At GB Bank, we’re passionate about fostering inclusivity and supporting initiatives that empower underrepresented communities. As we celebrate International Women’s Day 2024, we’re proud to spotlight our partnership with Female Founder Finance, an organisation dedicated to breaking down barriers for female entrepreneurs to access funding and support.

Empowering female entrepreneurs

Did you know that a staggering 63% of women find external funding to be a barrier to growing and scaling their businesses? It’s a statistic that highlights the systemic challenges faced by female founders in accessing capital. That’s why we’re proud to work with Female Founder Finance to provide comprehensive support tailored to the needs of female entrepreneurs.

Our relationship manager, Laleta Buctkuar, is an advocate for this initiative. She emphasises: “We’re working with Female Founder Finance to ensure we empower female SME property developers and investors with access to the right financial knowledge and solutions to help grow and develop their businesses.”

Addressing systemic challenges

In an ideal world, initiatives like Female Founder Finance wouldn’t be necessary. However, the reality is that the finance industry, particularly in sectors like specialist and SME lending, has historically been male-dominated. Despite progress, women still face significant obstacles in securing funding, often encountering unconscious bias along the way.

Our Chief Commercial Officer, Rob Lankey, reflects on his 35-year career, noting the slow progress in achieving gender diversity at all levels of the industry. He comments: “At GB Bank, we recognise the importance of addressing these disparities head-on. Diversity, equality, and inclusion aren’t just buzzwords for us, they’re integral to our ethos. We’re committed to leading by example.

“This is just one of the reasons why we are so pleased to have the opportunity to support Female Founder Finance and back the brilliant businesses which use its services.”

As a business, we’re proud that:

  • 33% of our board members are female
  • 38% of our entire team are female
  • 56% of our lending and completions team are female

A call to action

Our partnership with Female Founder Finance is a testament to our commitment to creating a fairer, more equitable world. By supporting their work, we’re taking tangible steps towards bridging the gender funding gap and empowering female entrepreneurs to thrive.

Roxanne Goodman, founder of Female Founder Finance, shares her insight: “Our partnership with GB Bank is a testament to our shared commitment to empowering female entrepreneurs. Together, we’re breaking down barriers and creating opportunities for women to succeed in business.”

As we mark International Women’s Day, let’s reaffirm our dedication to championing diversity and inclusion in all aspects of business and beyond. Together, we can build a future where every entrepreneur, regardless of gender, has the opportunity to succeed.

To learn more about Female Founder Finance and our partnership, visit their website here: 

Join us in making a difference!

You can read more about GB Bank’s mission and values on the ‘Our Purpose’ page: 

Category News

SPECIALIST property finance Bank is primed for rapid growth after securing new investment which is set to transform its operations.

GB Bank, which specialises in funding property projects for SME property developers and investors, has secured £85m of additional capital from new investor Hera Holdings and existing shareholder the Teesside Pension Fund.

Jersey based company, Hera Holdings, is investing an initial £40m in GB Bank over the next 12 months. In addition to the initial investment, there is an intention for Hera Holdings to invest a further £40m throughout 2025 and 2026 enabling GB Bank to further boost its funding capabilities for property investments and regeneration across the UK.

GB Bank CEO and Co-Founder Stephen Lancaster said: “This is fantastic news for GB Bank and everyone who has supported our purpose and ambitions since day one and is testament to the hard work of every single member of the team.

“We are delighted to have already helped so many brokers, property developers and investors to increase their property portfolios with our flexible funding solutions, as well as our savings customers who have trusted us with their money and received competitive rates of return. 

“This investment allows us to support even more property developers and investors with the vital funding they need whilst delivering exceptional customer service, which has been our hallmark since day one.”

The Teesside Pension Fund is the Local Government Pension Scheme for local authority employees in the Teesside region. It was one of the original investors in GB Bank and is now investing a further £5m.

Councillor Julia Rostron, Chair of the Teesside Pension Fund Committee, said: “We have backed GB Bank’s business model and its purpose throughout its journey through full banking authorisation and on to successful operation. Having Hera Holdings onboard has significantly bolstered its lending capabilities and accelerates its future success.

“Our continued support of GB Bank is testament to its incredible progress to date and its huge future potential.”

The expansion will see GB Bank rapidly grow its lending capabilities offering funding of up to £10m and up to 80% Loan To Value.  The investment will bring extensive growth for its specialist buy to let finance with an increase in loan size, offering capital and interest or interest only options and expanding its customer base to welcome foreign nationals, ex pats and portfolio landlords. It will also allow an increase in capacity for its popular commercial and residential bridging solutions, along with its commercial owner-occupier and investment mortgages.  

The Bank is forecasting that the new investment will allow it to grow its lending to £500m over the next 12 months as it rapidly expands its team and infrastructure.

GB Bank’s recruitment drive is well underway which will almost double its current workforce within the next 12 months.

Since becoming a fully licensed bank in August 2022, GB Bank has approved more than £80m in loans to support over 100 property projects in locations from Northumberland to the south coast. It has also attracted over £300m in deposits from savers for its competitive fixed term and instant access accounts.

GB Bank has won a number of industry awards including the Deal of the Year award at the NACFB Commercial Lender Awards 2023 and 2023 Best New Savings Provider by both Money Comms and Money Net.

Stephen Lancaster said: “Our current team have done a fantastic job in establishing GB Bank as a go-to provider for specialist property finance.

“We are primed and well positioned to champion property investment and regeneration right across the UK as we move forward with this transformational growth for the business.”

About Hera Holdings

Hera Holdings Limited is a company incorporated under the laws of Jersey and registered under number 146373 whose registered office is at 13 Castle Street, St Helier, Jersey JE2 3BT

About the Teesside Pension Fund

The Teesside Pension Fund is the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) for local authority employees (or employees working for a body that is eligible to participate) in the Teesside region.

The Fund is administered by Middlesbrough Council, through the Teesside Pension Fund Committee. The Committee is made up of elected members of Middlesbrough Council, representatives of the other unitary authorities and trade unions, and is supported by investment professionals and independent investment advisors.

Category News

Do organisations in our industry have a moral responsibility to try and improve the world?

It’s perhaps not a question which many of us ask as we go about our day-to-day business, but I believe that won’t be the case for too much longer.

The rising importance of ESG (Environment, Social and Governance) issues, particularly for investors, makes it more pressing for people to consider the impact which their actions – or the lack of them – have on the world around them.

While some companies are still taking a ‘tick box’ approach to ESG, many are becoming much more sophisticated and exacting when it comes to investments. As a result, projects and schemes which do not come up to scratch in terms of their positive impacts on society are getting increasingly short shrift.

However, despite these laudable intentions, there is still a danger that even well-meaning projects which are backed with a good level of funding can fall short.

A recent report from an all-party group of MPs found that the Government’s current Levelling Up policies were not making much headway in some of the country’s most “left behind” areas.

Identifying a total of 225 neighbourhoods in England as “left behind”, the report said these places continue to experience high levels of deprivation and community need and low levels of investment and resources.

The MPs said that one of the major problems facing “left behind” areas is that attempts to improve the communities tend to be made on a top-down, national level, which can mean local needs are not properly addressed and local people do not feel like they are in control of how money is spent.

Paul Howell, the Conservative MP for Sedgefield and co-chair of the all-party group, said the correct approach had to be to “give communities the capacity to do things themselves”.

I couldn’t agree more.

This is one of the key reasons and guiding principles which we follow at GB Bank.

We were set up with the express purpose of making a difference in the communities that need it most by investing in the expertise and experience of local SME property developers and investors.

These are the people who understand their communities best, who appreciate local needs and concerns and who know how to turn ideas into reality.

We work with them via our network of local Relationship Managers who are experts not just in finance but also in their local areas, and we take a flexible approach to funding so that the finances fit the project rather than the other way round.

So far we’ve helped on everything from assisted living accommodation for adults with learning difficulties and affordable accommodation to expanding a chain of children’s nurseries and breathing new life into a neglected high street.

While relatively small compared to grand property schemes, these developments are making a real difference in their communities.

They’re also helping to power our own progress as GB Bank. We have ambitious plans to fund many more transformative developments across the country as we look to grow further and continue trying to make the world that little bit better.

Category News

GB BANK has appointed an experienced and accomplished senior banking figure as its new Chair.

Mark Sismey-Durrant joins the Middlesbrough-based bank after spending over 40 years in the UK banking sector, with the majority of that time spent in senior roles.

He replaces former GB Bank Chair, Mike Kirsopp, who has stepped away from the business to return to an executive career.

For 23 years, Mark operated as CEO at three fast growing UK banks, the last of these being Hampshire Trust Bank, where he led a private equity backed management buyout, restructured and scaled the business profitably, enabling it to raise growth capital of £100m.

Prior to that, Mark served as CEO at Sun Bank and then Heritable Bank where he executed diversification strategies in the specialist lending arena, secured Tier 1 & 2 capital, grew balance sheets to £1.3bn and generated pre-tax profits of £17m and £21m respectively.

Mark is an experienced board director and has served on the board of many banking and financial services companies, including his current Chair position at digital specialist, CashPlus Bank. He is also Senior Independent Director at PCF Bank.

Speaking about his appointment, Mark said: “I’m delighted to be joining GB Bank at such an exciting time for the business and I’m really looking forward to using my experience in specialist banking to help take GB Bank forward.

“The bank was founded with a commitment to serving communities which really makes it stand out and I’m looking forward to working with all of the GB Bank team as we take the business through the next stage of its development.

“There are lots of exciting opportunities in the market which we are looking to tap into as GB Bank matures and develops beyond its highly successful launch phase into an ambitious growth stage.”

GB Bank CEO and co-founder Stephen Lancaster said: “We are thrilled to have secured Mark’s services as Chair of GB Bank.

“His vast experience and expertise are fundamental for the business as we look to progress to the next stage of our development.

“We’d also like to take this opportunity to thank Mike Kirsopp as he leaves us. Mike has been a valued and integral member of the team for almost three years, helping GB Bank in securing the full banking licence in August 2022, and the ongoing development of the business since then.

“We are incredibly grateful for Mike’s commitment to GB Bank and he leaves with our very best wishes as we welcome Mark as our new Chair.”

GB Bank is a community-focused bank which uses regional knowledge and passion to regenerate and build communities in areas that need it the most.

It provides SME property developers and investors with funding solutions up to £3m for residential and commercial developments in under-served regions across the UK.

Savers also benefit as the bank offers a no-nonsense range of fixed-term savings accounts with highly competitive rates, an easy on-line application process and peace of mind protection up to £85,000 by the FSCS.

Since securing its full banking licence in August 2022, GB Bank has approved over £73m worth of funding for more than 100 property and development projects across the country, including more than £16m on projects in the North-East.

Category News

By Rob Lankey

It will not have escaped the notice of any Moneyfacts readers that the UK property market is facing a lot of challenges at the moment.

With the Bank of England keeping rates at a 15-year high and construction material inflation running into double digits, it isn’t an easy time to be a property developer at the moment (if it ever was!)

In a rapidly shifting market, developers are having to think and act fast and be very flexible in their approach and this is one of the factors in the continuing rise in the popularity of bridging finance.

Bridging loans used to be thought of in some circles as the finance of last resort for developers who were stretched for cash and racing against time.

But as the UK property market continues on its unpredictable path, bridging solutions are emerging as one of the best ways to negotiate the minefield of modern development.

What’s more, bridging finance is helping to breathe new life into the market while also providing numerous benefits.

For borrowers, bridging finance offers unparalleled flexibility and speed. Traditional mortgage applications can be cumbersome and time-consuming, often taking months to secure. In contrast, bridging loans can be arranged in a matter of days, allowing borrowers to seize time-sensitive opportunities.

At GB Bank, we’ve combined this flexibility internally with investment in technology and streamlined processes combined with professional services partners to turn around some bridging finance solutions in less than a week.

Such speed can be crucial in situations where time is of the essence, which is often the case with property projects in the current economic climate.

We’ve seen a number of cases where developments have got part way through and then have had to stop due to financial issues or projects where properties have only been partially completed as construction companies have succumbed to cost pressures.

In situations like these, the clock is ticking and certainty is in short supply, so the timely arrival of finance to kickstart development is absolutely crucial.

Another advantage of bridging finance is its versatility. It can be used for various purposes, not just buying properties or development land.

At GB Bank, we’ve developed a whole range of bridging solutions for both residential and commercial properties and we’ve seen our finance used for everything from completing a part-built home to opening up a dormant high street unit.

With these kind of examples, it’s easy to see why bridging finance is having such a moment. It is actively contributing to the overall health of the UK property market in helping to facilitate property transactions that might otherwise have stalled or not occurred at all.

This matters not just on a financial level, but also for people and communities across the country.

In many cases, the property transactions being brought into being by bridging finance solutions are helping to create much-needed residential accommodation and facilities.

For example, we have recently completed our largest bridging deal to date to provide a multi-million-pound lending facility for a project to create over 100 affordable homes in the West Midlands.

The timeliness which the bridging finance solution presented was crucial in this case because of the need to support the redemption of an existing lending facility which was due to expire.

In cases like this, and many others across the country, bridging finance is really living up to its name by breaking down divisions and helping to ensure that property and people are brought together.

* Rob Lankey is Chief Commercial Officer at GB Bank, which offers flexible finance solutions to SME property developers and investors.

Category News