In January 2016 the Prudential Regulation Authority (‘PRA’) along with the Financial Conduct Authority (‘FCA’) introduced the New Bank Start Up Unit (‘NBSU’) to enhance the authorisation process for new and prospective banks in support of its secondary competition objective. It is primarily aimed at new UK start-ups but also includes useful information for other new entrants, such as non-EEA branches.
Contacting the NBSU is not the only way that new and prospective banks can approach the PRA. For example, for international banks where an existing subsidiary wishes to become a branch, the bank may contact the PRA via their supervisor or via trade bodies rather than the NBSU. However, the PRA does encourage international banks to read the material on the NBSU webpages before applying to become a bank in the United Kingdom.
The Bank of England (the ‘Bank’), which includes the PRA, does not hold a figure for the number of people that work in the NBSU because it is a cross-departmental unit where people from both the PRA and FCA work on topics related to the NBSU as necessary. Therefore there is no specific headcount or budget for the NBSU.
The PRA Annual Report for the financial year to end-February 2016 included the number of banks that had been authorised and the number of pre-application meetings that had been held with potential new banks (see page 27) in that period. These figures were for all new banks/potential new banks (not just those that had contacted the NBSU).
The PRA Annual Report for the financial year to end-February 2017 will be published in due course.