As demand for its SME loans in the North of England continues to rise OakNorth will be doubling the size of the team, which will now include loan originators.
OakNorth, the bank for entrepreneurs by entrepreneurs, has announced that it will be expanding its lending operations to Manchester to deal with increasing demand for its loans across the North of England.
The lender has always had an operations team based out of Manchester, which since its launch in September 2015 has grown to 15 people. However, as more SMEs in the North of England approach the bank for loans, there is a need to have a local lending team who can make credit decisions based on their knowledge and experience of businesses in the region.
This year, OakNorth has done several transactions with businesses in the North, including a £40.2m loan to Select Property to develop 356 new homes in the city, a £33m loan to Mabec Property to develop 742 new student bedrooms in Nottingham and Sheffield, and providing The Inn Collection Group – a North East England leisure operator with seven sites across Northumberland, County Durham and Teesside – with finance to fund their expansion.
To date, OakNorth has lent £2bn to businesses across the UK, with clients ranging from restaurants, hotels, care homes and nurseries, to tech businesses, professional services companies, private equity firms and property developers. Remarkably, it hasn’t had a single default to date and made £10.6m pre-tax profit in 2017, only its second full year of operations.
Ben Barbanel, head of debt finance at OakNorth, commented: “Since our launch in September 2015, we have helped hundreds of businesses across the UK achieve their growth ambitions, creating thousands of new homes and jobs in the process.
“We have done numerous deals with businesses in the North of England, transacting loans from our headquarters in London. However, given our pipeline for 2019 and the demand we are seeing from businesses in the North, there is a need to have a local debt finance team with the ability to make credit decisions on the ground in the North.
“We currently have a world-class technology and operations function managed out of Manchester, so we want to continue building on this, tapping into the local talent pool, to broaden our regional offering to lending as well.”
Tim Newns, CEO of MIDAS, Manchester’s inward investment agency, said: “OakNorth doubling its team in Greater Manchester perfectly reflects the booming business environment in the city region and across the wider North of England.
“With a growing fintech market as well as the largest regional financial, professional and business services industry outside of London, employing more than 320,000 people, Manchester is fast becoming the business location of choice for firms looking to capitalise on our finance and tech talent.”
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