62%) revealing that that potential loss of earnings is the primary issue that prevents them from taking time off work. As well as this, more than a third (35%) estimate that taking a holiday costs them at least £2,500 in lost earnings, while almost one in 10 (8%) estimate they’re losing out on double that figure at £5,000 or more for every holiday they take. One in five (19%) also admit to finding holidays stressful because they’re not bringing in any money.

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