Banking Competition Remedies Ltd (BCR) announces the awards of Capability and Innovation Fund Pool E (Application Period Two)

The Board of Banking Competition Remedies Ltd (BCR) today announces the results of Application Period Two of the Capability and Innovation Fund Pool E grant process.

The Capability and Innovation Fund Pool E Application Period Two was open to organisations that meet the same eligibility criteria as previous Pool A, B and C bodies, which can be found here.

The grants, which have a combined value of £80 million, are awarded as follows:

  • £35m – Virgin Money UK PLC
  • £25m – ClearBank Ltd
  • £10m – Ebury Partners Limited
  • £10m – MarketFinance Limited

The successful applicants will shortly each be invited to enter into a Capability and Innovation Fund Agreement with BCR. As part of the application process, each applicant provided public commitments stating what it will deliver with the CIF funds. These can be found here.

We had 64 applicants, and 78 completed applications in total for Application Period Two.

BCR’s assessment and decision-making processes were completed on time and adhered to the assessment criteria pre-determined in the design of BCR.

Aidene Walsh, Lead Director on the Capability and Innovation Fund workstream, said: “While it’s a tough economic environment for both financial providers and SMEs, we’ve seen many examples throughout this application process of companies demonstrating innovation in putting the evolving needs of SMEs at the heart of their propositions. Our successful applicants have carefully considered the impact of Covid-19 on their delivery timelines and, in their solutions, have evidenced a strong focus on digitisation of the SME journey, cash flow optimisation, harnessing alternative approaches for lending solutions and offering more international trading options for SMEs”.

BCR decision-making

As with each previous Pool of the Capability and Innovation Fund, BCR engaged business and technology consultancy, Baringa, to receive and analyse the applications via a rigorous and detailed process. BCR’s evaluation team decided which applications should be recommended to the BCR Board for consideration and final decision.

Applicants were advised that, while all assessment criteria should be addressed, BCR was particularly interested in the applicant’s ability to fulfil the product and service criteria, while ensuring high security standards for end-users.

More information on the Capability and Innovation Fund decision-making process can be found here.

Ongoing monitoring

BCR retains a focus on monitoring and compliance of all funding recipients once funds have been awarded. Progress against each applicant’s public commitments will be updated on a quarterly basis with the first reporting update due in January 2021. The commitments provide a publicly-accessible record of delivery.

Awardees report regularly to BCR, including meetings as necessary. The HM Treasury-appointed Monitor, Mazars, reports to HM Treasury on progress and is fully briefed on BCR meetings with awardees.

Richard Anderson, Chair of BCR, said: “We know that the winners and all SMEs in general face challenging times as we head towards winter with both the Covid-19 pandemic and the resulting economic challenges ahead. For that reason, it has been exciting to see a very wide range of innovative approaches from so many applicants to supporting all sizes of SMEs in their banking needs. It has been difficult to narrow the awards down to a small number of outstanding winners and BCR looks forward to monitoring progress as they implement their programmes”.

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Author: Eleanor Hazelton