OakNorth strengthens team and opens Manchester office

George Sell George Sell Uploaded 20 August 2019


UK: Challenger bank OakNorth has opened a Manchester office at Ship Canal House after hiring a dedicated team focused on SME lending.

The company has taken a 3,200 square foot space at the building on King Street with space for 60 people. David Rowlinson has joined from Investec to head up the banks’ property finance team, while Christopher Swarbrick has joined from Europa Capital Debt Investment as a senior director in property finance, having previously spent six years at Barclays and eight years at RBS.

Other hires includes two debt finance directors, Stewart Haworth and Daniel Martin, who have joined from Santander and NatWest respectively, along with property finance associate Dave Taberner who has joined from CBRE Capital Advisors.

In the serviced apartment sector, OakNorth is finding the development of a Sticky property in Liverpool, and has also lent to thesqua.re. Other clients include Frogmore, Galliard Homes, and Regal London.

OakNorth has also backed Select Property Group with a £40.2 million loan for two of its towers, Laurence Place and Exchange Point, next to CitySuites.

Further deals are expected to conclude in the coming weeks ranging between £500,000 and £30 million across a variety of sectors, although the team will be primarily looking at residential and mixed-use developments, with some deals in student accommodation, care homes, serviced apartments, and hotels.

To date, OakNorth has lent almost £4 billion and has a further £2 billion of qualified deals in the pipeline. Its profits increased by 220 per cent to £33.9 million in its latest financial year.

Ben Barbanel, head of debt finance at OakNorth Bank, said: “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 and building strong relationships with businesses and property developers in the North, we have made several senior hires in Manchester who will be originating and transacting deals.”



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