Butterfield to become a local bank in Guernsey

BUTTERFIELD is on a journey to become a ‘full service’ local bank for Guernsey – with mortgages introduced, deposit products launching and credit card plans for the future.

Richard Saunders of Butterfield. (30284813)
Richard Saunders of Butterfield. (30284813)

Richard Saunders, the Guernsey-based managing director of Butterfield’s operations in the Channel Islands, said that work had been ongoing to change the focus and perceptions of the business locally. It had been perceived as a private bank, which it probably never really was but very much served the local financial intermediary market.

But with a string of acquisitions, including ABN Amro and Deutsche Bank’s local operations, he said Butterfield had gained a banking licence in Jersey and developed critical mass to move to the next stage of its development in the Channel Islands.

‘We are embarking on a journey to change Butterfield to a local provider of banking services to local people, which is absolutely what we are in our other banking jurisdictions – our other banking jurisdictions being Bermuda and Cayman, where we are the dominant provider of those local services to local people,’ said Mr Saunders.

‘That’s what we know well. That’s what we do in Bermuda and Cayman. It’s what we understand and it’s very much what we aspire to do here.’

The launch of Butterfield mortgages locally was part of that objective to serve local customers, with the organisation having a track record in lending.

‘It was natural. We had all the infrastructure to do this. We had a market that was crying out locally for additional service provision. So it seemed like a great place for us to start. But it is very much part of stepping stones in terms of us putting out local deposit products for local individuals.’

The bank was also looking very much at how it could enter the local credit card market further down the road – working ‘really hard’ with a major international provider. This was to give true provision of local credit cards with domestically- focused loyalty schemes and potentially tied into a charitable foundation. That was so people using their credit cards would see ‘something meaningful going back into the communities’ in which Butterfield operated, said Mr Saunders.

He confirmed that new deposit products for locals would be launched from 1 January 2022, alongside a balanced sterling investment fund designed to have the ‘lowest cost drag’ of any comparable funds available locally.

Through 2022, the bank will be looking at the potential for a ‘meaningful’ green investment fund.

‘Ultimately [we want] to be really seen as the high quality, full service bank for local individuals who want an organisation which is run by local people, decisions are made locally, and is committed to the local community that we operate in,’ added Mr Saunders.

‘It’s really exciting for us as a management team. Just thinking myself personally, I was born here. I’ve spent my whole life here and am really passionate about the health of these islands. I think what we’re able to do now, I feel privileged really to be part of a bank that’s able to actually deliver some of these things.

‘It’s a journey. I’m not going to sit here and say we are going to do all those things next week. It’s going to take us a number of years to get to where we want to be. But it’s a really exciting journey for us to go on.’

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