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LHV UK to acquire Bank North’s SME lending after shutdown

LHV UK will take on the bank's £17.9m loan book and its lending team, accelerating its entry into the SME space.

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Erki Kilu/LHV UK.

After failing to raise the money it needed in a Series B round, Bank North is winding down its operations, and LHV UK is stepping in to pick up the pieces.

Just last week, when the news was announced, a letter to shareholders noted that the bank was in talks with a third party to sell its £17.9m loan book and transfer its lending team.

So far, LVH UK has provided services to more than 200 fintech companies, including Paysafe, Blockchain, Monese,Wise,Currencycloud and Coinbase.

Now, the banking services provider is set to acquire Bank North’s whole SME lending business.

This will enable it to “accelerate its strategy” to expand to serving SMEs, according to LHV, with SME lending being a core business for its parent company – and Bank North investor – LHV Group.

“The demand for SME lending is well proven, and this acquisition enables LHV UK to accelerate our plans to expand to servicing SME companies,” LHV UK CEO Erki Kilu said.

“By utilising the experience of LHV UK’s Executive Management in the SME lending space and our access to funding and capital, which is essential when running a loan business, we can quickly build on the solid foundation laid by Bank North’s team.”

Bank North has had to “initiate a solvent wind down” of its operations after it did not manage to raise the funds it needed to comply with the banking licence it secured in 2021.

LHV UK will now acquire the bank’s loan book and technology system, as well as the transfer of 20 employees and cooperation agreements with commercial brokers.

Once the business and assets transfer is complete – which should be later this month – LHV UK will continue to operate the same business model, it said.

Kilu explained that the SME lending business will remain regional in office in both in London and Manchester, with the latter becoming the company’s third hub in the UK.

 “Following a competitive and independently managed process, we are pleased that we were able to agree on this transaction with LHV UK, which not only preserves 20 jobs and the Bank North legacy but also ensures that SMEs will get much-needed finance from a progressive and well-funded provider,” Bank North Chair Ron Emerson CBE said.

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