SME challenger bank B-North raises £2m funding
B-North, a Manchester-based challenger bank, has raised over £2 million funding from its existing and new investors through equity crowdfunding platforms Crowdcube and Growthfunders. This adds to the £4.2 million it has already raised in earlier rounds.
The bank, which plans to focus on the SME sector and is yet to launch, says it will use the new funds “to continue the planned expansion of its workforce and infrastructure”. It submitted its banking licence application to the UK regulators in Q3 last year.
“Essential lending solutions for SMEs will be initiated through the establishment of its regional ‘Lending Pods’, the first of which is expected to open in Manchester in Q2 2020,” it says. “B-North’s proposed regional pod model and cloud banking technology will allow it to lend up to ten times faster than other banks in order to help SMEs grow and develop.”
There are 5.6 million small businesses operating in the UK, comprising 61% of the UK workforce, so B-North hopes to capitalise on this. Furthermore, the bank anticipates this number to grow “as the UK’s relationship with the EU evolves and it becomes more reliant on ‘home-grown’ enterprise”.
The company has been building its proposition over the last couple of years, including selecting the technology – Mambu and nCino for a core banking package (lending) and Newcastle Strategic Solutions for an outsourced deposit-taking solution.
It also appointed Ron Emerson, first chair of the UK government’s economic development bank, British Business Bank, as its chairman.