Acorn Financial Partners Ltd (AFP), a new venture launched by David and Jonathan Rowland, has this week submitted a banking licence application to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA).
If the application is accepted, renowned entrepreneur David alongside his son, well-known property investor Jonathan, and a number of high profile investors, will officially launch the SME-focused Redwood Bank late next year.
Headquartered on the border of Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire, Redwood aims to offer secured SME lending products to owner occupied businesses, as well as to experienced commercial and residential property investors. It will also provide business deposit accounts.
Investors joining the father and son duo include the likes of Wildcat Capital Management, Rick Gerson (founder of Falcon Edge) and David “Tiger” Williams (founder of Williams Trading). It is anticipated that current and new shareholders will invest £50m in the bank over the next five years.
Jonathan said: “This is an ideal time to apply for a full banking licence; the major banks have not returned to anywhere near their pre-crisis business lending levels and the uncertainty caused by Brexit is likely to worsen the situation.
“At the same time, SMEs have shown a strong appetite for new market entrants offering competitive rates and superior customer service. Against this backdrop, we have a compelling opportunity to build a secure, robust and profitable bank.”
Gary Wilkinson, intended chief executive, added: “I am certain that Redwood’s relationship-driven, agile and traditional approach, combined with straightforward and transparent products, will resonate among ambitious business owners seeking to grow over the coming years.”
Jonathan, who will, subject to regulatory approval, be the chairman of Redwood, played a leading role in the restructuring and subsequent recapitalisation of Kaupthing Bank Luxembourg, the Luxembourg subsidiary of Kaupthing Iceland, into Banque Havilland S.A. and Banque Havilland (Monaco) SAM. He was chief executive and a director between 2009 and 2013.