LONDON — Entrepreneur-focused bank OakNorth has more than doubled
its loan book this year, lending out £430 million since January.
OakNorth, founded in 2015, now has a loan book of £710 million
with £700 million worth of deals in the pipeline.
CEO and cofounder Rishi Khosla told Business Insider that last
June OakNorth had a lifetime loan book of just £100 million.
By contrast, the bank closed £100 million-worth of loans in June
this year, underlining just how fast the startup bank is growing.
Khosla, a serial entrepreneur, founded OakNorth with business
partner Joel Perlman to support UK entrepreneurs scaling up their
businesses. Recent deals include a £20 million loan to restaurant
chain Brasserie Blanc to fund expansion and a £600,000 loan to
coffee shop Notes.
Khosla said the loan book growth shows that there are still good,
growing businesses in the UK post-Brexit. But he said he is
beginning to see companies suffer from a shortage of talent.
“Clearly availability of people is becoming an issue,” Kholsa
told Business Insider. “I’m hearing that the labour market is
tightening. It’s especially a concern in retail, restaurants —
anything that’s consumer facing.”
Roughly half of OakNorth’s loan book is to house builders and the
bank says it has helped fund 2,000 new homes in the UK. OakNorth
recently hired Hemesh Patel from Investec and Eamonn O’Rourke
from Titlestone Property Finance as Property Finance Directors to
help support this side of the busines. OakNorth now has 140 staff
across the UK.
Ben Barbanel, who heads up OakNorth’s debt finance team, said in
“At the beginning of the year, we said that we would lend £500m
to SMEs based on our pipeline at the time, so to reach £430m with
another four months left to go in the year, is an amazing
accomplishment. In addition to this, we’ve had over £150m in
repayments, demonstrating the quality of businesses we’ve lent
to, and a quarter of our deal flow now comes from existing
clients – a testament to the strong relationships developed by