Smile is an internet only bank, and is a trading name of the Co-Operative Bank. It was founded in 1999, and has its headquarters in Stockport, Greater Manchester.
Under the auspices of its Chief Executive Niall Booker, it continues to forge an identity of its own, rather than being seen as purely an internet banking arm of the Co-Operative Bank.
At the time of its launch, Smile was the United Kingdom's first fully internet operated bank. There had been other financial institutions that offered online functionality, such as First-E and Egg, but these offered a limited range of products, rather than a full range of financial products that would traditionally have been provided by a bricks and mortar bank or building society.
One of the things that Smile takes very seriously is their ethical policy. Along with the Co-Operative Bank they vet potential business customers, and turn away customers who have links to things such as tobacco, animal experiments, and trade of arms. Their customers are regularly consulted for their views on this ethical policy, and at their request it remains central to their operations.
As internet banking has grown more common, thanks to advances in technology and societal changes, online security has become of increasing concern to many people. Smile was the first bank in the United Kingdom to achieve ISO270001 accreditation, marking the highest standards of information and data security.
The bank itself offers a broad portfolio of products to its customers, all of which are applied for and managed online.
Their loans can range from £2,000 to £25,000 and are available for loan periods of up to 5 years. Credit cards can be applied for, and they also offer mortgages, although these are provided under the umbrella of the Co-Operative Bank.
Loans are available for customers who have held an account with them for at least one month. Applicants must be over 21 years of age and normally resident within the United Kingdom.