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Former Barclays directors to launch UK challenger bank

Two former Barclays executives are hoping to launch a new British bank targeting young professionals.


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Pennyworth, a self-styled “digital bank”, will target aspiring affluent professionals and middle managers, having launched its pre-application process to become an authorised UK bank in March 2020.


Pennyworth was founded by former Barclays’ managing director Jeremy Takle and Ben Harvey, Barclays’ former head of product for the US digital consumer bank. Takle will take the role of chief executive officer and Harvey the role of chief product officer at the new bank.


“Banking is broken and our mission is to fix it by making it easier for busy people with complex needs to achieve their financial goals,” Takle said in a media statement.


“Traditional banks continue to exploit busy people by providing poor value, impersonal service, and the first wave of ‘neobanks’ have failed to break that inertia because they are too busy battling to win current accounts that most people don’t want to switch.”


Pennyworth has started recruiting individuals who are interested in opening accounts, aiming to sign up 1,000 participants who will be granted access to the bank’s mobile banking app in the first wave of beta testing in early 2021.


The challenger is already advertising savings and borrowing rates on its website, which it claims will be more favourable than those currently on offer to customers with ‘Premier’ accounts from Barclays, HSBC, and NatWest.


“Jeremy and I have built banks and digital banking services together across Europe and north America, and Pennyworth’s customers will benefit from those experiences without even having to switch banks,” Harvey added.


“We are building a digital bank for ‘aspiring affluent’ young professionals, busy people climbing the corporate ladder with complex financial needs, who would benefit hugely from personalised service and financial planning insights, but who struggle to access them in their traditional form.”

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