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LHV UK kicks off SME loans, eyes UK banking licence

Fresh from its Bank North acquisition, LHV will start lending loans to SMEs in the UK.

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Madis Toomsalu/LHV UK.

LHV UK will start issuing SME loans backed by commercial property starting from £500,000 after receiving approval from the Financial Conduct Authority.

In October LHV UK,  the UK operation for Estonian-listed financial services group LHV Group, scooped up Manchester-based Bank North after it failed to raise a Series B funding round. 

While this enabled it to start servicing those customers already part of Bank North’s £18m loan book, LHV UK had to wait for regulatory permission to lend to new customers.

The LHV Group, founded in Estonia in 1999 by Rain Lõhmus and Andres Viisemann, has been an active SME lender in the region for a number of years but this represents its latest foray into the UK market.

Following the Bank North acquisition, it now has a Manchester-based team who will service the northern region while its London-based team will be serving the southeast. Both will be operated via local commercial brokers.

“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,” said Madis Toomsalu, Chairman of LHV UK. 

Our strengths are technology-powered faster lending process and loan managers with long-term experience who understand the needs of local entrepreneurs," he added.

LHV UK is focusing on winning a full UK banking licence, after submitting an application in March 2022.

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