New Challenger Bank Launch: Masthaven Opens Its Digital Doors For Business

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New retail challenger bank, Masthaven, launches today, offering an alternative to the one-size-fits-all approach of conventional banks by focusing on clearly identified customer needs that it believes aren’t being met by traditional lenders. From outset the bank will offer savings and lending products, saying it is committed to offering what people want, not just what is available.

At the heart of the bank is a people business – Masthaven is the UK’s only owner-managed challenger bank with a partnership model, which at launch sees 80% of employees already shareholders in the business. Access to this expert team, combined with straightforward digital services, means Masthaven will offer what it calls human digital banking.

In a world of traditional banking, where customers must tick boxes and match algorithms, Masthaven’s team of specialists use smart technology to help customers and intermediaries either hit their savings goals or make lending decisions with personalised products.  Having been awarded the first 2016 retail banking licence this  April, Masthaven has spent the subsequent months forming a strong team approaching 100 people, building its technology platform and road-testing its products with customers. 

Commenting on the bank’s launch, Jon Hall, Managing Director, Masthaven, said: “Today marks the beginning of an exciting new chapter in our journey, and 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.”

The Economic Secretary to the Treasury, Simon Kirby said: “We want our financial services industry to be the most competitive and innovative in the world, delivering greater choice and value for customers. New digital banks entering the market are a key part of this vision and help to cement the UK’s leading position as a global FinTech hub. I am delighted that Masthaven is now open for business and look forward to seeing it flourish as a new player in retail banking.”

Shaped around customers’ individual needs, using technology that makes banking easy and convenient, Masthaven offers personalised products and exceptional service through its UK-based team of experts.  Its platform allows people to go from opening an account to earning interest in just minutes. 

Its Flexible Term Saver savings account challenges convention by allowing savers to determine when their savings account matures to the day - anytime between six months and five years.  Designed for customers who may be saving for key events - such as the holiday of a lifetime, a wedding, or university fees - 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. 

Masthaven, which has been a specialist lender since 2004, will launch into the mortgage market in early 2017, continuing to support homebuyers who may not meet conventional banks’ requirements. At outset the bank is offering Bridging lending - a flexible solution for people who are living between properties or those looking to downsize, as children fly the nest or following a life change such as divorce. To help plug the nation’s housing gap, it also offers Development finance to help SME housebuilders and self-builders. 

As part of its commitment to challenging the status quo and keeping people at the heart of the bank, Masthaven has given share options in the business to its employees. The new bank will be majority-owned by founder and majority shareholder Andrew Bloom.

Andrew Bloom, Founder & CEO, Masthaven, said: “We are determined to help more people access financial products that will truly meet their needs. We have established a fantastic and dedicated team of experts to get the bank to launch and we are now very much looking forward to working with customers and brokers to show them what we have created. As we look forward, there are many new opportunities for businesses like ours to evolve and grow and support more people in the future.”

  • The Chairman is Peter Harrison, ex-CEO of the UK Financial Services Practice at KPMG, Chairman of the Audit Committee of a FTSE 250 Company and ex-Chair of the Audit Committee for CIT Bank Ltd.
  • Andrew Bloom is CEO. After working for KPMG and Strand Hanson he founded Masthaven Finance in 2004. Andrew has built Masthaven into an award-winning mortgage, development finance and bridging finance provider.
  • Managing Director is Jon Hall who joined the business in December 2014. Previously Mr Hall was Chief Executive of Saffron Building Society where he grew the mutual's ranking from 31st to 13th largest in the UK and the largest in Eastern England.
  • Three Non-Executive Directors join Masthaven’s Board: Anne Gunther, previously Chief Executive of Norwich & Peterborough Building Society and Standard Life Bank; Ashley Machin, who most recently was Chief Digital Officer at TSB Bank and Michael Baker, FD of Joint Ventures at the William Pears Group.

Masthaven launched as a new retail challenger bank in November 2016 and generated coverage in numerous publications including Financial TimesCity AM,  The TelegraphThis is Money, and Mortgage Introducer.