Bank North promotes, hires ahead of full launch

Rebecca Owen

Manchester-based Bank North, the new regional business bank for small and medium enterprises (SMEs), has announced the internal promotion of two senior team members to take effect once the bank reaches full launch.

Regional managing director Rebecca Owen is promoted to commercial director, and head of savings Louise Halliwell is promoted to savings director.

To meet customer demand, Bank North has also made two key hires to further strengthen its Manchester Lending Pod.

Ellie Woodhouse joins as lending director and Shane Francis as lending manager for the Manchester Pod.

Bank North is backed by investors including LHV Group, LHV Asset Management, Skipton Building Society, Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) and Channel 4 Ventures, and is authorised with restrictions by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority.

“Rebecca Owen joined Bank North two years ago as regional managing director after gaining vast commercial experience from a 23-year stint at RBS,” said Bank North.

“Since joining Bank North, Rebecca has played a significant part in the company’s regulatory and commercial journey, recently overseeing the successful launch of lending to SMEs, showcasing Bank North’s fast, agile loan delivery.

“Rebecca’s expanded role as commercial director at full launch will see her shape Bank North’s proposition, lending to SMEs by working with commercial brokers across the UK, helping to provide vital lending support as we face the challenging economic environment.

“Louise Halliwell has been promoted to savings director as Bank North continues to gain momentum ahead of launching savings products to UK consumers later this year.

“After joining as Head of Savings in 2021, Louise has played an integral role to ensure Bank North can deliver the most attractive and efficient proposition to savers.

“As savings director, Louise will continue to apply her vast knowledge of the savings market, including eight years as a senior manager at the Yorkshire Building Society, to ensure that Bank North’s future customers get the best service.”

Owen said: “I am thrilled to be appointed as Bank North’s commercial director, and I look forward to continuing my work in helping to build a truly regional bank.

“With the UK economy pushing forward after a tough two years both socially and economically, our vision for personal and fast SME lending has not changed and is needed more than ever.

“Since joining as regional managing director, we have achieved so much, from authorisation with restrictions (AWR), to delivering loans to great businesses.

“I look forward to continuing to work with our outstanding team, attracting more talent as we roll out across the UK.”

Halliwell said: “I am delighted to take up the role of savings director at Bank North; I joined Bank North at such an exciting time for the company and the savings market, I want to continue to apply my knowledge in launching a range of dynamic saving products that offer great value for customers.

“Empowering UK savers to put their cash in a bank that will deliver loans to the SMEs powering UK regions, while enjoying full Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) protection, is a unique proposition, and coupled with good service and fair returns I look forward to welcoming customers to our new bank.”

Woodhouse joins Bank North after 11 years of experience as a manager at Handelsbanken and will bring her local banking expertise to the Manchester pod team.

Francis joins Bank North after a career in service and case management with Santander and four years’ experience in relationship management at Cater Allen Private Bank.

Bank North CEO and co-founder Jonathan Thompson said: “Since joining, Rebecca and Louise have become key members of the team, and these promotions reflect their hard work.

“The promotions, along with our new Manchester Pod recruits Ellie and Shane, come at a vital stage in our journey, as we look not just to aid a post-COVID economic recovery, but to help rebalance the nation’s economy and, importantly, as we look ahead to when we will be welcoming savers to Bank North.”