Happy National Savings Week!

We’ve been celebrating National Savings Week with our customers with a reminder of how their money is well protected at GB Bank and how the money has supported community developments across the UK.

Savings worth savouring

Our savings accounts have been incredibly popular, thanks to our highly competitive savings rates.  However, the money has not only been working hard for our savers’ pockets, it has also been working hard for our communities.

Since we launched in August 2022, money invested in our savings accounts has helped to build sought-after residential housing, remodel derelict commercial units at a business park, build much-needed social housing and transform retail units on the high street, and much more!

Thanks to the lending which our savings accounts help to support, we have been able to be part of a whole host of amazing projects, here’s just a few of them:

Thank you again to our customers for saving with us at GB Bank. We couldn’t do what we do without your support and your backing.

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Let’s be honest, we could have all done with escaping the British weather this summer!  

As a bank on a mission to build a better future in regions that need it most, we often talk about our commitment to building and regenerating communities externally. 

But what are we doing internally to help grow and nurture our own GB Bank community? 

One thing that makes GB Bank special is our wonderful team. And it is important that we always look for ways to demonstrate our trust and help our team feel fulfilled in all areas of life. We believe that our people know how and when they work best and providing flexibility enables them to find a productive rhythm between their priorities at work and at home – This is one of the reasons why GB Bank was recognised by Flexa as being one of the Top 100 most flexible employers in the world!

 As part of this, we’ve enabled ‘Work from Anywhere’ leave so our team are encouraged to work from a location abroad or elsewhere in the UK for a set period each year. 

But don’t just take our word for it….From Teesside to Texas, savings accounts to sailing the Turkish coast, hear from some of our team members where they have ‘Worked from Anywhere’ this summer. 

Head of Treasury in Turkey 

Eddie Trahearn, our Head of Treasury, used his leave to sail around the beautiful Turkish coast. He said: “I enjoyed a wonderful new experience and learned more about sailing at the same time as completing work commitments – I found out that sailing can be exhausting but it was also a great way to switch off and de-stress from work as you really need to concentrate. 

“Working from Anywhere really allows you to spend precious time doing things you like whilst also performing optimally for GB Bank. I split my time by combining annual leave and Working From Anywhere – this allowed me to have the experience for longer but still gave me time to fully switch off and enjoy it as a holiday too.

“The change of scenery also led to some better idea generation, clarity of thinking and clearing of brain fog.”

Teesside to Texas 

Head of Information Management, Maria Laden, has utilised the scheme on two separate occasions to visit her son, daughter-in-law and gorgeous new-born grandson, Duke, in Texas. 

Maria said: “As my grandson is still a very young baby it was wonderful to be able to utilise Work From Anywhere so I could spend precious time with him during his first months, and to also help my daughter-in-law with our new baby, which gave her a break. 

“I combined Working From Anywhere with my annual leave.  As Texas is six hours behind the UK it allowed me to join work from 12pm UK time each day (6am Texas time), complete 3hrs 30 mins Work From Anywhere and then take annual leave to enjoy the rest of the day with my daughter-in-law and grandson.

“Apart from the obvious benefit of being able to combine a visit with my family and work, working from anywhere also allowed me to save enough annual leave to enable me to have a relaxing non-work-related holiday just for me. It’s been a real win-win all round!”

Sarah’s seaside retreat 

Sarah John, our Company Secretary, was in the process of selling her house and renovating a new home. Unfortunately, the renovation fell behind schedule and the new home was not ready to move into when the other house’s sale was completed. 

Sarah explained: “Rather than risk the sale, Work from Anywhere allowed me and my family to be able to rent a cottage by the coast for a week where I was able to work remotely while our new home progressed to a liveable state.

“In between working hours, we were able to go for lovely walks on the beach with our dog and enjoy the good weather. It was fantastic to be able to have a change of scenery and enjoy a much-needed break from moving home, the renovations and all the dust!” 

Sunshine and family time for Graham 

Our Financial Crime Manager, Graham Goodwin, got a break from the weather this summer with a trip over to Spain and our Work from Anywhere policy meant he could attend his son’s wedding in South Africa. 

Graham said: “The scheme enabled me to work full time from our holiday home in Spain. It was a nice change of scenery and I managed to escape the British downpour and enjoy the sunshine while I worked.

“Earlier in the year I also Worked From Anywhere in South Africa.  I thoroughly enjoyed spending time with my son and his family in Johannesburg. This was extra special to me as my son got married whilst I was there, so it was fantastic to be able to be part of my son’s wedding celebrations and still fit work around it.”

At GB Bank, acting with kindness and succeeding together are two of our core values. We believe that by encouraging people to learn where and when they work best we will help support a happy and productive team which  ultimately enables us to achieve our business goals and deliver on our purpose.. You can read more about our values here: https://gbbank.co.uk/our-purpose/ 

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We pride ourselves at GB Bank as being a very forward-thinking business, always looking to the future as we work to help the regeneration and growth of communities in Tees Valley and across the country.

However, there are times when it is beneficial to take a look back, particularly when you reach important milestones.

This is definitely one of those times.

It has now been one year since we officially launched GB Bank after receiving our full UK banking licence.

That in itself was a significant moment the team had been working hard since 2017 to secure the banking licence and become the first ever bank to be headquartered in Middlesbrough.

At our launch party last year, Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “The launch of GB Bank is a huge step forward in levelling up our region, and truly represents the ambition of our area.”

That ambition and drive to make a difference to communities is what powers GB Bank as we provide the financial solutions which enable experienced SME property developers and investors to transform their projects and plans into reality.

While we continue to strive forward with our ambitious future growth plans, it’s important we reflect on our achievements so far.

Lending to build

GB Bank is driven by its purpose – to build better futures for the communities across the UK who need it most.  That’s why our key focus is to provide lending solutions to help bring much needed community developments to life.

The past year has brought a host of challenges to the realisation of this mission, not least the rising Bank of England base rate, the cost of living crisis and increasing construction costs.

However, we have been quick to meet these challenges and adapt to changes in the property sector, ensuring that our flexible and innovative finance provides real solutions for developers and investors at every stage of the property development life cycle and beyond.

For example, at the start of 2023, we launched a range of long and short term residential and commercial funding solutions to help kickstart much needed community developments.

Combining this with our line-up of experienced Relationship Managers and cutting-edge technology has seen the demand for and popularity of our solutions grow over the past year, which is clearly evidenced in an increasing stock of future loans and continuing flow of successful loan drawdowns.

Lending enquiries have come in from every corner of the UK, with many from our heartland, the North-East. In June and July combined, we provided £10m of funding for customer community projects and, in August, we anticipate providing over £7m of further funding towards community developments, which will set a new monthly record.

So far, we’ve provided lending solutions to help with everything from breathing new life back into a high street retail unit in County Durham to much needed commercial space in North Yorkshire, and from a social housing development in the Midlands to new homes in Norfolk.

Our progress has also not gone unnoticed by industry experts – we are delighted to have recently been shortlisted for Best Bridging Newcomer at the Bridging and Commercial Awards.

However, we have set our sights high; there’s so much more to do and we’re excited to see the next phase of community developments come to fruition.

Savings that really pay

The other key focus of our first full year at GB Bank has been growing our savings accounts, offering our customers competitive savings rates with an easy, no nonsense onboarding process. 

We set out to create accounts that not only work hard for people’s wallets but also for their communities and that’s exactly what we have achieved. So, while our customers receive a highly competitive rate of return on their savings, they allow us to fund even more residential and commercial developments.

We launched our first tranche of savings accounts in January this year and the demand was such that we hit our target number of accounts opened in just 24 hours!

This set the tone for the rest of the year and customer deposits in our savings accounts now total more than £340m.

Along the way, our savings products have also picked up industry plaudits – GB Bank is proud to have been named Best New Savings Provider by both Money Comms and Money Net this year.

People who take us forward

All these achievements would not have been possible without the fantastic work of our colleagues.

They are the bedrock on which we are building this business and their hard work, dedication and determination has been fantastic to see over the past 12 months. It’s always been our ambition to create a remarkable place to work and we’ve made great progress in building a culture to be proud of. This is evident by the results of our recent inclusion survey in which 84% of our colleagues said they are proud to part of the GB Bank team.

And as we have grown our business, particularly on the lending side, we’ve also welcomed a number of new faces through our doors.

We were delighted in October 2022 to bring on board experienced banking industry figure Rob Lankey as our Chief Commercial Officer.

Rob has more than 30 years’ experience working in a wide range of organisations in the specialist lending and banking industry, having launched, built and grown a number of short and long-term lending businesses.

Rob was not our only new recruit. During the course of the year, we welcomed a series of new starters in roles across the business including Relationship Managers, Risk Managers, Underwriters and Assistant Relationship Managers.

The team truly continues to go from strength to strength. 

Facing the future – together

It’s been an incredibly busy first 12 months as a fully licensed bank, but in many ways, we are only just getting started.

We already have £51m of lending approved and over £20m of new loans out of the door, so we can’t wait to see how this funding will transform communities.

We have a dedicated team with impressive growth plans, we have huge ambitions and we genuinely can’t wait to achieve them.

Get in touch

GB Bank offers flexible lending solutions for residential and commercial developments between £26,000 and £3m. We welcome conversations around future opportunities, so get in touch with us at https://gbbank.co.uk/contact/ to find out more.

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GB BANK has boosted its lending team with a raft of new appointments.

The Teesside-based bank, which specialises in providing flexible lending solutions to SME property developers and investors, has brought on board five new team members in recent weeks as it continues to support property project developments across the country.

The new colleagues have joined as GB Bank continues to get fantastic responses from the market to its new lending product launches earlier in the year.

No fewer than three new Relationship Managers – Andy Reid, Tara Wiltshire and Laleta Buctkuar – have joined as GB Bank expands its team of Relationship Managers providing genuine local knowledge, passion for property projects and ‘boots on the ground’ right across the UK.

Andy Reid has 30 years’ experience in banking and finance. For the last 16 years he has worked in the specialist finance market where he has  managed bridging, development and buy to let loans in roles at companies including INTERBAY, HTB, OBLIX Capital and TFG Capital.

Tara Wiltshire’s background is as an Underwriter. She has over eight years’ experience in both regulated and unregulated lending, and joins GB Bank with a wealth of industry knowledge and expertise.

Laleta Buctkuar has more than 20 years’ experience working in the financial services sector at providers including Together and Assetz Capital.

In addition to this trio of Relationship Managers, Clare Bolton has joined as an Assistant Relationship Manager, further bolstering GB Bank’s team of Assistant Regional Managers.

Rounding off the new appointments, Nick Lynch joins GB Bank as Credit Underwriter, bringing with him over nine years of underwriting experience specialising in bridging and development finance. Working closely with the lending team, Nick and his colleagues in the Credit Team ensure all lending decisions are made swiftly and safely.

Stephen Lancaster, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer at GB Bank, said: “We’re delighted to welcome all our new colleagues to the team.

“They all play a crucial role in the continued success and expansion of our lending operation and it’s great to have them on board as we continue to adapt to market conditions and demand by offering our customers true finance solutions to their property project requirements.

“In addition to expanding our lending team we have also  recently created a dedicated loan completions team to ensure our average credit approval to completion time is fast. We know that speed is often of the essence when it comes to a lot of property projects so that’s why we’ve focused our efforts on getting that time lag down, something which we know from customers’ feedback is very much appreciated.

“Added to this, our completed loans are performing well and growing every month and we have a growing pipeline of business coming in to keep our new colleagues and the rest of the GB Bank team very busy!”

You can meet all the GB Bank team members here Our Team – GB Bank

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As with most things in life – those who care, win. One thing we seriously care about at GB Bank is making sure we’re focusing on creating the conditions for everyone to thrive. 

A big part of this relates to our stance on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) – for us this means making sure everyone feels as though they belong, that our differences are celebrated, and we work as one to extinguish exclusion.  

The truth is that today, it isn’t always a fair and equal world for all and it’s up to everyone to recognise this. Although we can’t control how society at large acts, we can control how we act as a business. We believe that if we all do our bit and show positive change, then we will be able to influence society as a whole and create better outcomes for future generations.

Ahead of Pride month, we took the time to invite our team to complete our first ‘Belonging’ survey. That way we had a clear view of how inclusive our culture is, an important foundation to identify where we can build and nurture our culture to becoming more diverse. You can see some of the key stats scattered throughout this blog. 

93% of the team feel respected 

To avoid the pitfall of not having a clear objective or simply following the same route others do, we wanted to make sure we were certain of where we could make the most positive impact and link the action we take to our purpose and values. This is where we are putting our first ‘Belonging’ survey to work. 

89% of the team believe they can be their authentic selves at work 

The survey asked the team to share their opinion on some of the fundamental pillars of an inclusive culture – including voice, psychological safety, equity, growth, alignment to purpose and decision making.

82% of the team say GB Bank leaders role model inclusive behaviours

GB Bank CEO and Co-Founder, Stephen Lancaster, said: “We’re pleased to have made a great start with regards to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and it’s wonderful that our first survey has shown that the team feel they can truly be themselves at work.

“However, we also acknowledge that there is still more to do to get to where we want to be when it comes to DEI. We want to contribute towards making a more equitable and inclusive world for all – and that starts with us.”

Between December 2022 and April 2023 GB Bank has gone from 70% male to 59% male 

Vicky Griffiths, Independent Non Exec Director and champion for DEI within GB Bank, added: “Our first Belonging survey has been really helpful as it helps us map out a clear pathway when it comes to our DEI. It feels like our DEI tree has been firmly planted…we have embedded roots, our trunk is strengthening, and our branches are evolving. It’s such an exciting time for GB Bank!

“Diversity fuels our purpose – we are committed to building better futures for those who need it most. We believe that creating an environment in which everyone belongs and can succeed makes for a better workplace and a more successful business.”

At GB Bank, it’s our differences and varied perspectives that will make the difference, and the more voices we represent and amplify, the more we will all thrive.

We cannot become a more diverse or inclusive organisation through intention alone; we need to act – what we do now will set us on the path towards who we want to become.  While we are still in our early days and have gaps that need to be filled, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion will never just be a tick-box exercise for GB Bank and we strive to improve in this field as the business continues to grow.

We are putting in place a plan to make further improvements, including:

  • Setting and agreeing goals to positively improve our diversity;
  • Identifying and executing in key areas, such as hiring, and setting a roadmap to track our progress;
  • Including a gender pay report as part of the salary review process.

While recognising the progress we have already made, we are not complacent about the challenges we are still working to overcome, but we believe that by embracing our differences and working together, we can succeed.

You can read more about GB Bank’s mission and values on the ‘Our Purpose’ page: https://gbbank.co.uk/our-purpose/ 

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