You may not have heard of Shawbrook Bank - they’re not based on the high street, so it may have been a banking option you have missed. However, if you are looking for alternative solutions to those offered by mainstream British banks, Shawbrook is worth considering.
In this article, we look into who the bank is, how it sets itself apart from its competitors, what products it offers and, ultimately, if it is any good.
Who is Shawbrook Bank?
Shawbrook Bank was founded in Manchester, United Kingdom. Originally known as Whiteaway Laidlaw Bank, the bank was set up to answer the gap in the market for small and medium-sized businesses/enterprises (SMEs) which needed a lender for their specific circumstances. As a result, the company was established in 2011 as a specialist savings and lending bank.
Nowadays, the bank offers a range of products and services, including personal and business loans, savings accounts, commercial mortgages and asset finance. The last two are aimed at business finance, whereas its savings accounts and personal loans are for personal finances - the part of the bank which we will focus on here.
How does Shawbrook Bank set itself apart from other banks?
Shawbrook Bank sets itself apart through its customer-centric approach. It was established to understand its clients' unique needs and provide them with flexible and personalised financial solutions. As a result, the bank always aims to build long-term relationships with its customers, offering dedicated relationship managers and high-quality customer service.
To do so, Shawbrook Bank has a strong commitment to responsible lending and conducts thorough credit assessments to ensure the affordability and suitability of its customers. These checks are part of its risk management, but the bank's operations are supported by advanced technology, allowing for efficient and streamlined processes, making customers’ lives so much easier.
What savings accounts does Shawbrook Bank offer?
Shawbrook Bank has a range of savings accounts through its personal finance arm. They are all designed to meet the diverse needs of their customers, even though it doesn’t offer current accounts as traditional banks do. Importantly, all its various types of savings products come with competitive interest rates. As of July 2023, these were the savings accounts it has on offer:
Easy access savings accounts
These accounts allow customers to deposit and withdraw funds without any restrictions, providing flexibility and convenience. Shawbrook currently offers a variable interest rate on its easy-access products, which can be opened individually or with another person. You can do so with next working day access if you need to take money out. Interest is paid either monthly or yearly - depending on what works best for you.
Shawbrook Bank offers fixed-rate bonds with terms ranging from 9 months to seven years - which is great as it means you are likely to find one that works for your financial circumstances. That’s crucial, given that fixed-rate bonds lock your money away for a set period of time. For budgeting purposes, fixed-rate bonds can help you plan for the future thanks to the guaranteed rate of interest for the specified term. Plus, given the current rising interest rate environment, savers are being rewarded far better than they have been in years.
Shawbrook’s fixed-rate bonds also have much higher maximum balances than ISAs, so they can be a good place to put your cash if you have used up your ISA allowance this year (or feel the interest rate offered is worth the tax you will pay on gains.)
Notice accounts are products which sit somewhere between an easy-access account and a fixed-rate bond. As the name suggests, they require customers to give advance notice before making a withdrawal. With Shawbrook, their notice period accounts can range from requiring 45 to 120 days for notice, depending on the specific account. Because they aren’t as flexible as easy-access accounts, Shawbrook offers higher interest rates on these products. At the moment, you can open one with a minimum balance of £1,000 and a maximum balance of £500,000.
Cash ISAs are popular in the UK thanks to being a tax-efficient way to save. Shawbrook’s Cash ISAs are either easy access or fixed term. The fixed-term products range from 1 - 7 years, so work similarly to a bond but with that added tax-free benefit. You can continue to add to your Cash ISA with Shawbrook, so don’t need to use up your ISA allowance in one go.
All of the above savings accounts will have their own terms and conditions. Remember, before you open any of them (or other financial products), it’s crucial to be clear on the exact terms and interest rates first. Visiting Shawbrook Bank's official website for the most up-to-date information on their savings account won’t take long, but it will mean that you are always using a product that is right for you.
What else does Shawbrook Bank offer?
Shawbrook Bank offers a range of services beyond savings accounts to cater to the financial needs of individuals and businesses. For individuals, their personal loan products and mortgage line could be of interest - especially with the flexibility the company tries to bring to every inquiry.
Shawbrook Bank provides personal loans to individuals for various purposes, such as home improvements, debt consolidation, or purchasing a vehicle. For those getting married, there are even wedding loans on offer. All are meant to be structured, offering competitive interest rates and flexible repayment terms. Shawbrook loans can be between £1,000 and £35,000, and you can apply online so you can get a quote exceptionally quickly. Importantly, requesting a quote won’t affect your credit rating.
If you’re interested in applying, you need to be:
- Aged between 21 and 75.
- Have been a resident in the UK for three years or more.
- Have a personal bank account based in the UK (for many, that will mean a current account).
- Have a good credit history. Shawbrook Bank does not accept outstanding County Court Judgements (CCJs).
Shawbrook Bank offers both residential and commercial mortgage products, so it can be used by either individuals or businesses. For individuals, they currently offer buy-to-let mortgages. The application process can be quick if your case is simple as the bank uses automation to ensure you pass all their checks, but they also specialise in complex cases.
What’s great is that they consider first-time landlords too, so if you’re looking to start a property portfolio, Shawbrook won’t immediately dismiss you. Properties must be worth at least £75,000, with the minimum loan being £40,000.
Should I use Shawbrook Bank?
With its wide variety of lending and saving options and its flexible case-by-case approach to its customers, Shawbrook could be a good option for you. What you finally decide depends on your financial needs and your current circumstances. To some, the savings rates on their products and specific terms and conditions may not be suitable due to investment timelines. Or, one of their savings accounts could answer your every requirement.
If you are ever in doubt, ask a financial advisor. They know the entire market inside out, not just what Shawbrook are currently offering. They’ll also be able to ascertain whether their products are appropriate for your needs so that you can be certain your money is working as hard as possible for you.