Blackstone Applies To FSA For UK Bank Licence

Blackstone, the US-based private equity giant, has applied to the Financial Services Authority (FSA)

Reportedly, it has teamed up with the wealthy Pears family and fund manager Cambridge Place to form a new bank called The Home and Savings Bank.

Home and Savings Bank aims to sell simple savings and mortgage products from the first quarter of 2010. It has named Peter Birch, the former CEO of Abbey National, as chairman and Stuart Sinclair, the ex-boss of Tesco Personal Finance, as CEO.

Blackstone will provide a capital of about GBP250m to the Home and Savings Bank and is in talks with other investors to raise a further GBP250m. Home and Savings Bank is said to be aiming GBP17bn of assets in five years, before which Blackstone intends to get the new bank listed on the stock market.

Home and Savings Bank is considering acquiring Northern Rock from the government in addition to the branch networks that have been put up for sale by RBS and Lloyds Banking Group.

Blackstone is not the only new entrant looking to foray into the UK for retail banking. The US-based Metro Bank is planning to open a London branch soon, while Walton & Co, backed by Panmure Gordon, a UK-based corporate and institutional stockbroker and investment bank, wants to target affluent savers and business borrowers. The new entrants are aiming to use service and simple products to lure customers who are not satisfied with their existing banks.