Tory donor-backed challenger bank Redwood gets licence and financial backing from Warrington Borough Council

William Turvill
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Redwood was founded by chief exec Gary Wilkinson (left) and Jonathan Rowland (right), who controls the bank's owner, Redwood Financial Partners, with his father David Rowland and Warrington Borough Council (Source: Redwood Bank)

A challenger bank backed by a Conservative Party donor has taken another stride towards launch today.

Redwood Bank, which will focus on lending to small companies, today announced it has secured a banking licence following approval from the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority.

Owned by Redwood Financial Partners, which is controlled by Tory donor David Rowland and his son Jonathan, the bank also today announced a new partnership with Warrington Borough Council.

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The council has acquired a 33 per cent take in Redwood Financial Partners. The £30m investment has been approved by the council’s executive board.

Redwood, which expects to launch later this year, also said today that it would be opening a northern regional office in Warrington. The office will be used to “spearhead the bank’s lending to SMEs in the town as well as the bank’s heartland region of the North West”.

This office will be in addition to the bank’s headquarters in Letchworth, which will focus on the southern and eastern “heartland” regions of Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire.

“With the opportunities being created by Brexit and the financial services sector’s rehabilitation, this is a great time to be entering the market,” said Jonathan Rowland.

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We extend a warm welcome to Warrington Borough Council as a new shareholder in Redwood. It’s clear that the council shares our vision to create a robust, secure and profitable bank that is not only well placed to deliver strong returns but also to stimulate sustainable economic growth in Warrington and the surrounding area. This is a unique public-private partnership that heralds a return to community banking in the UK.

Co-founder and chief executive Gary Wilkinson said: “We are well on track to open to customers later this year with a proposition built on competitive rates, superior service and straightforward products.”

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