Japanese technology giant Glory backs shared banking hubs startup OneBanks

Japanese technology group Glory is to become a cornerstone investor in OneBanks, a UK startup which has developed a low cost pop up kiosk which could replace bank branches in towns and communities where conventional bank branches have all but disappeared.

With banks progressively moving away from the High Street, the idea of creating shared banking hubs to maintain localised access to financial services has been gaining momentum.

The investment in OneBanks comes as UK banks extend ongoing trials of shared banking hubs in South Lanarkshire and Essex in the face of impending legislation which will give the Financial Conduct Authority the power to run the rule over future branch closures.

OneBanks is promising to provide bank-agnostic in-branch services – such as cash withdrawals, deposits, payments, and face-to-face support – for people and SMEs in communities abansoned by traditional bricks and mortar bank outlets.

The startup’s quick to assemble pop-up kiosks use Open banking technology from a number of tech partners, including Endava, Trust Stamp, Nuapay, NCR and Accenture business, to provide immediate access to financial accounts from multiple banks. As a shared facility, the cost is split between individual financial institutions.

OneBanks in December launched its first pilot kiosk in the town of Denny, Scotland, which has had no local bank branch for two years. The fully staffed kiosk, which has created seven new roles for local people, will be open from 7am until 10pm Monday to Friday and 9am to 6pm on weekends.

Withe investment from Glory in the bag, OneBanks intends to begin full UK nationwide roll-out, expanding to 15 locations by the end of 2022 and 150 by 2025.

OneBanks has previously secured capital from ‘angel’ backers including Rupert Pennant-Rea, former deputy governor of the Bank (Finance & Banking Trends) of England, and Baroness Bottomley, the former Conservative cabinet minister.

On completion of the transaction, Glory will become the lead external investor with a significant minority of the enlarged capital and Javed Anjum, Glory’s head of Software Strategy & Innovation will join the OneBanks Board of Directors.

Also on completion, Jonathan Hughes will assume the role of executive chairman of OneBanks. Hughes was previously ]part of the team that turned around Worldpay whilst it was under private equity ownership, led the creation of Tyl by NatWest, co-founded Pollinate International, and was a Partner at Bain & Company.

Duncan Cockburn, founder and CEO of OneBanks, says: “We see a huge opportunity for us as an independent player enabling an efficient service model which will allow banks to offer better basic banking facilities in communities where they are needed. To have a leading global provider of banking technology solutions for the financial industry buying in so enthusiastically into our vision is immensely valuable – particularly at this stage in our development.”

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