Commercial News

New SME lender granted banking licence ahead of launch

Rozi Jones -
|
25th August 2021
B Bank North Jonathan Thompson Dave Broadbent
"There has never been a more compelling backdrop to launch a new regional bank for the UK, as the country looks to build back better and recover from the ravages of the Covid-19 pandemic."

Bank North - previously B-North - has been granted its banking licence (Authorised with Restrictions or AWR) by the PRA.

The Bank will start delivering business finance in October 2021, opening the doors of its first lending Pod in Manchester, before a managed roll-out across the UK.

Bank North has also closed a successful ‘Series A’ funding round, raising new capital from investors including Skipton Building Society, LHV Group, and LHV Asset Management.

The round will support Bank North in further developing its technology as well as delivering operating capital to kick off its lending activities.

Bank North was founded by a group of banking executives from Santander, Metro Bank, First Direct, and others. The team now counts alumni of Barclays, HSBC, Bank of America, and the Yorkshire Building society amongst its staff.

Jonathan Thompson, founder and CEO of Bank North, said: “This is a landmark for the team at Bank North who have been working tirelessly to build the most customer-focused bank possible. Our model is groundbreaking and there has never been a more compelling backdrop to launch a new regional bank for the UK, as the country looks to build back better and recover from the ravages of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“SMEs will be the lifeblood of economic recovery. We owe it to the UK’s innovators and entrepreneurs to help them access the funding that will enable them to grow and create opportunity across the country. We’re here to help these businesses thrive.

“I want to thank our wonderful team at Bank North for their personal sacrifice and hard work, our investors for their faith in our model, and the UK regulators for their constructive engagement with us. Getting to this stage in building a bank is not easy, but the whole team and I are proud of what we have achieved. Now the hard work really begins.”

Ron Emerson CBE, chair of Bank North, commented: “I am delighted that Bank North has secured authorisation from the PRA. This represents a significant vote of confidence in our business model and our team and I am confident that Bank North will be delivering much-needed funding to the SMEs of the UK at speed over the coming months.

“Our focus on regional pods, as opposed to a centralised structure, will help spread opportunities for growth around the country. We believe that locally available finance will be critical in enabling the UK’s regions to level-up. Talent is not confined to particular areas of the UK, and nor should our banking systems be.”

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