Warrington Council takes £30m stake in Rowlands’ new SME bank

Russ Bowden Picture: George Thornton via Warrington Borough Council
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Warrington Council has taken a 33% stake in Redwood Bank, a subsidiary of Redwood Financial Partners controlled controlled by multi-millionaire and major Conservative Party contributor David Rowland and his son Jonathan, for £30m.

The Labour-controlled council’s executive board has approved the investment as part of Redwood’s capital funding.

Redwood Bank will offer secured SME lending products to owner occupied businesses, as well as to experienced commercial and residential property investors. It will also provide business deposit accounts.

As well as the Rowlands, Redwood’s backers also include the two of the US’s most successful financiers, TPG’s David Bonderman and Falcon Edge’s Rick Gerson.

Redwood’s headquarters is in Letchworth, from which a team of business development managers will provide a highly personalised, relationship-driven service, focusing on SMEs throughout its southern and eastern heartland regions of Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire.

Prior to launch Redwood Bank will open a northern regional office in Warrington, which will spearhead the its lending to SMEs in the town as well as the North West.

David Buckley has been appointed chairman and is a non-executive director, and Nigel Boothroyd will join as a non-executive director.

Alluding to the political differences between the Rowlands and the local authority, Warrington Council deputy leader Russ Bowden said: “This does probably look a bit off the wall. “But a good deal is a good deal, regardless of politics.”

“The big banks quite clearly have less appetite for small-business lending.”

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