The bank said it wants to double market share of UK SME business banking over five years and that the longer free period is “one of a series of steps to help customers flourish”.
The offer is available to new SME customers and established SMEs that switch to Co-operative Bank.
Business Directplus customers already in their introductory period will have that extended by 12 months in line with the new offer.
The offer is subject to certain transaction limits and a minimum credit balance of £1,000. Customers will be converted to the Business Directplus standard tariff at the end of the free period.
“Extending free banking by a year will be an important helping hand that eases pressure for entrepreneurs at a crunch point in their development,” said Co-operative Bank managing director of SME banking Donald Kerr.
The office for National Statistics (ONS) reported that of 380,000 businesses established each year, 26 per cent struggle or fail in their first two years.
The Co-operative Bank was the seventh largest current account provider for business in 2018, serving 84,000 SMEs including 750 co-operatives, 5,000 charities and 218 credit unions.