Guernsey residents are waking up to find a new name on their high street today, as Skipton International opens its doors.
The new name belongs to the offshore entity formed in the wake of the merger in the UK back in March of the Skipton and Scarborough Building Societies. The merger was announced in November 2008, after Scarborough said it had seen difficult trading conditions that had weakened its capital position.
Along with a new name that replaces two that have now been consigned to history – Scarborough Channel Islands and Skipton Guernsey – there have been substantive changes to the business model as well, which include a greater focus on financial advisers, Skipton International said.
Commercial director Jim Coupe, who had been brokings operation director at Central Trust plc, will oversee a team of three, whose job it will be to develop and expand the bank’s relationships with financial services intermediaries in addition to its own direct clients.
In addition, a new Skipton International website, www.skiptoninternational.com, is due to go live today, enabling the bank’s customers to conduct banking transactions over the internet for the first time. The company said this was among a planned “range of new products and services” it will launch over the next few months.
Basic international banking services will continue to be fundamental at Skipton, it says. Like the international arms of the component banks of which it is comprised, Skipton International will offer a range of such products as sterling, euro and dollar-denominated savings accounts.
The bank said it plans to “grow, both locally in the Channel Islands and globally among the UK’s expatriate population”, in addition to developing and expanding its mortgage operations in both Guernsey and Jersey.
Skipton International’s offices are located in St Peter Port, Guernsey. It operates via intermediaries in Jersey.
Alan Bougourd, who heads up the newly-formed bank as managing director, stressed that the savings of Skipton International customers would be secured by an “undertaking given by our parent, Skipton Building Society”, which he noted was now the fifth largest building society in the UK, with more than £15bn in assets.
Guernsey recently approved a depositors’ compensation scheme, but too late to help the more than 2,000 savers caught up in the collapse last October of the Icelandic bank Landsbanki. The Guernsey scheme covers individuals for up to £50,000 per account per bank, with the maximum total amount of compensation capped at £100m in any five-year period.
Bougourd, who prior to the banks’ merger was managing director of Skipton’s Guernsey and Jersey operations, said Skipton International ultimately would be a “more dynamic” company than its predecessor companies, owing to its larger size, which he said would enable it to “draw on a larger pool of resources and skills”.
A new logo has been created to go with the new Skipton International name. It was designed to “symbolise the heritage and strength of both Scarborough Channel Islands Ltd and Skipton Guernsey Ltd”, and features a stylised castle.