W&F Issue 11 2018

www.wealthandfinance-news.com 10 Wealth & Finance International - Issue 11 - 2018 Banking is changing. Traditional brick and mortar banks have long held the reins of an industry in desperate need of revitalisation. Technology has been the dominant driver of this change, as the digital age races ahead of the established norms and best practices of the industry’s giants. Because of this hesitancy to adapt to change, Fintech and challengers have risen to incite disruption in a sector in dire need of it. Consumer needs have changed - their expectations are thoroughly modern in a banking sector that can often be best described as old fashioned. Redwood Bank represents one of the most promising challenger banks in the UK, despite being launched only last year. Like many of their peers, they saw an opportunity to fulfil an urgent need in the market, a bank that though modern in its system and infrastructure, adopted the values and ethos of the past. Ultimately, they are a bank that is fundamentally focused on their clients, as Gary explains further: “Redwood Bank is a bank with a difference. It was founded with advanced systems and traditional values, with a real focus on lending to small and medium-sized organisations.” Perhaps more importantly, they are offering much needed support in an economic climate that can seem daunting to SMEs trying to make their mark on the British business landscape. “Redwood was launched to offer a real alternative for small businesses, providing fast, simple, transparent loans and savings accounts. Our specialist team of more than fifty experienced members of staff focus on lending to local communities and supporting British businesses, helping them navigate the ever- changing financial and business landscape by offering secured, individually assessed loans and simple, rewarding savings accounts.” Gary is quick to emphasise Redwood Bank’s dedication to modernity and, crucially, cyber security. Today, data breaches seem almost an inevitability in the face of dated systems trying to hold the tide of ever-evolving digital threats. Redwood wanted to establish, from the outset, an approach defined by security and, moreover, trust. “People, service and technology are at the forefront of what Redwood Bank is all about, ensuring every customer’s experience is secure, fast and easy. Banks are 300 times more likely to experience some sort of security issue, which is why Redwood knew it needed to make this a high priority right from the start. Redwood partnered with Microsoft to deliver a ‘fast and fantastic’ service to its customers and colleagues using a complete internet-based IT system. This was in place from the first moment it opened its doors in August 2017, making it the first business bank in the UK to be completely ‘born in the cloud’. “Having the foresight of working with Microsoft from inception meant Redwood was given access to a secure, powerful digital infrastructure which Redwood Bank is the UK’s first business challenger bank to be completely born in the cloud. In early September, the firm was recognised in Wealth & Finance International Magazine’s Global Business Excellence Awards programme as the ‘Bank of the Year 2018: Best for SMEs’. Following this win, we spoke to Gary Wilkinson, CEO and Co-Founder of Redwood Bank, to find out more about their innovative approach to banking and financial services. A Business Bank Providing Best in Class Support to British Businesses 1810WF03 would not have been feasible to build in-house. For customers, this meant they had a simple, and yet highly secure platform, to use for all their banking needs. The Bank’s leadership team hand-picked expert partners to build and launch Redwood Bank. With the knowledge that 60% of tech companies were not ready for GDPR, Redwood knew using the cloud services meant it would become 100% compliant by the GDPR deadline in May 2018, which it was.” The conversation soon turns to the industry as a whole, and how Redwood are acting to further distinguish themselves from any potential competitors, regardless of their legacy or size. “The financial sector is very much dominated by the five major high street banks. They are household names so people are naturally attracted to them, but their scale and operating models make it difficult for them to deliver a personal bespoke service. Many small and medium sized companies require financial flexibility and personal service to support their business needs, which is one of the reasons why Redwood has flourished. Some SME borrowers may not fit the lending criteria that the major banks require, but challenger banks such as Redwood are able to help. Its model of personal service and manual underwriting means it can help businesses strengthen or diversify their business.” Finally, as we come to the end of the interview, the discussion turns to the future of Redwood Bank, as they look to solidify their position as the best bank for SMEs. “There are plans afoot to expand into more regional areas and the Bank is also looking to consider and launch several new business savings accounts and lending products. Redwood Bank will continue to focus on its unique business lending, leading the way in shaping its business model around people, businesses and local communities.” “We believe Redwood Bank represents the future of the banking sector. We’re committed to adapt, develop and evolve to the shifting demands of the modern world.”

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