OakNorth becomes the first challenger bank to partner with British Business Bank on its ‘Help to Grow’ programme

Press release 11 January 2017

  • OakNorth is delighted to be the first challenger bank to sign up to the British Business Bank’s Help to Grow programme;
  • Help to Grow supports lenders in providing debt finance of up to £2m to fast-growth businesses across all sectors;
  • Eligible fast-growth businesses will be able to benefit from lower interest rates.

OakNorth – the bank for entrepreneurs, by entrepreneurs – has become the first challenger bank to partner with the British Business Bank in its Help to Grow programme, which is expected to support up to £1bn of lending to fast-growth businesses by 2020.

Under the Help to Grow programme, fast-growth SMEs can take out a loan of up to £2m to support the development of new products and processes, invest in research and innovation, and target new export markets. The lending is available to businesses across all sectors, but innovative businesses in the manufacturing, creative industries and technology sectors are expected to benefit most.

OakNorth, which typically lends between £1m and £20m to fast-growth businesses and entrepreneurs, launched in September 2015 and has since grown its loan book to around £300m with a further £500m in the pipeline for 2017. Its clients include restaurants, bars, hotels, nurseries, co-working and co-living companies, care homes, law firms, property developers, media, tech and security businesses.

Since launching, we have been committed to helping businesses achieve their growth ambitions – joining Help to Grow will provide us with an additional platform in which to do this. One of the key challenges facing entrepreneurs and business owners in the UK is securing debt finance, especially once they’ve moved beyond the start-up phase and are making a profit and looking to grow. This is an opportunity to change that and ensure that entrepreneurs are able to secure growth capital throughout every phase of the business journey. We’re very excited to be the first challenger bank to join the programme and are already in conversation with a number of eligible businesses who may be able to benefit. Rishi Khosla CEO and co-founder of OakNorth
At the British Business Bank, one of our principal objectives is to increase the diversity of funding options available to growing UK businesses. Supporting new entrants to the SME finance market and innovative forms of lending are of key importance to us in achieving that aim. We are therefore delighted to welcome OakNorth Bank as a new partner in our Help to Grow programme. Judith Hartley British Business Bank’s Managing Director for Lending Solutions

Further Information

Notes to editors

About OakNorth Bank Limited

Launched in September 2015, OakNorth is a UK bank that provides fast, flexible and accessible debt finance to entrepreneurs and mid-sized growth businesses. In the last 18 months, the bank has:

  • Secured the third new banking license in the UK for 150 years (March 2015);
  • Become the first UK bank to have its core systems fully-hosted on the cloud (May 2016);
  • Turned cash flow positive (August 2016),
  • Grown its loan book to £300m;
  • Raised over £280m in retail deposits from more than 5,000 savers;

And become one of the UK’s fastest-growing financial services companies.
The bank was founded by Rishi Khosla and Joel Perlman, themselves entrepreneurs who were inspired to launch OakNorth following the challenges they faced in securing debt finance from high street banks for their previous business, Copal Amba.

Unlike incumbent banks who tend to only accept real estate as collateral to secure loans against, OakNorth considers multiple assets including: stock, debtors, intellectual property, and plant and machinery. It also gives clients the ability to discuss their loan requirements and growth ambitions directly with the Credit Committee.

This personal and transparent process enables deals – from first meeting to disbursement of cash – to be typically completed in weeks rather than the months it takes at larger institutions.

The Board is chaired by Cyrus Ardalan, former vice-Chairman of Barclays, and includes Lord (Adair) Turner, Senior Independent Director, and Robert Burgess, Non-Executive Director. Lord (Francis) Maude is an Independent Adviser to OakNorth Bank and a member of its advisory board.

It is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority.

Visit oaknorth.com for more information.

About British Business Bank

The British Business Bank is the UK’s national 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. Our remit is to design, deliver and efficiently manage UK-wide smaller business access to finance programmes for the UK government.

The British Business Bank is currently supporting over 51,000 businesses, working through its 90 finance partners. Its programmes support over £3.2bn of finance to UK smaller businesses and participate in a further £4.6bn of finance to UK small mid-cap businesses.

British Business Bank plc and its principal operating subsidiaries are not banking institutions and do not operate as such. More information, including a legal structure chart for British Business Bank plc and its subsidiaries, can be found on the British Business Bank website.

British Business Bank plc is a public limited company registered in England and Wales, registration number 08616013, registered office at Foundry House, 3 Millsands, Sheffield, S3 8NH.

British Business Bank plc is the holding company of the group operating under the trading name of British Business Bank. It is an economic development bank wholly owned by HM Government which 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, one of which is authorised and regulated by the FCA.