BFC Bank, a subsidiary of the Bahrain Financing Company, has launched in the UK to service the country’s SMEs.

The bank will be operational in April 2018, at which point it will start onboarding SME clients.

Its core offerings will be international payments, multi-currency accounts and foreign exchange. According to the bank, it will offer “transparent pricing and margins”, “innovative fees” and “favourable FX spreads” to help SMEs control costs.

In a statement, David Price, CEO of the BFC, says the bank will focus on UK companies that have been underserved as a result of financial institutions de-risking globally.

“De-risking has been used by most banks as an excuse not to serve this sector,” he says. “Banking is full of rules and increasing regulation. BFC operates to the same high level of compliance as every other regulated entity, but it does not hide behind these rules as a reason to avoid doing business”.

In addition, BFC will look to provide access to banking services for payments service providers (PSPs), seeing this segment as “a massive opportunity” as also these “remain underserved by the financial service industry”.

BFC will also provide loans and overdraft facilities for trade purposes, with the aim of being able to offer trade finance products for SMEs in the future.

“If an importer or exporter has a gap in their trade cycle then this is where we will look to assist,” Price tells GTR. “It is early for us to think about more complex trade products given that we have just launched, however it is something we will consider. To provide trade products will be a goal for us.”