Redwood Bank first in UK to put core banking tech on Microsoft Azure cloud
Redwood Bank, which describes itself as UK’s first 100% “born in the cloud” bank, has gone on the record about its technology and providers.
The bank uses Microsoft Azure cloud, which hosts the DPR Consulting core banking system (as exclusively reported by FinTech Futures last year), the Kentico content management system (CMS) and marketing platform, as well as a range of Microsoft’s solutions, including Microsoft Office 365, Microsoft Intune to manage remote corporate and personal devices, and Microsoft Sharepoint for non-technical end users to manage documents and interactions.
CSI (formerly Niu Solutions) provided Azure infrastructure management and security services, New Signature provided Office 365 managed services, Newton IT supplied hardware and telephony, and Distinction was responsible for website design and monitoring.
This is the first instance of a “pure Azure implementation” of DPR’s core banking solution.
“From its inception, Redwood actively undertook to minimise its ‘on premise’ IT infrastructure and successfully operate with a modest hardware footprint, limited to end user devices and network infrastructure,” the bank states.
“This cloud-based outsourcing strategy enables Redwood to implement sophisticated digital solutions, without the need to build a sizeable in-house IT team.”
Gary Wilkinson, co-founder and CEO of Redwood, says the team achieved “one of the fastest ‘licence-to-launches’ in UK banking history”, which was achieved thanks to the cloud environment and would not have been feasible to build in-house.
The bank launched just 12 months after submitting its banking licence application to the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), and after a mobilisation period of just four months following receipt of an initial, restricted banking licence.
“In launching a new business bank in a highly regulated environment, we needed to take advantage of latest technology to build a secure and cost-effective banking infrastructure. We decided to partner, wherever possible, with external specialist software, technology and infrastructure providers, to acquire high levels of expertise,” he explains.
“The team saw significant benefits in adopting a 100% cloud-based strategy” – the result is becoming the first licensed bank in the UK to “fully utilise” Microsoft’s cloud platform.
Focus and ownership
Redwood says its “mission is to offer simple and transparent loans and savings accounts to SMEs, focusing on providing simple and well designed business mortgages and business savings accounts, backed up by personalised service and efficient digital systems”.
Its HQ is in Letchworth, Hertfordshire and it also has a regional office in Warrington, Cheshire.
Redwood is owned by private investors and by the UK local authority, Warrington Borough Council. It is believed that this is the first time that a UK local authority has made such a direct investment in a licensed bank.
“This innovative financial partnership is helping to stimulate economic growth, both in the heartland regions in which it focuses, including Warrington and the North West as part of the UK’s Northern Powerhouse region,” the bank says. It is quick to add, however, that it also offers products and services to businesses nationally across the UK too.
To chart its journey and the results so far, Redwood has produced a white paper, “Redwood Bank: Born in the Cloud”, which can be viewed here (PDF file).
“We are proud of our achievements in building and launching our new bank, with a small internal team and within challenging timescales,” Wilkinson concludes, “so we think it would be beneficial to our customers, partners, colleagues and other stakeholders, to share our story.”
Our comprehensive article on UK’s challenger banks and their tech can be found here.