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NatWest helps UK businesses get off the ground with unrivalled new start up offers.

(9th July 2007)

  • 2 YEARS FREE BANKING

  • EXTRA 500 locally based Business Managers

  • Fee free overdraft of up to 500

  • Preferential discounts on personal banking

  • Plus further discounts on the things that matter to new businesses

From 9th July NatWest will be the only high street bank to offer small business start ups an unprecedented 2 years free banking, supported by free face to face advice from a network of over 1,700 locally based business managers. For many, the first years of starting up in business are the most challenging. To help overcome these initial hurdles, NatWest is introducing the widest range of practical benefits for start ups.

The launch of these new benefits, with more business managers going into local branches, are down to NatWest's new Managing Director for Business Banking, Steve Pateman's commitment to all-round support for small businesses. Steve said: "Research shows that simply not knowing where to start puts a third of people off implementing their business idea. We know that turning an idea into a successful, growing business is one of the hardest things to achieve and requires help in many ways, not just financial. What we're doing is creating better access to free face to face business advice. We've also ensured our experienced managers are more equipped to help customers in all the important areas, such as managing cashflow, planning, risk management and marketing, ensuring NatWest remains the No.1 bank for small businesses in the UK".

Easing the money worries

In a recent survey of small business owners, NatWest found that the biggest practical challenges faced when starting up were managing cashflow (33%) and lack of funding (27%).

An additional survey by NatWest revealed that those harbouring business ideas cited financial worries (42%) as the main reason for not turning their idea into a business. With this in mind NatWest has introduced a range of money saving offers, including 2 years free banking and a 500 fee free overdraft and fee free Business MasterCard for the first year to give UK businesses the best possible start.

Help where it's needed most

It's not just a financial helping hand new businesses crave when setting up. When asked what their biggest challenge was, 15% of business owners said they struggled most with sales and marketing, and a further 12% found red tape, regulation and tax their biggest concerns. To help new businesses combat these additional worries NatWest is offering (among other benefits) business planning software, 2 months free marketing support plus Mentor service discount (12 months for the price of 10), providing expert advice on employment law and health and safety.

In addition to these market leading offers, start ups will also benefit from the introduction of a further 500 Business Banking Managers into NatWest's network of over 1,600 branches. This move further strengthens NatWest's commitment to providing support to all business customers through local experts who understand the market in which their customers operate. All NatWest Business customers also have access to telephone support 24/7.

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Notes to Editors:

  • The new Start-Up offer is aimed at businesses that have started trading within the last 12 months
  • Free banking means no account charges for payments into and out of the account providing it remains in credit and does not pay out more than 1 million a year during the free period
  • Communications offer - to ensure businesses stay in touch with valuable customers, NatWest is offering 50 cashback in addition to Vodafone’s standard offers for those connecting to their small business tariff
  • NatWest is also offering 10% discount on Green Flag Fleet Assist Breakdown cover - ensuring start ups can always get from A to B if the unexpected happens
  • 500 fee-free overdraft - In year two the fee for renewal of the 500 limit is 50. The interest rate applied is 9.99% fixed
  • Personal banking offer - 25% discount on Advantage Gold account offering a range of money saving benefits worth up to 621 (includes preferential loan/overdraft rates and 5 star defacto rated travel insurance)
  • Business Mastercard is a flexible payment and cashflow tool, helping customers manage business expenses. Business MasterCard is fee-free for the first year (30 thereafter)
  • *Latest TNS Small Business Banking GB market share data (Q1 2007)
  • Omnibus research was carried out by YouGov June 2007. Research comprised of over 2,000 non business owners and 1,460 business owners.