By Oliver Smith on Tuesday 5 January 2021
The first new agricultural bank to open its doors in nearly 100 years.
The ‘OakNorth of agriculture’ is set to launch next week after clinching an additional £15m fundraise from investors including Wheatsheaf Group, part of the Duke of Westminster’s Grosvenor Estate.
Oxbury Bank, the specialist lender for farmers, says it will be the first new agricultural bank to open its doors in nearly 100 years.
Wheatsheaf’s investment in Oxbury, first reported by The Telegraph, means that the Duke of Westminster, Hugh Grosvenor, is indirectly a shareholder in the venture along with other existing backers who took part in the Series C funding round, including Frontier Agriculture and Hutchinson Group.
Oxbury’s launch comes just under 12 months after Oxbury, led by CEO and ClearBank co-founder James Farrar, received its banking licence from the Bank of England’s Prudential Regulation Authority and the Financial Conduct Authority.
Since then Farrar and his team have been building out Oxbury’s products, which include Oxbury Farm Credit, a revolving credit account to help farmers fund the annual investment in crops or livestock, Oxbury Loans and an Oxbury savings account.
Last July Farrar announced that Oxbury had partnered with his former employer ClearBank to provide clearing and payments for Oxbury, while Naqoda is providing the core banking platform.
According to Farrar 70 per cent of lending in the agricultural sector is still controlled by the big four banks, a market which Oxbury is aiming to capture 5 per cent of by 2025.
Oxbury is also backed by farming investors, headed up by crop protection company Hutchinsons, US commodities giant Cargilll and Frontier Agriculture, a grain supplier unit established by Associated British Foods (ABF).
UPDATE 2021-01-06 - Amended to clarify that Wheatsheaf was the lead investor as part of the Series C, not the sole investor.