Robots meet humans in latest challenger bank launch

Written by Lisa Stanley Mann on 1st December 2016

We live our lives online, or so they say. But some of us might still be a teensy-weensy bit wary about entrusting our money to a purely digital bank.

The UK’s newest challenger bank, Masthaven, which launched this week, attempts to address this reticence, with what it calls: ‘human digital banking’.

This means it will offer straightforward digital services supported by – and this is the bit we particularly like – a partnership-owned structure. In fact, 80 per cent of Masthaven’s almost 100 employees already own shares in the business.

Rather than having a set range of products, it will offer a layer of personalisation, meaning customers should have a better opportunity to achieve their savings goals.

For example, its flexible term saver account will allow savers to determine when their savings account matures, to the day – anytime between six months and five years from when they open the account. It offers competitive rates based on Masthaven’s fixed-rate products but savers will have access to their money when they need it; giving them the advantage of a fixed-saving rate for the precise timeframe to suit their lifestyle.

The bank is planning to launch a full range of mortgage products in 2017.

This approach means that rather than shoe-horning customers into products that do not necessarily work for them, the products are built by and for the customers. The results will certainly be interesting and help to overcome the same-book-different-covers problem with the rest of financial services products, from investments to insurance.

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Choosing a financial product can feel like buying the same book with a different cover

We recently wrote about the lack of choice and personalisation when it comes to selecting responsible investment funds.

Jon Hall, Masthaven’s managing director and previously CEO of Saffron Building Society, says:  “I am delighted to open the digital doors of this fantastic new challenger bank.  We know everyone has different financial needs and that’s why we are providing products that our customers want, not just products that banks have always had available. Our unique blend of human digital banking combines intelligent people who really care, with technology to ensure both customers and brokers can interact with us in the way that suits them. We are proud to be part of the banking revolution – looking beyond convention to give individuals what they want from their bank.”

Masthaven Bank has grown out of Masthaven Finance, founded in 2004 as a mortgage, development finance and bridging finance provider.

All Masthaven savings products are covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme www.fscs.org.uk.