OakNorth, the next-generation credit platform, has announced the appointment of Phillip Hammond, former Chancellor of the Exchequer, to its Advisory Board.
In his role, he will work with OakNorth’s clients as well as senior policymakers around the world, to redefine lending to small and medium-sized businesses.
Before he became a politician, Hammond ran an SME housebuilding business – a sector that has seen a record decline in numbers in recent years as large housebuilders gain market share – and experienced first-hand the challenges they face.
As Chancellor, he led a pro-business agenda that supported small and medium-sized businesses with initiatives including: the Bank Referral Scheme, the British Business Bank’s ENABLE Guarantee and ENABLE Build Programmes, cutting business rates by a third, and taking steps to ensure these businesses are paid on time by large corporates.
These initiatives and Hammond’s values are very much aligned with OakNorth’s mission to support small and medium-sized businesses by improving their access to finance.
In the UK, OakNorth uses its platform to lend directly through OakNorth Bank which launched in 2015 and has lent £3.85bn, directly helping with the creation of 13,000 new homes (of which over 90% are affordable and social housing) and 17,000 new jobs. Over the last six months, OakNorth Bank has established additional lending teams in Manchester, Bristol and Birmingham to further support businesses in those regions.
Hammond was also at the forefront of establishing the UK as a global fintech leader, launching the government’s first Fintech Sector Strategy, appointing Fintech Regional Envoys and establishing Fintech Bridges with Australia, China and South Korea.
Rishi Khosla, co-founder of OakNorth, said: “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. 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. We’re delighted that he’s joined us and look forward to working together to change commercial banking globally, so it can truly address the financing requirements of small and medium-sized business.”
Philip Hammond, former Chancellor of the Exchequer and Independent Adviser at OakNorth, continued: “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.”