Manchester fintech start-up hires former British Business Bank boss as chairman

By Roger Baird on Tuesday 27 August 2019

Digital Banking

Small business lender B-North said banking veteran Ron Emerson will lead its board.

Manchester fintech start-up hires former British Business Bank boss as chairman
Image source: B-North co-founder and chief executive Jonathan Thompson (Left) and chairman Ron Emerson (Right).


A fintech start-up aimed at funding small firms has hired a banking veteran as chairman, as it sets up shop in the north of England.  

Manchester-based B-North appointed Ron Emerson to head its board, he replaces Craig IIey, on 16 September.

Emerson was the founding chairman of the British Business Bank, the UK government's development bank aimed at improving access to finance for the small and mid-sized business sector, established in 2014.

During his three years at the helm, the bank originated around £7bn of new cash that funded more than 40,000 new start-ups as it worked with more than 80 finance partners. The bank also delivered Northern Powerhouse and Midlands Engine funds totalling over £600m.


‘Lending pods’

During a long career, Emerson has been a senior banking advisor at The Bank of England, and has worked in senior roles for Standard Chartered Bank, Nomura and Bank of America.

B-North, founded last year, is currently applying for a banking licence. It announced an undisclosed amount of funding from the Greater Manchester Combined Authority last month to provide debt capital to Manchester businesses.

The start-up plans to operate ‘lending pods’ in major cities across the UK, will allow loans to be made available to small firms within as little as 10 working days.

B-North co-founder Jonathan Thompson said he was “thrilled” someone of Emerson’s vast experience will lead the board.


Crucial stage 

He added: “His [Emerson’s] impressive track record and extensive board experience is invaluable as B-North enters the next exciting stage of its development – a banking licence and establishing localised lending pods around the UK.” 

Emerson said: “The success of small and medium-sized enterprises [SMEs] relies heavily on having access to efficient funding, something which can all too often be lost due to the centralised legacy systems operated by traditional lenders. B-North aims to be there for SMEs at the crucial point in their development.”

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