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Santander to launch standalone digital bank

The Spanish bank is expected to launch a standalone business banking service within months, according to reports.

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It appears that Santander will follow in the footsteps of RBS with the launch of a digital bank offering under a separate brand.

An article in the Telegraph, published over the weekend, describes the service as a ‘flanker’ brand, meant to help the bank keep pace with disruptors like Monzo and Tandem.

Santander set out plans to develop four such digital-only platforms, each with its own CEO, in a strategy update last October. These include Openbank, which has already signed up 1.3m customers in Spain.

The new business banking project will seek to offer a range of services beyond traditional lending, including payroll and pensions products, according to the Telegraph.

Standalone banking brands, owned by incumbents, are becoming increasingly prevalent. Earlier this month, we learned that NatWest would seek to scale its small business lending platform Esme significantly in 2018, after a ‘successful pilot’. In the Netherlands, ABN AMRO has launched a standalone small business lending platform by the name of New10.

More to come on ‘flanker’ brands later this week.

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