Licuro.com is totally independent and allows registered users to auction their savings directly to banks and building societies. Savers choose how much they want to deposit and for how long. In turn banks and building societies bid against each other, offering time deposits at their best available interest rates.
The website is aimed at:
- Individuals, companies, organisations foundations looking for the highest possible interest rates on deposits of over 12,000 for a fixed term of between 14 and 730 days.
- Savers/depositors can expect competing bids from FSA-regulated banks and building societies within 2 hours of registering online and offers are valid (no obligation for the depositor) for 24 hours. It costs 5.75 to register for a single transaction or 33.35 for an annual subscription. It’s free to try until 1 September 2009. There are no further costs to depositors.
- Savers in Denmark using sister site mybanker.biz have been profiting from the credit crunch and achieving rates of on average 1% higher than the average interest rate they would attain by going direct to a bank or building society. This is as a direct result of the competition introduced by the Licuro system.
- Banks and building societies keen to compete with each other for direct access to a flexible, alternative source of liquid funds from new clients, in a new marketplace that is independent of the traditional wholesale money markets. Deposit takers pay a fee only if a transaction is agreed upon, in which case the fee is calculated on a sliding scale:
- 10 basis points on a deposit of less than 5mn
- 5 basis points for deposits of between 5mn and 25mn
- 3.5 basis points for deposits of over 25mn.
Most of Licuro’s revenues come from banks and building societies rather than depositors. The Danish site processes more then the equivalent of 200mn each month and savers – individuals and companies – have collectively deposited the equivalent of 1.2 billion in the last year over the last 12 months.
After the UK launch, Licuro.com plans to continue its roll out to (initially) Sweden, Luxembourg, Belgium, and Germany within the next year.
Andy Golding, CEO of Saffron Building Society, says: “The current economic conditions mean that the environment for banks and building societies to raise funding is extremely competitive, whether from one another or through the capital markets. It therefore makes sense for us all to take advantage of alternative sources, in this case it is direct access to savers’ funds via licuro.com. It’s effectively no-win, no fee. Licuro.com has a very good track record in Denmark, it’s the biggest fish out there and the first mover, and there is a definite niche for the site here in the UK.”
John Norden, Founder and MD of licuro.com, says, “British households saved 4.8% in the first quarter of this year, the highest since Q1, 2006, a trend which has mirrored the sharp fall in UK GDP (and confidence in the economy) over the last year. Interest rates for savers are still risibly low. So it’s a good time to be launching an online interest rate auction house that gives savers (individuals, companies and organisations) the chance to lend their cash to the highest bidder. We’ve proven through our operations in Europe that the interest rates banks are prepared to offer via auction are materially higher than the rates offered both on the high street and on ordinary online savings sites so it makes sense for savers.”
He adds: “From the perspective of the banks and building societies, it gives them direct access to a greater pool of short and long term funding. To coin a phrase, everyone’s a winner.”
Jan Thygesen, COO at Denmark’s Cantobank and former Head of Northern Rock, Denmark, says: “UK banks and building societies will undoubtedly benefit from having an independent market maker where they can get in contact with customers directly. We have used Licuro’s sister site in Denmark, mybanker.biz, for funding to the tune of 40mn over the last six months. It has proven to be a very useful tool for smaller banks like us – and since they are a household name in Denmark we’ve benefited from not having to spend on marketing.”