OakNorth Bank completes nearly £900m of lending to British businesses in H1 2023


Ben Barbanel OakNorth

OakNorth Bank, the neobank for entrepreneurs, by entrepreneurs, has lent more than £886m to British businesses in the first half of this year, as it continues on its mission to support the UK’s “Missing Middle” – established small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) who are seeking to scale, but are routinely overlooked or underserved by incumbent banks and alternative lenders.

OakNorth’s unique approach to lending – building a granular, forward-looking view of performance and risk – enables it to better understand and support its customers throughout the loan lifecycle.

It has therefore been able to continue confidently lending at a time when many incumbent banks and alternative lenders are retrenching from the SME lending market, helping to drive positive outcomes for its customers.

For example, the first half of 2023 saw it fund the growth plans of leading UK hospitality and pub group Heartwood Collection, complete a £3m loan to LDC-backed e-learning software company, Omniplex Learning, to invest in its new St. Alban’s headquarters, and provide a £37m facility to Somerset-headquartered independent self-storage provider, UK Storage Company, to support a management buyout.

Ben Barbanel, Head of Debt Finance at OakNorth Bank, comments: 

“The UK’s Missing Middle continues to be the backbone of our economy so powering their growth ambitions is essential for enabling the country to overcome the current economic challenges.

Unfortunately, as we have seen in previous economic downturns, incumbent banks and alternative lenders tend to behave more like fair-weather friends, only supporting customers in the good times and retrenching in the bad.

We therefore see it as an opportunity to step up to the plate and support businesses at a time when others may be unwilling or unable to.

With the current cost-of-living crisis set to continue well into next year, we want to reassure businesses that we’re here to support them whether they need debt for growth, M&A, a management buy-out or buy-in, working capital or anything else.”