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Meet The Services Family: Britain's new military challenger bank

29 June 2016  |  6819 views  |  5 Chelsea Pensioners

While most challenger banks entering the UK market focus squarely on the development of services to attract millennial consumers, the latest new bank on the block intends to carve out a niche position by catering to the needs of armed forces personnel and military veterans.

Founded by two military veterans, The Services Family says it wants to build a bank capable of dealing with the mobile lifestyle, complex career profiles and perceived risk profiles of the Armed Forces.

The business is in talks with regulators to acquire a banking license and has contracted with French firm Sopra Steria to provide a back-end platform to process transactions and undertake risk profiling. It is envisaged that customer service roles will be filled by military veterans who understand the special needs of armed forces personnel.

The Services Family has lined up former HSBC executive and ex-Allied Irish Bank chairman David Hodgkinson as its chairman, as well as other experienced bankers for executive roles.

The new bank plans to open for business by Q4 2016 and introduce customer services in a phased plan in step with regulatory permissions and platform delivery. The intent is that ‘The Services Family’ will commence trading as a mortgage and loan provider and progress towards becoming a fully licensed retail deposit taker in 2017.

While stressing the importance of old-fashioned, straight-talking, customer service values, The Services Family intends to take full advantage of technological advances in digital and mobile banking.

Michael Jenkins, founding director and business intelligence/strategy director, The Services Family comments: “We require extremely sophisticated digital services that can adapt to the changing needs of our target customer base. Sopra Steria was the natural choice because of their innovative approach and willingness to support us in developing a phased approach to our banking services, in addition to their proven expertise in this space."

Comments: (5)

Steve Popple
Steve Popple - PoppleSoft - London | 29 June, 2016, 12:47

Pity The Services Family seems to be looking only at a French supplier to provide a transaction processing platform, when there are several well-qualified British software vendors that could offer viable alternatives.

Steve Popple, ERI Banking Software Ltd., London

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Tom O'Brien
Tom O'Brien - The Services Family Limited - London | 29 June, 2016, 13:39

Steve

Actually we didnt just look at one supplier. We undertook a vigorous down select , which included British suppliers, and made our decision based on that. Nationality never entered the decision making.

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James Black
James Black - Provenir - Leeds | 29 June, 2016, 13:51

Steve, correct me if I'm wrong but aren't ERI Swiss?

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A Finextra member
A Finextra member | 29 June, 2016, 16:10

Nationality shouldnt play a part in the choice of software.... Although the french market always seems very difficult for British software/services companies to break into...  thats where 'vive la difference' comes in I suppose?

As an ex British Army Sergeant myself,  I will give SF bank a go when they go live.  Bon chance mes amis!  Apres moi le deluge!

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Daniel Smith
Daniel Smith - CHOICE Financial Solutions - New York | 30 June, 2016, 07:49

Interesting idea and reminds me very much of the concept / model of USAA bank in the US.

USAA started out as an insurer (hence the name) before becoming a full fledged bank.

USAA bank is an extremely well run and innovative bank in terms of delivery channels with a clear focus on servicing military personnel needs wherever they may be at any time.

Their customer service has a reputation for excellence, and working with military personnel, their levels of fraud, delinquency, etc. appear to be very low. Will that hold true for the UK also?

I'd be very interested to know if "Services Family" is modeled on, or inspired by, the USAA experience.

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