Renault Group is launching a UK retail savings bank through its financing brand RCI, offering high-interest-rate products in an attempt to attract funding.
RCI Bank opens on Monday with a digital account paying 1.5% as the first in a range of
savings products coming to market this year.
It comes as a number of new lenders attempt to break into retail banking, with Open Bank and Atom among four undergoing the application process.
RCI is seeking to gather deposits initially through its freedom savings account as it aims to diversify funding away from the money markets.
The account, accessed online with call-centre support, allows for investments of between £100-£1m, with no penalties, notice periods or tiered rates. Customers will link to it through their existing bank current accounts.
Steve Gowler, chief executive of RCI Bank, said: “We want rates to be attractive all the time, so we will not launch with an attractive offer and then cut back.”
The financing group, which has launched similar retail banking ventures in France, Germany and Austria over the past four years, is aiming for retail deposits to represent 30% of its funding, a target it hopes to achieve through expanding into the UK.
The bank is operating through a “passport system” as a UK branch of the French group. While RCI Bank is overseen by UK regulators, savers will be protected under the French guarantee system of up to €100,000 rather than the Financial Services Compensation Scheme which covers up to £85,000.