Whiteaway Laidlaw reborn as SME lender Shawbrook

By Bridging Loan Directory -

A new bank targeting small and medium sized businesses and hoping to lend £250m in the next 12 months opened its doors today reports BusinessDesk.com.

Called Shawbrook Bank, the new institution includes Manchester-based lender Whiteaway Laidlaw – which was acquired from Manchester Building Society bfor around £10m by RBS Equity Finance in January – and is chaired by banking grandee Sir George Mathewson, who ran RBS until 2006.

Deputy chairman is Sir Brian Ivory, the former boss of Highland Distillers and a director of HBOS and chief executive is Owen Woodley, a former area director of retail banking with Barclays and director of Barclaycard.

Shawbrook joins the likes of Aldermore and Metro Bank in a list of new banks to have emerged since the credit crisis first hit, looking to challenge the ‘Big Four’ lenders – Barclays, HSBC, and part-nationalised banks Lloyds and RBS.

Although RBS Equity Finance has launched Shawbrook, the new business will compete with RBS and will be run independently of it.  RBS Equity Finance’s special opportunities fund is managing its investment in Shawbrook and most of the money for this fund comes from outside investors.

Despite political rhetoric over the need for more lending to the small business sector to help drive growth and create jobs, the major banks have faced constant criticism over their support for SMEs.

Shawbrook Bank is hoping to step into this void, chief executive Owen Woodley said: “It is clear that the SME sector is massively under-served today.”

He said Shawbrook was targeting making £250m worth of loans to small-and-medium sized companies in 2012, and added there was strong demand for loans from businesses that might have failed to get credit from the bigger banks.

“There is no question that the demand is there.”

As well as Whiteaway Laidlaw – which before Manchester Building Society was owned by home shopping group GUS – Shawbrook is made up of two other lenders acquired by RBS Equity Finance, Link Loans and the lending platform of Commercial First.

You can visit the Shawbrook Bank website by clicking here.