Royal Bank of Scotland
Financial support on offer
Up to 18 months' free banking is offered to start-ups and six months to switchers. Business loans and overdrafts are offered and, for a limited time, European Investment Bank loans are offered to eligible projects.
Islamic business accounts are also offered, giving customers the peace of mind that their account is managed in a Shariah-approved way.
Start-up accounts benefit from 18 months' free day-to-day banking and the support of a named relationship manager. Customers can also take advantage of free Sage Planning for Business software and a free 90-day trial of an accounts package, Sage Start-Up. A 90-day trial of Sage Instant Accounts is also available, which is a bookkeeping package aimed at small businesses.
Charges on cash and cheques
Following the free banking period Lloyds TSB offers customers a range of monthly price plans, making managing your bank charges easier. As long as you stay within your monthly price plan your banking charges remain fixed, and you can change your plan to adapt to the quieter and busier periods of business. Price plans range from XS (£5 charge for up to five transactions) up to XL (£40 for up to 125 transactions).
Overdraft and loan interest rates
You can choose a base rate or fixed rate loan. An arrangement fee of up to 1.5% is charged with the minimum loan being £1,000. Lloyds TSB will discuss your business plans and needs with you and agree on an interest rate for your overdraft.
Website and online banking
The clean and well-organised website allows you to easily select business banking. From there you can explore a number of options using the tab bar, or the links on the left-hand side of the page. Online banking for business is easy to use and is free; you can view your statements, make payments and transfer money. Lloyds TSB uses card reader technology to make online banking more secure and you can register online at the same time as opening an account.
As well as offering a named relationship manager, Lloyds TSB supports the mentoring service MentorSME. Relationship managers are available for face-to-face meetings and can be contacted over the telephone. According to Lloyds TSB, its relationship managers help around 80,000 new businesses start each year.
Lloyds TSB guarantees a 'smooth move', or you get £50 back. Between January and June 2011 Lloyds TSB achieved an 89.37% success rate in moving accounts from another bank within three working days. If you are moving from Lloyds TSB they aim to close your account within four days of notification.
Number of branches: Near to 1,900 branches
Ratio of small business managers to branches: Around 1,700 relationship managers