Previously doing business as B-North, Bank North has been granted a banking license (Authorised with Restrictions or ‘AWR’) by the UK’s Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA).
Bank North reports that it has also closed a successful Series A funding round, raising money from LHV Group, LHV Asset Management, Skipton Building Society, Channel 4 Ventures, Greater Manchester Combined Authority, Dean Benson, and Steve Davis. The round will support Bank North in further developing its technology as well as delivering operating capital to kick off its lending activities.
The Manchester-based bank is a challenger developing an SME lending bank for the United Kingdom. The bank said it will open the doors of its first lending Pod in Manchester later this year, before a managed roll-out across the UK. It will start lending in October 2021. Bank North says it will deliver financing to businesses up to 10X faster than traditional lenders using cloud banking tech and a unique network of physical “pods.”
These pods are designed to be a de-centralized model where loans are tailored to the circumstances of each business, locally decisioned, and locally delivered in contrast to the UK’s heavily centralized, standardized banking system.
Jonathan Thompson, founder and CEO of Bank North, said regulatory approval 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.”
Thompson added that now the hard work really begins.
Ron Emerson CBE, Chair of Bank North said he is delighted that Bank North has secured authorization 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.”
Madis Toomsalu, CEO of LHV Group said that SMEs are essential to a healthy economy and they have learned that to help SMEs reach their goals, a bank should really know their clients’ local marketplace.
“We can see many parallels between LHV and Bank North’s ambitions and we know how an experienced team and a focus on technology can bring desired results in today’s banking.”