OakNorth bolsters regional presence



OakNorth – the bank for entrepreneurs, by entrepreneurs – is bolstering its regional presence with the appointment of four senior team members in Manchester, the Midlands and the South West.

Despite ongoing economic uncertainty as a result of Brexit, OakNorth, which made £33.9m pre-tax profit in 2018, continues to see increasing demand from businesses and property developers across the UK, keen to pursue their growth ambitions. The business has lent £3bn since its launch in September 2015 and the last 12 months has seen it receive over £500m of repayments and a 160% increase in total loan facilities.

Christopher Swarbrick, who has 18 years’ banking experience, joins as a Senior Director, Debt Finance from Europa Capital Debt Investment and will lead on day to day responsibilities for the team in Manchester. He will report directly into Ben Barbanel, Head of Debt Finance, who is based in OakNorth’s London HQ. He will be joined by David Rowlinson, who has 33 years’ experience from a multitude of institutions, and joins from Investec where most recently, he led lending operations from their Manchester office.

Christopher Richards joins from RBS where he spent 11 years and most recently held the role of Senior Relationship Manager, managing a portfolio of 40 complex banking relationships. He will be based out of Birmingham – OakNorth’s first hire in the Midlands. Tom Windett, who has over 12 years’ experience in deal structuring and transaction management for corporate, entrepreneur and family office clients – most recently at HSBC – will be based in Bristol and will cover the South West.

Ben Barbanel, Head of Debt Finance at OakNorth, commented:

“Our co-founder, Rishi Khosla, has always said that the best businesses thrive in times of economic turmoil. Despite ongoing economic uncertainty, we continue to see incredible demand from British businesses keen to pursue their growth ambitions, and because most high-street banks have been retrenching from SME lending, this has only been compounded.

“One of the features about our process that our borrowers greatly appreciate is the ability to discuss their finance needs directly with the Credit Committee. To ensure we can continue offering this experience whilst providing British businesses and property developers with access to customised debt finance options, we have made several senior hires in Manchester, Bristol and Birmingham – all of whom have incredibly strong regional knowledge and over a century of experience between them.”