Bank North has secured a banking licence from the Bank of England as it looks to target northern cities with regionally focused lenders.
The upcoming lender will open in October to small businesses in and around Greater Manchester, with plans to start taking retail deposits next year.
The bank’s boss Jonathan Thompson explained that Bank North wants to go against the grain in terms of traditional banking and be “the antithesis of the heavily centralised UK banking market”.
Bank North, backed by both Manchester’s local government and Skipton Building Society, will enter a banking landscape dominated by a handful of national lenders, which also have international reach.
However, it is one of a growing number new banks who are looking to offer regional expertise, targeting “the regions in particular [that] have felt the pain of traditional banks scaling back their frontline teams over the past decade,” Thompson added.
“If you bank with an incumbent, you’re likely to be dealing with someone in a central contact centre, but the UK is complex — each region has its own strengths and characteristics, so that regional empathy is absolutely critical.”
North Bank is the first emerging lender to have bagged a new licence, but Birmingham Bank earlier this year snapped up a small existing bank to target a more local area.
Scotland’s Alba and Newcastle’s GBB are also looking to join the local banking market, joining North Bank’s bid to dismantle the current centralised model.