Former chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond has joined small business lender Oaknorth as an adviser.
Hammond will work with clients of the fintech startup and “senior policymakers around the world” on the issue of small and medium-sized firms’ access to loans.
The ex-Treasury boss said: “I am delighted to be joining Oaknorth’s advisory board at such an exciting point in the company’s history. Oaknorth is the flagship of the UK’s vital and fast-growing fintech sector – attracting record-levels of investment and generating sustainable profits while bringing much-needed change to an underserved area of the banking market.
“Small and medium-sized businesses are the lifeblood of the British economy and communities globally. The development by Oaknorth of a platform to deliver cost-effective lending to them is a major boost to the potential of not only the British economy, but economies worldwide. I look forward to being part of both Oaknorth’s growth story in the UK and its expansion into international markets, licensing its platform to partners across the globe.”
Hammond set up his own housebuilding company, Castlemead, in 1984 and served as its director until he entered politics a decade later.
Oaknorth said this gave the ex-chancellor insight into the issues faced by smaller firms as large housebuilders dominated the market.
The fintech also praised Hammond’s record as Treasury boss, pointing to pro-business initiatives like the Bank Referral Scheme, designed to improve small business access to finance.
“We set up Oaknorth because of the challenges we experienced in securing finance from commercial banks when trying to scale our first business – challenges that Philip himself experienced as an SME housebuilder,” co-founder Rishi Khosla said.
“During his time as chancellor, Philip proactively advocated for small and medium-sized businesses and the fintech sector – two areas that have clear synergies with Oaknorth. He brings both an international perspective, having worked with finance ministers across the globe, as well as a deep understanding of the British economy. He will spend time with global clients and policymakers, as well as advising us on the continued expansion of our UK loan book.”