In 2008 and 2009 Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) received financial support from the Government. As a result, they agreed to help increase competition in business banking in the UK and consequently reduce their market share. The original plan to set-up a new bank did not go ahead, but instead a proposal called the Business Banking Switch was approved in 2017 by the European Commission. The scheme has several “participating banks” which have been selected by an independent body called Banking Competition Remedies Limited. There are currently ten banks in the scheme, Arbuthnot Latham & Co Ltd., TSB, Starling Bank, Metro Bank, Santander UK, Handelsbanken, Hampden & Co., Habib Bank Zurich Plc., The Co-Operative Bank and Clydesdale & Yorkshire Bank.
Participating banks offer deals and rewards to eligible customers who wish to switch their business current account. The participants are known as challenger banks, which is a term sometimes used for smaller banks who are not a traditional big high street bank. So for example, Lloyds, HSBC and Barclays would not be able to participate in the scheme.
The Business Banking Switch was launched in February 2019 and was expected to last for around eighteen months but some of the offers from the challenger banks may only be available for a shorter time period. Financial inducements are being made available to encourage businesses to switch their banking. A simple switching process has been introduced and further details of the scheme can be found on the RBS website.