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Can a bank that lends to potato farmers make returns grow?

They frequently top the best buy tables for savings rates. But who are the new banks fighting for your cash?

From Middlesbrough-based GB Bank that lends to underserved areas in the North, to Chester-based Oxbury that lends to farmers, the names will be unfamiliar to most savers.

Their accounts are often on sale for less than a few days. Most are available to open and run online, and in some cases you need a smartphone to download the app.

Plough it in: Oxbury Bank, which lends to UK farmers, offers a 90-day notice account at 3% and often launches competitive fixed-rate bonds.

And in others, they don’t have customer service phone numbers.

But they are all covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme in the same way as big High Street names.

Here, Money Mail takes a look at them…

DF Capital

Based in Manchester, DF Capital lends to manufacturers to smooth out cashflow on industrial equipment, cars and boats.

This includes Fairline Yachts, based in Oundle, Northamptonshire, which makes luxury yachts.

Electric motorcycle producer Zero Motorcycles has also benefited from loans to set up dealerships in the UK.

The chief executive is Carl D’Ammassa, who was previously with Aldermore and GE Capital.

Its savings products are usually at the top of the market and are not on sale for long. Typically, it offers good short-term bonds and a 90-day notice account.

Its latest 18-month fixed-rate bond paid a top 4.5 per cent but was closed to new business last Friday. New bonds will be launched soon.

■ dfcapital.co.uk, 0330 094 0162

Kroo Bank

Kroo is the newest kid on the block and launched its app-based current account this month.

The start-up, with its head office in London, does not offer a savings account, but it pays 2 per cent interest on a current account balance.

Kroo Bank promises to plant two trees for every account opened, and aims to plant one million by the end of next year

Kroo Bank promises to plant two trees for every account opened, and aims to plant one million by the end of next year

It promises to plant two trees for every account opened, and aims to plant one million by the end of next year. 

Its chief executive officer is Andrea De Gottardo, who has previously worked for NatWest, State Street Bank and consultants Deloitte.

Its competition includes JP Morgan-backed digital bank Chase, which offers a linked savings account currently paying 2.1 per cent.

You need to download the app to open an account, and you can only contact the customer support team through the in-app chat or by email.

■ kroo.com

Monument Bank

Based in London, Monument Bank is run by chief executive Ian Rand, who previously worked with Barclays and JP Morgan. It entered the savings arena a year ago with fixed-rate bonds.

The minimum investment with the bank is at the high end of the scale at £25,000. 

Appy saver: Monument bank offers fixed-rate bonds through its app, but currently only has a six-month deal at 2.05%. It plans to launch an easy-access account soon

Appy saver: Monument bank offers fixed-rate bonds through its app, but currently only has a six-month deal at 2.05%. It plans to launch an easy-access account soon

The bank pledges to reward loyalty by offering you a better rate than that offered to new customers when you come to renew your bond.

It lends on property investment, including bridging and buy-to-let loans. Like most newcomers, it dips in and out of the market as and when it needs to attract money to fund its lending.

It offers fixed-rate bonds through its app, but currently only has a six-month deal at 2.05 per cent. It plans to launch an easy-access account soon.

■ monument.co, 020 4524 8080

Oxbury Bank

Oxbury lends to UK farmers, the food-supply chain and the rural economy. It is based in Chester.

Customers include farmers supplying major supermarkets as well and those who produce barley, potatoes and wheat for brands such as Arla, Budweiser, Walkers Crisps and Warburtons.

Its chief executive officer is co-founder James Farrar, who has been with Nationwide Building Society, HSBC and Bank of Scotland.

You can open the account online, but you also need to download its app onto your smartphone.

You can’t hold joint accounts with this bank — it currently only offers individual ones.

It offers a 90-day notice account at 3 per cent and often launches competitive fixed-rate bonds.

■ oxbury.com

GB Bank

GB Bank secured its full banking licence in August 2022. Based in Middlesbrough, it launched its first savings product in November.

Priced competitively with a low minimum investment of £1, the one and two-year fixed-rate bonds sold out within a week. Since then, the bank has dipped in and out of the market with good deals.

GB Bank secured its full banking licence in August 2022. Based in Middlesbrough, it lends money to small and medium-sized property developers in underserved areas of the UK

GB Bank secured its full banking licence in August 2022. Based in Middlesbrough, it lends money to small and medium-sized property developers in underserved areas of the UK

Currently, it is not offering any accounts but is definitely one to watch. It lends money to small and medium-sized property developers in underserved areas of the UK. It is initially focusing on the North East, Yorkshire and the North West.

Its chief executive is co-founder Stephen Lancaster, who has a technology and business background. Its backers include local government body the Teesside Pension Fund.

■ gbbank.co.uk, 0808 164 2111

Recognise Bank

Recognise Bank lends money to small businesses. The chief executive is Jean Murphy, who has more than 25 years’ experience from working with Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs.

Based in London, it is owned by City of London Group plc, which is listed on the small business AIM market. 

It currently offers notice accounts where you need to give the bank warning you want your money back. Its 95-day notice account pays a competitive 3 per cent. 

It also offers fixed-rate bonds from time to time as well as savings accounts for small businesses.

■ recognisebank.co.uk, 0345 872 7888

Sy.morris@dailymail.co.uk

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