Estonian banking group to take a chunk out of Manchester challenger bank B-North
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Estonian bank LHV Group is set to take a bite out of Manchester-headquartered challenger bank, B-North, when it receives its banking license.
LHV will invest £4.45m in B-North, a regional SME lender, for a 9.9 per cent stake when it’s handed the license from UK Prudential Regulatory Authority and Financial Conduct Authority.
The commitment from the Estonian banking and financial services company marks an important step in B-North’s ‘Series A’ fundraise.
The investment from LHV adds to B-North’s growing list of high-profile backers, including Greater Manchester Combined Authority and Channel 4 Ventures, as well as a series of successful crowdfunding rounds, securing investment from members of the public.
LHV Group is the largest domestic financial group and capital provider in Estonia. Its services are used by 269,000 clients, and pension funds managed by LHV have 179,000 active clients.
LHV’s UK branch offers banking infrastructure to 140 international financial services companies, via which LHV’s payment services reach clients around the world.
The investment announcement comes as B-North accelerates towards securing its banking licence, and completion of a £20m ‘Series A’ fundraise.
The firm aims to disrupt the UK’s £150bn SME lending market by establishing the ‘first truly regional lending bank in 150 years.’
Through its network of regional ‘lending pods’ combined with a state-of-the-art cloud-based banking system, ‘B-North aims to deliver loans to business 10x faster than the industry standard.’
The first of B-North’s pods are expected to open in Manchester later in 2021.
Jonathan Thompson, co-founder and CEO of B-North said: “We are delighted to welcome LHV as one of our lead investors.
“It is great to have the opportunity to work alongside a business that shares our belief in the importance of backing growing enterprises – and one that has a strong track record for doing so.
“LHV’s commitment will form part of the £20m capital raise we need to secure before being granted our banking licence.
“This investment from LHV is a significant boost to our capital raise and shows real momentum and investor appetite for our vision for business lending in the UK and is the latest step in our journey from B-North to Bank North.”