LHV UK is to begin issuing SME loans starting from £500,000 after winning approval from the Financial Conduct Authority.
The company's enrollment in the financial services register follows LHV UK's acquisition of the SME lending business of Manchester-based regional lender Bank North in October. The transaction included a £17.9 million loan book, but until today, the firm was only allowed to service existing customers.
Lending to SMEs has been one of the core business areas for LHV UK's parent company - Nasdaq Baltics listed LHV Group, giving it ready access to capital and funding. The acquisition of Bank North's loan book also included 20 sales and support staff and cooperation agreements with major loan brokers.
Madis Toomsalu, chairman of LHV UK, says: "There is a strong proven demand for SME loans, and we are confident that by leveraging our considerable experience and readily available capital, LHV UK can quickly establish and grow a strong lending business. Our strengths are technology-powered faster lending process and loan managers with long-term experience who understand the needs of local entrepreneurs."
LHV UK in June secured €35 million in funding to capitalise its new UK banking operation, which is currently pending approval from the FCA and Prudential Regulatory Authority.