New UK bank starts fundraising

New UK bank starts fundraising

A new bank, called Walton & Co, could enter the UK market by the end of the year, with fundraising efforts underway to secure £200 million to kickstart the project, according to press reports.

The brainchild of Sandy Chen, an analyst at brokerage Panmure Gordon, the bank is seeking to attract institutional investors for its fund-raising exercise and aims to list on the stock market during the first quarter, according to Reuters, citing sources.

The bank takes its name from chairman Paul Walton, a former risk consultant to the Financial Services Authority, and counts ex-Barclays chairman Peter Middleton as an adviser. Chen will act as CEO.

According to Dow Jones, Walton & Co expects to receive a banking license by the end of the year and will initially open two branches in the southeast of England, as well develop an online operation.

The bank intends to take a "conservative" approach to lending, never loaning more than it holds in deposits, targeting families and small and medium sized businesses.

The UK government is keen for new players to enter the high street banking market after recent consolidation in the industry. Last week Virgin Money agreed to buy the small regional private bank Church House Trust ahead of plans to develop a full retail service.

Tesco is also making strides to develop a full service bank and the FSA is expected to shortly grant US entrepreneur Vernon Hill a license to launch privately-funded Metro Bank.

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