The Players

From juggernauts to newbies, here are 49 players in the evolving UK banking market.

These six juggernauts each have retail lending books in excess of £100 billion.

Name New Entrant Branches API First Specialty International

These nine middle-weights each have total lending books in excess of £10 billion:

Name New Entrant Branches API First(2) Specialty International
Paragon Bank
Virgin Money
Coventry B.S.
Skipton B.S.
Yorkshire B.S.

These ten “small” players have total lending estimated between £1 billion and £10 billion:

Name New Entrant Branches API First(2) Specialty International
C Hoare & Co.
National Counties
One Savings Bank
Tesco Bank
Sainsbury’s Bank
Metro Bank
Retirement Advantage

These 20+ micro players are the most varied. All are estimated to have balance sheets less than £1 billion:

Name New Entrant Branches API First(2) Specialty International
Arbuthnot Latham
Ikano Bank
Hampshire Trust
Belmont Green
Cambridge & Counties
Starling Bank
Atom Bank
Funding Circle
Fidor Bank
Car Finance Co.


  1. Excludes:
    • private banking brands and services owned by other banks already on the list
    • other large international banks most of which offer retail banking services for high net worth individuals in the UK
    • pure FX service providers such as Travelex and Transferwise
    • most small building societies
  2. “API-first” is used to here refer to a business in which the business infrastructure is designed around a set of core business functions exposed via RESTful API endpoints. These endpoints are then used to build customer apps, as well as internal processes and systems. By contrast, incumbent banks have a patchwork of legacy IT systems which are largely incompatible with modern technology. Similarly, incumbent banks have processes built around inefficient human resource structures. Together, these factors make it very difficult for incumbent banks to streamline their businesses, or to serve small customers well.
  3. HSBC accounts are somewhat opaque. It is difficult to isolate the size of UK consumer banking.
  4. Although RBS still has business lines operating outside the UK, RBS has been withdrawing from international markets. It’s retail business is almost exclusively based in the UK.
  5. Nationwide is the largest building society in the UK and focuses exclusively on retail customers, particularly residential mortgages.
  6. Lloyds has some legacy international business, all of which is being discontinued.
  7. Paragon Bank is new, but Paragon Group has been a specialty mortgage lender since 1985. The size category for Paragon is based upon Paragon Group for 2015.
  8. Although Handelsbanken lists its offices as “branches”, Handelsbanken does not typically maintain a high street presence UK. Rather, they serve business customers from offices which are not accessible to the public.
  9. Virgin Money is principally a rebranding of Northern Rock, which dates back to 1850.
  10. Although TSB is a revived brand, neither Lloyds which had owned it, nor Sabadell which currently owns it, are new entrants to the banking market.
  11. TSB is owned by Sabadell, but TSB retail customers may not have privileges across the international Sabadell network.
  12. Although the bulk of the Co-op’s business is mainstream banking, it provides special services and advantageous rates for cooperative and community businesses.
  13. C Hoare & Co. is the oldest extant private banks in the UK. It is estimated to have £1-10 billion in deposits based upon, 10,000 customers.
  14. Although National Counties is not specialty lender, like most building societies is has a focus on residential mortgages. National Counties has a narrow geographic focus on the Epsom area.
  15. Kent Reliance through which One Savings Bank has a high street presence, dates back to 1847. The JC Flowers-led investment in 2011 created One Savings Bank.
  16. Although Tesco Bank has a growing residential mortgage portfolio, both Tesco and Sainsburys banks were founded in the late 1990s and maintain a focus on unsecured retail customer lending.
  17. Ibid
  18. Aldermore began as a specialty corporate lender, but has since diversified.
  19. Although Shawbrook in its current form was founded in 2011, parts of the business, including asset finance from Singers Asset Finance, were part of the chain of acquisitions by RBS Private Equity in building Shawbrook from Whiteaway Laidlaw sold by Manchester Building Society.
  20. Shawbrook remains largely focused on business customers for commercial mortgages, asset finance, and other secured lending.
  21. Retirement Advantage size based upon £2.3bn of assets. Although Retirement Advantage has its origins in 1852 as Marine and General Mutual Life Assurance Society, its current business focus began c. 2008.
  22. Wonga size based upon their 2014 results Group lending level of £1.3bn. 2015 results not available as of 3 May 2016.
  23. Wonga currently operates as specialty “payday” lender in the UK, Canada, South Africa, Poland, and Spain.
  24. Arbuthnot Latham is a private bank associated with the Arbuthnot investment management business.
  25. Ikano Bank is part of the IKEA group of companies owned by the Kamprad family. The Bank focuses on providing credit to retailers for customer purchases.
  26. There is relatively little public information about Hampshire Trust Bank since the MBO in 2014. It has focused on secured business lending since 1977. It may add consumer retail banking as well.
  27. Belmont Green has not yet launched, so details to be confirmed. It is expected to be a specialty mortgage lender.
  28. Oaknorth is a specialty business and property lender which began lending in September 2015. No size data is available as of 13 May 2016.
  29. Cambridge & Counties is a local lender in Cambridgeshire owned in part Trinity Hall College (Cambridge University) and the Cambridge local government pension scheme. It intially focused on SME lending and commercial mortgages, but has since diversified to include residential mortgages.
  30. Starling Bank has yet to launch. It is expected to be an API-first bank similar to Atom, but details to be confirmed. As of 3 May 2016.
  31. Tandem Bank has yet to launch. Although Tandem has generated much publicity through its crowdfunding campaign, pub-stunts, etc., there are few details available as to its offerings and positioning. As of 3 May 2016.
  32. Although Atom Bank is new, BBVA by which has been acquired is not.
  33. It is expected that Atom Bank will be “API-First”, but cannot be confirmed until launch.
  34. Although Atom Bank is owned by BBVA, it is not expected to provide customers access to the international BBVA network.
  35. Funding Circle size based upon their Press Release accessed 3 May 2016.
  36. Funding Circle is currently a specialty lender focused on small businesses and sole traders.
  37. Funding Circle currently operates in the UK, Netherlands, Germany, Spain, the Netherlands, and the United States.
  38. Holvi is not yet available in the UK as of 3 May 2016, but expects to enter the UK market. It is expected to continue to focus on business banking.
  39. Number 26 is not yet available in the UK as of 3 May 2016, but expects to enter the UK market. It currently offers accounts to customers in Austria, France, Greece, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Spain and Slovakia.
  40. Crowdcube size based upon £158million raised on Crowdcube accessed 3 May 2016. Although Crowdcube is not a bank, it fulfills a bank-like function for certain capital raising.
  41. Seedrs size based upon £100million raised accessed 12 May 2016. Like Crowdcube, although Seedrs is not a bank, it fulfills a bank-like function for certain capital raising.
  42. Fidor Bank is a German-based mobile-first bank which entered the UK in late 2015. In Germany they offer business and personal banking. In the UK they have yet to offer business banking as of 12 May 2016. Fidor size based upon their 2014 results cited in a February 2015 press release. No further results are available following the delisting from the Frankfurt Stock Exchange in summer 2015.
  43. LendInvest size based upon £627 million raised as of 3 May 2016 (from LendInvest).
  44. Masthaven has yet to launch as of 3 May 2016. It is expected to be an online-only UK specialty mortgage lender.
  45. Mondo is an API-first bank focused on current accounts for millenial iOS users, with plans to expand to Android. As of 3 May 2016.
  46. Monese is an API-first bank focused on current accounts for millenial, migrant (not UK native) Android users, with plans to expand to iOS. As of 3 May 2016.
  47. Secco is very early stage, with few details available.
  48. Although Squirrel is not a bank, the basic services it provides could be provided by a bank. Squirrel focuses on employees who have difficulty managing their own money, and addresses some issues in common with those which motivated the founders of Mondo.
  49. Somewhat like Squirrel, Pockit is not a bank. Rather, it is a prepaid credit / debit card which might be used like a bank account.
  50. Like Pockit and Squirrel, Curve is not a bank. Rather, it is a card of cards, initially for freelancers and the self-employed.
  51. The Car Finance Company acts both as broker and principal in financing cars for poor-credit borrowers.