OakNorth expands Northern operation to keep pace with demand

By Ryan Weeks on Tuesday 11 December 2018

Editor's PickDigital Banking

The challenger bank is doubling the size of its team in Manchester.

Fintech ‘unicorn’ OakNorth, a challenger bank, is doubling down on its Northern operations.

Next year, the bank will be doubling the size of its Manchester office to 30 people. The move comes in response to increased borrower demand across the North of England.

The bank hopes to bolster its local expertise within the region to better support credit decisions. It has been active in Manchester since launch and has made some sizable loans, including a £40.2m loan to a property developer named Select Property and a £33m loan to another named Mabec Property.

OakNorth has grown both its loanbook and its valuation rapidly since launching in late 2015. Successive mammoth fundraises – most recently a $100m raise in September – have seen its valuation balloon to $2.3bn. It has lent £2bn to UK businesses to date. Yet despite the breakneck growth of its loanbook, the bank claims not to have suffered a single default.

OakNorth plays in the ‘missing middle’ of the SME loan market, dealing with ticket sizes too large for the nascent alternative lending market and too small for banks and private equity funds at the larger end of the scale.

Tim Newns, CEO of MIDAS (Manchester’s inward investment agency), said in a statement: “OakNorth doubling its team in Greater Manchester perfectly reflects the booming business environment in the city region and across the wider North of England. With a growing fintech market as well as the largest regional financial, professional and business services industry outside of London, employing more than 320,000 people, Manchester is fast becoming the business location of choice for firms looking to capitalise on our finance and tech talent.”


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