British Business Bank Appoints Interim CEO
- Catherine Lewis La Torre appointed Interim CEO from 1 September
Catherine Lewis La Torre has been appointed Interim CEO of the Government-owned British Business Bank and will take up the role from 1 September. Catherine currently holds the position of CEO of the Bank’s two commercial subsidiaries, British Patient Capital and British Business Investments.
In October 2019, Keith Morgan CBE announced that he would be standing down from the role of Chief Executive of the British Business Bank by the end of 2020, after eight years at the helm of the UK’s economic development bank.
Keith was appointed in January 2013 to lead the design and establishment of the Bank and was made Chief Executive in December 2013. Since its inception, the Bank has grown significantly under Keith’s leadership and at the end of 2019 it supported more than 94,000 businesses with over £7.7bn of loans or investments through its various programmes.
Catherine Lewis La Torre has built a career in venture capital and private equity fund management. She joined the British Business Bank in 2016 from Cardano Risk Management, where she was Head of Private Equity, responsible for managing a global portfolio of private capital fund investments with over £1bn of commitments. Prior to this she was a Partner with secondaries specialist, Fondinvest Capital, in Paris having previously been one of the founding partners of fund-of-funds manager, Proventure which focused on venture and growth capital investing in Europe.
Since 23 March, the British Business Bank has launched four Coronavirus business loan schemes, so far delivering almost £35bn of additional finance to over 830,000 extra businesses. During this 11-week period the Bank has grown the amount of finance it supports to businesses across the UK by a factor of six and increased the number of businesses it is supporting by more than ten times.
This Interim CEO appointment allows government to map out the next phase of the Bank’s development before commencing the search for a permanent successor. Keith Morgan will work with Catherine Lewis La Torre through the Autumn to ensure an orderly transition.
British Business Bank Chair, Lord Smith, paid tribute to Keith’s leadership of the institution: “Keith has been an outstanding leader of the British Business Bank, building the business from scratch to create an organisation with considerable scale, reach and impact on businesses across the country. Under his leadership, the Bank has supported start-ups and growing companies in every region and nation of the UK and has responded at speed to build a series of large scale loan programmes to help UK businesses get through the Coronavirus emergency.”
Lord Smith welcomed Catherine Lewis La Torre’s appointment as Interim CEO: “Catherine is a highly respected industry leader, with more than 30 years’ investment management experience and a strong track record of success. She has successfully led the Bank’s commercial subsidiaries, British Patient Capital and British Business Investments and has made a considerable contribution to the Bank since she joined in 2016. I am delighted that she has agreed to take on the role of Interim CEO and look forward to working with her as we support the UK’s economic recovery.”
Notes to Editors
Covid-19 Loan Schemes
The Future Fund will support the UK’s innovative businesses currently affected by Covid-19. These businesses have been unable to access other government business support programmes, such as CBILS, because they are either pre-revenue or pre-profit and typically rely on equity investment. The scheme will deliver an initial commitment of £250m of new government funding through convertible loan notes which will be unlocked by private investment on a match funded basis. Developed by government and delivered by the British Business Bank, the Future Fund launched for applications in May and will initially be open until the end of September.
Bounce Back Loans Scheme (BBLS)
BBLS is a demand-led scheme offering lending that targets small and micro businesses, providing loans from £2k up to 25% of the business’ turnover with a maximum loan of £50k. Providing lenders with a 100% government-backed guarantee and standardising the application form has led to a faster process with many loans becoming available within days. The Bounce Back Loans Scheme enables businesses to obtain a six-year term loan at a government set interest rate of 2.5% a year. The government will cover interest payable in the first year.
Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans Scheme (CBILS)
CBILS is a demand-led scheme offering lending to smaller businesses with turnover of up to £45m. Invoice finance and asset finance facilities are available from £1k to £5m, while term loans and revolving credit facilities are available from £50k to £5m (the lower limit for these has increased from £1k following the introduction of BBLS). The government makes a payment to cover interest and lender-levied fees under CBILS for the first 12 months. Following the launch of the Bounce Back Loans Scheme, CBILS will no longer be available for new loans and revolving credit facilities (overdrafts) of £50,001 or less but remains available for Asset and Invoice Finance facilities below £50,001.
Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loans Scheme (CLBILS)
CLBILS is a demand led scheme targeted at larger businesses with a turnover of more than £45m. It offers term loans, revolving credit facilities, invoice finance and asset finance. The maximum amount available through CLBILS to a borrower and its group has been increased from £50m to £200m. Term loans and revolving credit facilities over £50m will be offered by CLBILS lenders which have secured additional accreditation. The maximum size for invoice finance and asset finance facilities remains at £50m.
Companies borrowing more than £50m through CLBILS will be subject to further restrictions on dividend payments, senior pay and share buy-backs during the period of the loan.
About the British Business Bank
The British Business Bank is the UK government’s economic development bank. Established in November 2014, its mission is to make finance markets for smaller businesses work more effectively, enabling those businesses to prosper, grow and build UK economic activity. Its remit is to design, deliver and efficiently manage UK-wide smaller business access to finance programmes for the UK government.
As well as increasing both supply and diversity of finance for UK smaller businesses through its programmes, the Bank works to raise awareness of the finance options available to smaller businesses:
- The Business Finance Guide (published in partnership with the ICAEW and a further 21 business and finance organisations) impartially sets out the range of finance options available to businesses at all stages – from start-ups to SMEs and growing mid-sized companies. Businesses can take the interactive journey at thebusinessfinanceguide.co.uk.
- The British Business Bank Finance Hub provides independent and impartial information to high-growth businesses about their finance options, featuring short films, expert guides, checklists and articles from finance providers to help make their application a success. The new site also features case studies and lessons from real businesses to guide businesses through the process of applying for growth finance.
As the holding company of the group operating under the trading name of British Business Bank, British Business Bank plc is wholly owned by HM government and is not authorised or regulated by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) or the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). The British Business Bank operates under its own brand name through a number of subsidiaries, none of which are authorised and regulated by the FCA.
British Business Bank plc and its principal operating subsidiaries are not banking institutions and do not operate as such. A complete legal structure chart for British Business Bank plc and its subsidiaries can be found on the British Business Bank plc website.