Businesses bank on OakNorth

Businesses bank on OakNorth

Challenger bank OakNorth has lent £430m to UK SMEs since January, shrugging off Brexit jitters.

OakNorth Bank has lent £430m so far this year with its total loan book now standing at over £710m and a further £700m in the pipeline.

As larger lenders retrench further from the SME lending market amidst ongoing economic uncertainty, OakNorth has continued to see a surge in demand for its lending services, and has announced two new hires to its debt finance team in response to this.

The news follows an expansion of the team in January which saw new hires join from NIBC Bank, Williams & Glyn, and Santander. The bank’s total headcount now stands at 140 people – up from 110 at the beginning of the year.

Since launching in September 2015, the bank has established itself as a credible contender in the lending space, growing its loan book to over £710m, and achieving breakeven within just 11 months.

Its client list now includes several high-profile businesses: Brasserie Bar Co. - who it lent £20m to in June, enabling the business to open 24 new sites and create 700 new jobs. – as well as Z Hotels, Galliard Homes, Frogmore, The Collective, and Notes Coffee.

Ben Barbanel, head of debt finance at OakNorth, said: “At the beginning of the year, we said that we would lend £500m to SMEs based on our pipeline at the time, so to reach £430m with another four months left to go in the year, is an amazing accomplishment.

“In addition to this, we’ve had over £100m in repayments, demonstrating the quality of businesses we’ve lent to, and a quarter of our deal flow now comes from existing clients – a testament to the strong relationships developed by our team.

“If we want to maintain the speed and service that has helped set us apart from other lenders in the market so far, we need to continue developing and scaling the team in line with this.”