One of the big winners in our latest 2023 Savings Champion awards was Shawbrook Bank, who won a total of six awards this year – including the big one – the prestigious ‘Best Savings Provider’ and 'Best Cash ISA Provider'. Both of these accolades have been won by Shawbrook for the last two years running – and looking back over the last 10 years of Savings Champion awards, the name Shawbrook Bank has peppered the finalists lists and was often announced Winner or Highly Commended in a variety of categories.
We have always believed that it is important to recognise those providers that have helped to keep some competition alive in the savings market, offering savers an alternative to leaving their funds languishing with the high street banks. In past years we’ve highlighted providers that have cut their rates by less than others, but with the base rate rising over the last year, it’s been great to be able to reward providers that have been passing on the good news and helping savers to earn substantially more interest that we have seen for over a decade.
Shawbrook Bank, for the second year running, won several awards, demonstrating that it regularly offers customers competitive, and often market leading savings rates across a range of accounts including easy access, notice accounts, fixed rate bonds and cash ISAs.
And this year, the bank also won the Best Monthly Income Provider award. During a time of an increasing squeeze on our finances due to the rising cost of living crisis, this feature is a very valuable option to offer people.
Shawbrook Bank was founded in 2011 with the aim of building a specialist financial services company that combines the benefits of the innovation and expertise that technology can offer, along with the old-fashioned customer service importance that customers want from a bank. As a result, its customer base is growing rapidly and the bank now has over 300,000 UK consumer and business customers.
Shawbrook offers a variety of savings accounts including easy access, notice accounts, fixed rate bonds and cash ISAs to both individuals and small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) in the UK. The bank now has over 210,000 savings customers and over £10.6bn in customer deposits..
These savings help the bank to offer a broad range of specialist lending products to UK SMEs and consumers, with its lending book having grown to £9.8bn by September 2022.
Shawbrook’s lending products extends to personal loans, property finance for professional landlords and SMEs acquiring both residential and commercial properties, and business finance for UK SMEs requiring specialist finance to support their growth, working capital and strategic funding needs.
Where do your savings go when you open an account with Shawbrook?
We asked Shawbrook for examples of businesses they have lent to in 2022, and particularly liked this one which saw an eco-friendly village for over 55s, in Burnham on Crouch, borrow £10m from Shawbrook. The loan will be used to support the first part of Burnham Waters, allowing the developer to buy 20 acres of neighbouring land in order to provide vital infrastructure works to support an additional 19 bungalows – taking the total number to 63.
This retirement village will aim to reduce carbon emissions by almost a third, compared to current building regulation, including an electric car charging point for each bungalow and an electric minibus service to provide residents with regular connections to the town centre. There will also be a gym for residents, a swimming pool, tennis courts, landscaped gardens and nature trails with a strong ecological focus.
Another example of what your cash savings is used for was a seven-figure loan made to a healthcare group that is a provider of specialist care, related to dementia and other age-related conditions. This time, the loan was used for the acquisition of a new 60 bed purpose-built dementia home in Rotherham.
The Younas group has worked with Shawbrook in the past, having previously refinanced an adult mental health unit, plus the acquisition of two more units in Stoke on Trent.
Today’s Savings Market
Since Shawbrook Bank launched in 2011, many of their accounts have featured in our best buy tables regularly and across the board, from easy access and easy access cash ISAs, to notice accounts, fixed rate bonds and fixed rate ISAs, really establishing itself as a trusted savings provider.
At the time of writing, the bank’s Easy Access Account Issue 33 is in the top paying, non app-only and unrestricted easy access account, paying 3.06% AER – and it’s a straightforward online account with no bonus and no restrictions on the number of withdrawals that can be made. However, there may be previous issues that are not paying the same rate, so it makes sense to check and ask Shawbrook to switch you to the latest issue if you can earn more.
Shawbrook Bank was one of the first of the so-called ‘challenger banks’ to really tackle the cash ISA market and started to offer these products in early 2015. At the moment, Shawbrook is offering the top easy access Cash ISA paying 3.01% AER. In terms of Fixed Rate ISAs, Shawbrook is offering best buy 1 & 2 year ISAs. The 2-year is joint market leading, paying 4.11% AER and the 1-year is paying 4.06%, beaten only by the Virgin 1 Year Fixed Rate Cash ISA Exclusive Issue 5, which requires you to already hold or open a current account with Virgin.
In addition to competitive savings rates, Shawbrook Bank has focused on providing a simple online account opening and management system, plus has knowledgeable, helpful and friendly staff available via their UK call centre.
A final word…
It is tempting to stick to the high street names when it comes to savings accounts, but in doing so you may be missing out on some of the best rates on the market. Shawbrook Bank has been around for over a decade now, and it continues to offer competitive products and great customer service. Providers like Shawbrook Bank are driving real competition in the savings market.
The best strategy is to look at all options and take each provider on its own merits, considering alternative providers to get the best returns for your money. As long as you do your research (or ask us for more information!) and are comfortable with the provider, there is no reason not to consider them in future.
Shawbrook is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA). In addition, Shawbrook Bank is a member of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), so funds placed with the provider would be covered up to £85,000 per person, should the provider go out of business.
For more information on the FSCS, please take a look at our handy guide