Tide and ClearBank apply for £60m BCR grants to help SMEs across the UK

ClearBank and Tide, a pair of UK-based business banking platforms, have announced today that they are working together to help UK SMEs turn recovery from the coronavirus crisis into a growth opportunity.

In collaboration with Tide, ClearBank has applied for two grants from Pool E of the Capability and Innovation Fund, worth £25m and £35m, that form part of the £775m RBS Alternative Remedies Package.

The funding will be used to provide financial support and products to help SMEs address the challenges they will face in the post-coronavirus and post-Brexit economic environment and to seize on the opportunities that arise.

The bid blends ClearBank’s world-class payments infrastructure and Tide’s unrivalled digital banking platform with the aim of offering a genuine alternative to the high street banks.

The application to the Banking Competition Remedies will provide help to SMEs in the current challenging environment and help them to capitalise on the Government’s ‘levelling up’ agenda.  The application will support SMEs in meeting the accelerated demand for digital services and enable them to become more environmentally sustainable.

The application is also intended to address issues in the Open Banking agenda and  to help it work as intended. ClearBank and Tide recognise that the available funding can make a real impact in helping SMEs emerge stronger from the crisis. In the current environment, the bid for Pool E of the Capabilities and Innovation Fund will build upon the market share gains ClearBank and Tide have delivered over the last 18 months.

Charles McManus, Group CEO of ClearBank, said: “Driving competition in business banking is now more important than ever, helping businesses survive this period of uncertainty and thrive in the long-term. By securing additional funding from Pool E, we’ll be able to harness the agility and efficiency we have shown so far in our on-target Pool A delivery and have even more of an impact, accelerating the provision of services to SME businesses.

“Unlike traditional banks, our platform-based approach provides not only choice for SMEs but also rich opportunities for product partners. We have the capability to deliver deep integrations with third parties quickly and at scale and by committing to integrate with at least 25 SME partners, there will be significant opportunities for innovative SMEs to provide curated, value-add solutions.

“We believe these partnerships, combined with a number of powerful new tools, will further enable us to offer a truly compelling alternative to the high street banks.”

Oliver Prill, CEO of Tide, said: “Competition and choice in the business banking space is more important than ever and needs to be addressed urgently. Switching accounts has been made unnecessarily sticky, with old barriers remaining and the Government’s response to the coronavirus crisis reinforcing them. For example, repayments under the critical Bounce Back Loan Scheme will link millions of SMEs to the big five for many years. ClearBank’s world-class payments infrastructure combined with Tide’s unrivalled business banking platform mean that we can develop innovative ways to get around this, particularly by using Open Banking in the way it was intended.

“As well as removing friction, we need to continue to provide powerful attractors as an incentive for SMEs to switch to Tide. Crisis recovery can turn threats into opportunities. We have identified the key areas in which SMEs are threatened and have world-class solutions that will allow them to get back on their feet and come out stronger.

“We are delighted to be continuing to work with ClearBank, who share Tide’s values and ambition to support small businesses at this very difficult time. ClearBank and Tide are fully on track to deliver on our Pool A commitments and see Pool E as a crucial opportunity to push those commitments even further to have an even greater impact on the market.

“We are ready to get started immediately, have a laser focus on the small business market, state of the art technology and a strong base position with almost 4% market share.”