经济学人:新兴银行 扰乱时机正当时
日期:2015-01-23 16:38



New banks
Ripe for disruption
A rush of new entrants hope to shake up banking
“I PROMISE to open a bank account for a British citizen in just two minutes”, says Nazzim Ishaque brightly. With a background in IT, banking and asset management, he is submitting plans to the regulators to start a new bank called Lintel; the two-minute pledge is one of his selling points. Mr Ishaque reckons that he can do better than the existing banks, and is putting plenty of his own money where his mouth is, as part of the £5m ($7.5m) start-up cost. He hopes to start doing business early next year.
Nazzim Ishaque明确表示:“我承诺可以两分钟内为英国人民开通银行账户。”他从事过互联网、银行和资产管理行业,现向多家监管机构提交新建银行Lintel的计划方案,卖点之一就是两分钟开户的承诺。Ishaque认为他可以比现有银行做得更好,而且为了更具说服力,拿出自己的大量资金投放到总数500万欧元(750万美元)的启动资金中。他希望明年年初开始营业。

Since April 2013 three new British banks have appeared and three outfits have taken over old licences. Martin Stewart, who doles out banking licences at the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA), part of the Bank of England, says people are now applying to open banks in “unprecedented numbers”. Four applicants are likely to start operating this year, he says, with a further four or so probably coming to market next year. At least as far as the consumer is concerned, banking could be on the verge of quite a shake-up.
Since March 2013 the process to apply for a license has been streamlined. The PRA claims that a new bank can be up and running just six months after final authorisation. The capital requirements for the start-ups are lower than they used to be. And many of the new entrants are acting like classic entrepreneurs. They work out how the existing banks are failing customers, then look for niches, whether in products, customers or technology. All are encouraged by the growing willingness of consumers to switch from one bank to another (see chart), stimulated in part by regulations designed to make this easier.
Mr Ishaque's niche will be immigrants, both students on short-stay visas and longer-term economic migrants. They are treated “extremely badly” by existing banks, he claims. He will offer a full range of products, in many languages, digitally and also at a few branches, to be located at the most convenient places for his target customers—such as the railway stations in London that serve Heathrow and Gatwick airports.
Atom Bank's niche, by contrast, is technological. It will be the first British bank to be digital-only, with all transactions done through smartphones and tablets, via an app. This ought to lower the bank's overheads. Set up by Mark Mullen, a former head of branchless bank First Direct, and Anthony Thomson, co-founder of another of the new wave of “challenger” banks, Metro, Atom Bank should start operating in the second half of this year. (Metro Bank itself, which started in 2010, is following a quite different road: it is opening new branches almost as quickly as traditional banks like Lloyds, RBS, Barclays and HSBC are closing them.)
The banking sector is currently the subject of a review by the Competition and Markets Authority, an official watchdog. Most of the new entrants would agree with the authority's criticism that some features of the current banking market “prevent, restrict or distort competition”, in relation to both personal customers and small businesses. The entrepreneurs also claim that their innovative new products and technologies will help to address some of those criticisms. Mr Mullen, for instance, attacks what he calls the opaque pricing of many current accounts: a selling point of Atom Bank, he claims, is that all its pricing will be utterly transparent. “We will drive change,” he says.
银行业成为竞争与市场管理局这家官方监察机构目前的评议对象。该机构评论称,现在金融市场的某些特征“阻碍、限制或扭曲”了对个人客户和小型企业的竞争,对此大部分新兴银行都予以赞同。同时,银行创办人声称其新开发的创意产品和技术将有助于解决评论指出的一些问题。马兰指责他称之为诸多活期存款不透明定价的行为。原子银行的一个卖点是其所有定价完全透明。他表示:“我们将引领变革。”译者:石海霞 校对:邵夏沁


1.hope to 希望

I hope to God they are paying you well.

The organisers hope to raise as much as £6m for charity.

2.apply for 申请

Investors can apply for a package of shares at a set price.

She graduated with high enough marks to apply for university.

3.agree with 同意;赞同

The dampness of the forest did not agree with him physically.

You look great, Brian. The Bahamas certainly agree with you.