Digital challenger CivilisedBank has appointed a former RBS and Lombard director to its board, as it prepares to enter the SME banking and asset finance markets next year.
Paul Marston, the fourth non-executive member to join CivilisedBank’s six-strong board, spent over a decade with the Royal Bank of Scotland group. He started out in 2004, representing the group’s interest on JCB Finance’s board, and later came to head the SME propositions at Lombard, RBS and NatWest Commercial Banking.
The CivilisedBank appointment is not his first stint in digital banking: he was managing director for the commercial finance division of peer-to-peer lender RateSetter between until this January. Between 2014 and 2015, he also managed Secure Trust Bank’s asset finance and property lending business.
“CivilisedBank is set to offer a proposition not currently being offered by the larger high street and online-only banks, making banking better for SMEs,” Marstons said. “I am really looking forward to bringing my experience to the board.”
The digital challenger bank-to-be, which first secured funding in 2015, is majority-backed by private equity firm Warwick partners, and plans to fund operations through both business and retail deposits.
Over the past year, the bank has focused on building up SME banking expertise, appointing James Heath – formerly of Close Brothers, ABN Amro UK and Cambridge & Counties – to its board in October. Its ranks also include chief executive officer Mark Stephens, a founding partner of Aldermore.
CivilisedBank had secured a full banking licence from the regulators last year, but unexpectedly gave it up in April. In a statement, the challenger bank said it wanted to focus on building its digital capabilities for the moment, and reapply for a licence later on.
It is currently operating on an “authorised with restriction” (AWR) basis, which allows it to undertake business within certain limits. The bank is still set on a full launch by 2019, and plans to complement digital operations with a relationship manager in every major UK city within five years of operations.