OakNorth, digital bank for entrepreneurs, lends £10bn

OakNorth CEO and co-founder Rishi Khosla

Manchester and London-based OakNorth — a digital bank for entrepreneurs — has published its latest annual report showing that its pre-tax profit rose 23% to £187.3 million in 2023.

OakNorth said it provided over £1.7 billion of gross new lending facilities in 2023 “continuing its track record of supporting the most ambitious and innovative businesses.”

$200 million of this £1.7 billion was to businesses in the US, where OakNorth began lending in the latter half of last year.

The digital bank has applied for a US representative office and is actively exploring M&A opportunities there.

OakNorth said it has now lent over £10 billion since it launched in September 2015.

The company said in a statement: “OakNorth’s focus has always been on supporting scale-ups: businesses with £1m-£100m turnover that it regards as the drivers of productivity, job creation, innovation, and GDP growth.

“Research it commissioned with the Social Market Foundation last year revealed that whilst these businesses represent just 1% of all SMEs in the UK, they account for 22% of all SME turnover and 8% of all SME employment – a clear demonstration of their outsized economic impact and the essential role they play in spurring growth.

“Since its launch in September 2015, OakNorth has lent over £10bn which has supported the creation of over 47,000 jobs and over 29,000 new homes, the majority of which are social and affordable housing.

“OakNorth’s unique approach to lending, based on building a granular, forward-looking view of performance and risk, enables it to better understand its customers’ trajectories and provide them with the insights they need to succeed and scale.

“Its 2023 Annual Report provides numerous examples of businesses across the UK and across different sectors that it has supported, enabling them to pursue their growth ambitions through economic cycles.

“By the end of 2023, its facilities stood at £5.3bn, up from £4.6bn in 2022, and it has an industry-leading cost-to-income/efficiency ratio of 28% as well as an RORE of 22%.”

OakNorth CEO and co-founder Rishi Khosla said: “Joel (Perlman) and I founded OakNorth to transform how entrepreneurs grow their businesses, by providing them access to much-needed credit and personalised banking services.

“The last 12 months have been no exception, with £1.7bn lent to businesses across the UK and the US.

“We continued developing our credit approach and expanded our support for SMEs with our business banking offering, starting with business current and savings accounts; and we welcomed a new chair, Lord Adair Turner, who will support us in our next phase of growth.

“Despite numerous ongoing economic challenges, this has been another strong year for OakNorth, showing consistent profitability and high growth.

“In the year ahead, we’ll maintain our firm commitment to supporting ambitious scaling businesses, whose contribution to growth is more important than ever in the current macroeconomic climate.”