“We’re bringing banking back to business!” That was the proud claim of Greg Ellison, Capital International Group CEO, at the public launch of Capital International’s new digital corporate bank on 24th June.
A guest list of over 100 people including the Isle of Man’s Lieutenant Governor, the Chief Minister and the Treasury Minister as well as many clients and intermediaries joined a number of the Capital team to celebrate the bank’s launch after a four and a half year journey to create the island’s first ever digital bank and the first new bank to be launched on island in over 30 years.
Having been awarded the full Class 1(2) banking licence from the Isle of Man Financial Services Authority on 27th May 2021, the Capital team has now transitioned from project mode to business as usual and is rolling out the banking proposition to both new and existing clients. The Class 1(2) licence focuses on corporates and high net worth individuals, it is not available to retail clients as there is no depositors’ compensation scheme.
The bank boasts a number of unique capabilities that make it different from the traditional providers of corporate banking. Back in early 2017, Greg undertook 65 meetings in 8 different countries with fiduciary companies, wealth advisers, asset managers, eGaming companies and other professional services firms to learn what their frustrations were with their current banking providers to form the cornerstone of the business plan for the new bank.
The first thing that he learned, loud and clear, was the need to make it a lot easier and quicker to open a bank account. Greg heard many examples of firms submitting hundreds of pages of documentation to a bank only to hear weeks later that the application was ‘outside of the bank’s risk appetite’. Central to Capital’s banking offering is a digital client onboarding experience. With keying time of between half an hour and an hour, depending on the complexity of the application, the case is then reviewed by Capital’s team and for standard risk accounts the account will be open within a couple of days and for higher risk accounts it will take about a week.
What’s more, before the full application is keyed, there is a 200 second pre-application online section which will give an immediate ‘no’ if a potential case is outside of Capital’s policy. For those cases that meet the bank’s onboarding criteria, they will receive a guideline to account fees and the user can proceed from there to complete the online account application.
Naturally, Capital International Bank is a new bank and doesn’t have a credit rating. To give peace of mind to corporates that have larger balances, the business has created an off-balance sheet fiduciary account. This means that balances greater than £250,000 can be moved through Capital’s online platform, VELTA, to be placed by Capital between one and three highly rated external banks. When the client wishes to pay the money out, it can be brought back into the Capital account and paid away.
Other unique features include the functionality to set mandates and authorisations online for account opening, payments and foreign exchange in minutes, to be able to trade foreign exchange up to £500,000 online with a guaranteed price for 60 seconds and core bank accounts are available in 20 currencies including GBP, USD, EUR, HKD and many others.
The user interface for the bank is unique and has been built by the Capital team under the leadership of Chief Technology Officer Jerry Bowskill. The launch product is just a start for Capital and Jerry and his team will be managing monthly releases to VELTA which, much like an IOS update on an iPhone, will bring new functionality and service improvements as the business matures.
The Client Engagement Team has a monthly Voice of the Client forum in place which will consider feedback from the bank’s client base and will prioritise any improvements into the regular VELTA releases in coordination with Jerry.
The bank has been Capital’s biggest investment in its 25 year history coming in at over £13m which goes to demonstrate the belief that the company has in its new offering. Furthermore, across the Group, Capital have added around 100 new, high quality jobs in the Isle of Man in the last five years. Central to being able to fund this level of investment has been the ongoing growth in its investment business and South African offices in recent years.
It is early days in the bank’s history, but its very existence is a great testament to the public private sector cooperation between the financial services sector, the regulator and the Isle of Man Government. We look forward to being able to serve our existing investment, platform and treasury clients further in the years ahead.