Former Leeds Building Society CEO joins challenger bank

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IAN WARD, the former chief executive of Leeds Building Society, has been appointed vice chairman at challenger bank Charter Court Financial Services.

He will oversee the savings proposition at Charter Savings Bank, which yesterday announced the approval of its banking licence by the Prudential Regulatory Authority.

Charter Savings will not have branches and will offer services online and by telephone.

Bigger banks have been closing branches as customers move online and not having a high street presence significantly reduces start-up costs for new banks.

Charter Savings will be covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, which protects deposits up to £85,000.

Mr Ward told The Yorkshire Post: “It has great potential. I’m very confident it will be very successful. They are doing everything very fairly as far as the customer is concerned.”

Ian Lonergan, chief executive, said Charter Savings will launch retail savings products in March, starting with fixed-rate bonds.

Parent company Charter Court Financial Services was founded in 2008 and offers mortgages.

The award of a banking licence comes after regulators made it easier for new banks to launch, cutting the length of time it takes to apply for a licence and lowering the amount of capital new banks must hold.

Politicians and regulators are keen to see challengers appear to break the grip of Lloyds Banking Group, Royal Bank of Scotland, Barclays and HSBC - which account for more than three-quarters of lending to individuals and small businesses.

Some MPs say a lack of competition contributed to the financial crisis of 2007 to 2009 and subsequent scandals.

Charter Savings has become the third new bank to be granted a licence since the new rules were introduced, following Paragon and Scoban.

Newcomers including Metro Bank and Aldermore have already become established.

Mr Ward led Leeds Building Society through the financial crisis before stepping down in 2011.