Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Today we jumped off the bridge!

We have re-engineered business banking and payments and re-purposed the way they work. UK business can now start to work with us in exactly the same way as their bank. They use our sort code, they have their own account number, they do Faster Payments and can support a customer that needs to pay them with a Visa or MasterCard.

To us it’s all the same: it’s one solution that fully consolidates core business banking services, simplified by operating a single self reconciling account and then we reward our customers. Our pricing resembles a mobile phone plan and we are offering 1% interest on business current accounts.

The £1bn of savings is also there, free cash flow waiting to be used. To help that get circulated, we even managed to get CASH (GB 2L) as our Swift  IBAN. I know that this sounds like a sales pitch but to explain what we have done means I have to explain it...so sorry!

However...

We do know already that we can generate additional cash flow of approximately £1billion from  money that is already being spent on paying for financial services today.

How do we know this? Because businesses are using our CashFlows calculator right now to find out for themselves. That money can be recycled and re-invested into the economy to help move businesses slowly forward.

We do know that according to data from HSBC and the Ernst and Young Item Club that the pinch point between UK inflation and wage increases is closing and, if current trends persist, will collide in Q2 2013. We also know that SMEs have to dig us out of the hole (taking us to 2017 at least) but if the collision does occur within 2 calendar quarters, the game is back on!

Boing Boing

I forget to mention the bungee cord we are attached to and so we are still bouncing around a bit and will soon settle down. If and when we do, every penny that we can recycle back into our economy is really going to matter.

We didn’t launch a bank today but we copied Michael Dell. He didn’t invent computers but addressed the supply chain, re-designed it, got cost down and shared the benefits with his customers. As the Nationwide TV ads say, everyone needs banking, but not everyone needs a bank and in 6 months time we will see where we are.

What we do know however is that we have already helped some business find free cash flow in their business today, and it wasn’t achieved using the old financial wizardry that got us in this mess either!

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Can we trust our banks?

Can businesses and consumers trust their bank when it comes to providing them with the best services at the best price?

I am not so sure! With an industry that has been tarnished by many scandals, negative headlines and endless reports of miss-selling, sometimes we are left wondering when we will see the end of this cloud of mistrust  and return to good old customer service driven firms who put their customers’ needs first.

I have been a customer with my bank for over 15 years with several bank accounts and services with them and have never been in the red. You would think with this background I would be referred to as a good customer, wouldn’t you?

Being a native French person, I also have a bank account in France, where I have to transfer funds from time to time, to avoid me carrying too much cash with me when going back home. I also have friends who run small businesses with an international clientele and with the majority of them being based in Europe.

For many years now, we have been paying a standard transfer fee which varies depending on the amount you are sending. So when we found out about the SEPA payment system (where transfer fees are waivered for Euro payments within the Euro transfer zone and within participating EU

countries and banks) we were over the moon, as we thought high transfer fees would become something of the past.

I was stunned when I called the international transfer department and was advised the fee would not be waived or reduced as it was standard and it was business as usual. Same result from my friends, who had greater hopes due to the businesses they are running and thought this would save them substantial amount of money going forward.

So I asked myself, when will the banks start passing some of their benefits to their customers? Why do we stick to the same bank if there are never any rewards to be reaped? Is it because we are so busy we can’t stop for a minute and shop around for a better bank, with better services which will reward us for being loyal customers?

Well, I have news for you! The Financial system is just about to be shaken up. For companies who have been following the market closely, be prepared for a revolution in our industry with the next generation of products that will change the face of banking.

If you don’t believe me, watch this space for next week’s blog post where we will keep you updated with more details on the imminent launch of our innovative product.