Bank North - previously B-North - is set to begin operations as a regional SME lending bank in October after securing a restricted banking licence from the Prudential Regulation Authority.
The Manchester-based banking startup aims to disrupt the UK’s £150 billion SME lending market by establishing a network of regional ‘lending pods’ combined with a cloud-based banking system, with the aim of delivering loans to business 10x faster than the industry standard.
Along with the FCA/PRA license award, Bank North has also completed its Series A fundraising round, raising £20million from investors including, the Skipton Building Society, LHV Group, and LHV Asset Management. Previous investors have included the Greater Manchester Combined Authority and Channel 4 Ventures, as well as the public through a series of crowdfunding campaigns on Crowdcube and Growth Funders.
Founder and CEO Jonathan Thompson says the bank will open the doors of its first lending Pod in Manchester later this year, before a managed roll-out across the UK.
"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.
Ron Emerson, chair of Bank North adds: “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.”