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.