Investment firm Castle Trust to become UK challenger bank
Investment firm Castle Trust has revealed its invitation by UK regulators to apply for a banking licence, calling it the “natural next step” after telling customers of its intentions to become a bank last year.
“Assuming our application follows the standard timeline, we expect to become a bank in spring 2020,” the firm says in a statement.
The firm confirms it has been “working closely” with the UK’s Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
Founded in 2012, the company now has more than 22,000 customers and says it wants to become “a different kind of bank” – what kind of “different” is not specified.
“Castle Trust has always been proud of being different, and now we’re in the process of becoming a different kind of bank,” says CEO Martin Bischoff.
“We’re very excited about the opportunities that come with a banking licence to better help our customers achieve their financial goals.”
In a bid to broaden its product range, the licence will allow the soon-to-become bank to offer a competitive instant access account.
The firm assures current customers that the same interest rates will apply on their investments, or ‘Fortress Bonds’, but that it will consult them on the opportunity to reclassify them as bank deposits.
Ahead of its January 2020 financial statement, the firm says the six months up to March 2019 saw it make a profit after tax of £1.2 million.