Starling plans to remove two big roadblocks for business customers in 2019

By Oliver Smith on 11th March 2019

Challenger Banks

SME business loans and multi-director accounts are both in the works.

Starling plans to remove two big roadblocks for business customers in 2019Image source: Starling

Starling Bank’s consumer offering has long been one of the best in the industry, in particular boasting features like personal loans and joint accounts which are quick and easy to set up.

Business account holders, on the other hand, might have felt a little short-changed, lacking both of these. But in 2019 that’s due to change.

Having recently been awarded £100m from the RBS Competition Fund to boost its business offering Stuart Doignie, head of SME banking at Starling, told Specialist Banking last week that the bank will launch unsecured business loans this year.

Doignie said most of Starling’s SME loans would likely be on the smaller side of between £5,000 and £250,000, but didn’t rule out lending as much as £500,000 in some cases.

The second change is the removal of restrictions on multi-director business accounts for limited companies, which have so far restricted Starling’s market share to sole traders and limited companies with sole directors.

The removal was first mulled in October 2018, but is now thought to be on the roadmap for 2019.

CEO Anne Boden last month said the new funds from RBS would help the digital bank “reshape the SME banking market”, and the company appears to be rapidly pushing ahead with that plan.

Today Starling also announced it will be opening a second office in Southampton with 150 developers and customer service staff to support its SME banking arm.

“We are growing so fast that we are rapidly running out of space in our London offices," said Boden. "Southampton will be Starling’s first office outside of London. The bank is also committed to opening a second regional contact centre to support its growing customer base of SME businesses and individual current account holders.”

Good news all around for businesses looking for a digital bank to join.

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