Redwood Bank, Britain’s newest business bank for SMEs (small and medium sized enterprises), has announced that just over four months after securing its initial banking licence, it has completed its “Mobilisation” phase and has now opened for business, offering secured SME mortgages for business owners, as well as for experienced commercial and residential property investors. It has also launched a competitive business deposit account.
- Offices open in Letchworth and Warrington
- Warrington Borough Council is a major shareholder
- New products launched include SME mortgages for business owners and professional landlords, and a competitive 35-day business savings account.
- The first business bank with 100% cloud-based infrastructure.
Its speed to market is the result of a combination of factors, including having a very experienced and proven management team, and the fact that it’s the first business bank with 100% cloud- based infrastructure, which improves efficiency as well as security. This demonstrates the importance Redwood places on speed and efficiency in its service delivery, being one of its key values.
The bank has a unique ownership. It is wholly-owned by Redwood Financial Partners Ltd, a company controlled by Jonathan and David Rowland, in which Warrington Borough Council has a 33% stake. As part of this, the council’s executive board has approved an investment of £30m in Redwood as part of the bank’s capital funding.
Redwood Bank (redwoodbank.co.uk) is headquartered in Letchworth, from which an experienced team provides a highly personalised, relationship-driven service nationwide. The bank’s main focus will initially be Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire as well as in Warrington, where Redwood Bank have also opened a Warrington & North West regional office to support SME growth in the town and region.
"We are delighted to be open for business so soon following the issuing of our initial banking licence. We aim to offer a real alternative for small and medium sized organisations, providing them with simple transparent loans and savings accounts, great service and a promise that our money is being invested into British businesses and our local communities.
As many traditional banks are hampered by poor lending practices from their past and their legacy systems, we are perfectly positioned to help British SMEs take advantage of property opportunities by offering a highly-tailored service for clients that is built around our very experienced regional managers."
- Gary Wilkinson, Co-Founder and Chief Executive of Redwood Bank
Gary Wilkinson will oversee the day-to-day running of the bank, and will be supported by an experienced management team. The Board includes Jonathan Rowland, Co-founder and Non-Executive Director of Redwood Bank, as well as David Buckley, who became Chairman in June this year. David has held various senior roles in financial services companies including Morgan Stanley, Morgan Stanley Bank International and Goldman Sachs and is currently Independent Non-Executive Director and Chair of the Audit Committee for CIBC World Markets Plc.
As well as providing tailored lending products to business owners and professional landlords, Redwood Bank has also launched a 35 Day Business Savings Account offering 0.45% AER variable. Redwood Bank is covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), the UK’s deposit protection scheme, which protects customers’ eligible deposits up to a total of £85,000.
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Gary Wilkinson, Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer
Gary Wilkinson is a qualified chartered accountant and has 30 years’ experience within financial services, in both the banking and building society sectors. He has held senior positions at Alliance & Leicester Plc, Nationwide Building Society and Newcastle Building Society before joining Pensions Bank in September 2010 as Chief Executive Officer. Gary facilitated the transfer of the undertaking and assets of Pensions Bank in June 2012 to a newly authorised Challenger Bank called Cambridge & Counties Bank (CCB) and became its CEO. Gary co-ordinated and led the submission of the banking licence Application for Authorisation for CCB and led its successful launch in 2012. The Bank moved into profit on a monthly basis just 13 months after launch. When Gary left CCB at the end of 2014 his legacy was one of a secure, robust bank, with a powerful brand, experienced staff and being very well positioned to build upon its successful development to date. Gary is also a Non- Executive Director of Hinckley & Rugby Building Society.
Jonathan Rowland, Co-Founder & Non-Executive Director
Jonathan Rowland has 25 years’ experience as an Investor and Director of Public and Private Companies globally. He has been part responsible for the development of the Rowland Family businesses over that period including leading the restructuring and recapitalisation of Kaupthing Bank Luxembourg. The transaction involved a demerger of the existing business into two new businesses. The first business, Banque Havilland S.A, was a new entity granted a Banking Licence by the CSSF and capitalised by the Rowland Family. The second business was a securitisation vehicle called Pillar Securitisation S.A to which the majority of the Loan Book was placed. Between 2009-2014, Jonathan held the positions of Chief Executive Officer of Banque Havilland S.A between 2009-2012, Chief Executive Officer of Banque Havilland (Monaco) SAM between 2012-2013 and was a Board Member of both at all times.