The challenger bank has opened a Manchester base at Ship Canal House after hiring a dedicated team focussed on SME lending.
The company has taken a 3,200 sq ft 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.
The bank’s existing clients include Frogmore, Galliard Homes, and Regal London, while deals concluded in the North West in the last 12 months include at Fortis’ 387-apartment Adelphi Wharf on Chapel Street, where the company backed the developer with a £20.7m loan.
OakNorth has also backed Select Property Group with a £40.2m loan for two of its towers, Laurence Place and Exchange Point, next to CitySuites. Designed by architect CallisonRTKL, Sir Robert McAlpine is currently on site at this project.
Further deals are expected to conclude in the coming weeks ranging between £500,000 and £30m 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 £4bn and has a further £2bn of qualified deals in the pipeline; its profits increased by 220% to £33.9m in its most recent 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.”