New bank backed by Warrington Council opens

The challenger bank backed by Warrington Borough Council has opened for business just more than four months after securing its initial banking licence.

Warrington Borough Council has taken a 33% stake in the firm that owns Redwood Bank, Britain’s newest business bank for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs).

The council’s executive board has approved an investment of £30 million in Redwood — which has a 100% cloud-based infrastructure — as part of the bank’s capital funding.

Redwood is wholly owned by Redwood Financial Partners Ltd, a company controlled by Jonathan and David Rowland, in which Warrington Borough Council has a 33% stake.

As part of this, the council’s executive board has approved an investment of £30 million in Redwood as part of the bank’s capital funding.

Redwood Bank is headquartered in Letchworth and the bank’s main focus will initially be Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire as well as in Warrington, where Redwood has opened a Warrington & North West regional office to support SME growth in the town and region.

Earlier this year, Warrington Borough Council’s executive board member for corporate finance, Cllr Russ Bowden, said: “This is a really important deal for Warrington and part of our commitment to innovative financial approaches which support growth and sustainability in the borough.

“We see our stake in the company as an investment in our future.

“It’s about investing in our local economy, helping businesses thrive and generating income which will enable us to protect council services.

“I’m delighted that the company has now been granted its banking licence and we can move forward towards its launch.”

Redwood Bank CEO Gary Wilkinson said: “We are delighted to be open for business so soon following the issuing of our initial banking licence.

“We aim to offer a real alternative for small and medium sized organisations, providing them with simple transparent loans and savings accounts, great service and a promise that our money is being invested into British businesses and our local communities.

“As many traditional banks are hampered by poor lending practices from their past and their legacy systems, we are perfectly positioned to help British SMEs take advantage of property opportunities by offering a highly-tailored service for clients that is built around our very experienced regional managers.”