1st October 2011
Message from CEO Miles Roberts
Newsletter January 2011
It has been some time since my last update. During that time, Raphaels has undergone a number of changes to the strategy and structure. However, I am pleased to inform that despite a difficult economic and trading environment, Raphaels Bank continues to trade profitably and finished its last financial period with the best results in its history to date. Raphaels Bank continues to explore innovative new products and markets, and in 2010 re-launched its Commercial Foreign Exchange Division.
In addition, we are pleased to announce that we have formally gained Investors in People recognition for the Group, Lenlyn Holdings which includes Raphaels Bank and Raphaels Finance as of October 2010.
Investors In People is a quality standard for the effective investment in the training and development of people to achieve business goals. It provides a framework for improving business performance and competitiveness through a planned approach to setting objectives and developing people to meet those objectives.
All the Divisions of the Bank have contributed to making the year to date figures in fiscal 2011 even stronger than anticipated and the Bank is well positioned to carry its strategy for growth into the coming years. Below is a summary from those divisions and their activity over the last year.
Chief Executive Officer
Judith Beale, Head of Private Banking
We pride ourselves on providing customers with the service that is expected and this is reflected in everything that we do. We continue to offer fixed rate bonds at what we consider to be competitive rates and it has been heartening that so many investors have remained with us upon renewal of these bonds and who have appreciated the service we offer as well as the rates.
The continuation of our support to our customers has been maintained whenever possible in what have been difficult market conditions and we will continue to do this where viable. This has applied to our Trade Finance customers who came under the Raphaels Bank umbrella some 12 months ago with the provision of funding to assist their businesses with the importation of goods into the country for onward sale to established high street names.
We are aware that the withdrawal of the cash card facility did cause some consternation amongst the some of our customers who used these but as explained at the time the Bank, like any company, did have to take into consideration the costs of providing these & we have appreciated your understanding and the continuation of your business with us.
Commercial Foreign Exchange
Tony Wilson, Director of Corporate Services
The CFX strategy was officially approved by the Banks Board at its September meeting. As a result CFX as a division was formally taken into the Bank with effect from 1st of October 2010.
The new CFX strategy is based on a field sales organisation that is focused on visiting our prospective clients, ensuring we understand the client's needs and tailoring our solution to meet their needs.
Our proposition is built upon world class service with fair and honest pricing. Unfortunately the CFX market has many providers and FX margins are being suppressed as a result but not many foreign exchange providers can provide the level of personalised service and error free processing to compete with Raphaels Bank.
Raphaels Bank has since contracted with Wallstreet Systems to provide an Electronic Settlements Network (ESN) to the bank. Raphaels now have a system that many of the Global banks use. Using this system takes the bank to the forefront of technology.
In addition to this back office processing system Raphaels will be launching in January 2011 a customer web-based ordering system, allowing customers to order their payments and FX on line, see their account balances and have access to many more online features.
The online platform allows Raphaels to be competitive in the market, with a strong selling proposition when combined with personal service and zero error rates.
Behind the scenes the CFX team has grown in size with many new faces in all aspects of the business. We have recruited people for sales, appointment setting, dealing, back office processing, credit control and back office administration.
CFX is still in the early stages of growth and we are seeing significant numbers of appointments being created for the sales force to attend. The skill in the following weeks is to turn these meetings into Trading Agreement which result in the client ordering payments and fx with us generating revenue for the Bank.
As the division grows, CFX will be recruiting more sales people, more Client managers and more dealers. We will also have a need to recruit back office support staff and with our systems we can ensure we keep our operations as efficient as possible.
Mike Smith, Director of Card Services & ATMS
Raphaels Bank's ATM estate has grown from strength to strength. On taking over the estate from ICE in 2007 when it was just 50 machines, the portfolio has now expanded to over 150.
You may have seen Raphaels machines at various airports and railway stations including St Pancras and shopping centres such as Westfield in London. In addition Raphaels also provide machines for TTT Moneycorp, Change Group, Thomas Cook and American Express dispensing Sterling, Euros and Dollars. This has been a very successful venture for the Bank and is continuing to expand and venture overseas also. Raphaels recently launched a joint venture with CIMB Bank in Malaysia for ATMs dispensing 8 different currencies all routed back through our system in the UK.
Card Services Division
Card Services division is expanding rapidly and have over 1 million active prepaid Visa and MasterCard Cards issued through partners such as Aviva, Travelex, British Gas, Bluewater and Meadowhall.
Over the coming months Raphaels will be issuing in the UK, Germany, Austria, France and Holland with Spain and Ireland to follow in the next few months, including a particularly exciting new card with a major international brand.
Carl Virgo, Head of Consumer Finance
2010 has seen a hive of activity involving a substantial restructuring exercise since the acquisition of Southern Finance, now as a trading style of Raphaels Bank Plc, and will continue to operate in the consumer finance sector. For the time being it's "business as usual" from the Southampton based Southern House location and essentially this sees the core motor finance hire purchase and fixed term loan products as it's key customer offerings for private, commercial, Wheelchair Adapted and mobility vehicles.
2011 sets out to grow this business through out including our northern branch of the business, based in Bolton.