Silicon Valley Bank aims for UK licence

SILICON Valley Bank (SVB), the American lender that has backed Twitter and Cisco Systems, is applying for a UK banking licence in a move that could bring serious competition to the commercial market.

The US-based firm aims to open its first branch in London next year if the FSA gives it the thumbs up.

SVB, which already has a small subsidiary in the UK, would go head-to-head with established players such as Barclays and Lloyds Banking Group in offering loans, current accounts and trade finance support to small and medium-sized businesses. It would also rival start-ups like Sandy Chen’s Walton & Co, which is trying to raise £100m through a private placing.

However, SVB focuses on technology and life science businesses.