Fintech firms in the wings

McColl’s AlbaCo bank poised to name new partners

Jim McColl

Jim McColl’s new bank is expected to launch next year


Scottish tycoon Jim McColl’s new investment bank, provisionally called AlbaCo,  is due to announce a number of partners ahead of its planned launch early next year.

The new bank will provide lending and savings facilities to SMEs which Mr McColl – owner of engineering and shipbuilding companies – sees as the engine of the economy. It says it will finalise its banking partner selection process over the next two weeks.

Among them will be fintech companies vying for a number of services including cloud computing. New investors are also expected to come on board.  It is understood that the bank has yet to receive its licence and is in talks with the Bank of England over its regulatory, capital and liquidity business plans.

Wendy MorrisonAlbaCo has hired veteran bankers from the former Airdrie Savings Bank, including its CEO Rod Ashley and CFO Wendy Morrison, pictured, in the same roles.

Mr Ashley, who was in the top job at Airdrie for five years, is also chairman of audit and risk committee at No1 CopperPot Credit Union in Manchester.

Michael Harriman is acting as IT advisor to AlbaCo and is also advising another UK-based SME challenger, Redwood Bank, on its cloud-based IT strategy.

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) banking firm Mambu is believed to be in the running to provide the core banking system to AlbaCo. It  has raised €30 million in its latest funding round led by US-based Bessemer Venture Partners.

Berlin-based Mambu’s technology was chosen by UK challenger Oaknorth Bank a newly launched and fully-authorised bank and peer-to-peer lender for small and medium sized companies with offices in London and Manchester.

OakNorth’s board is chaired by Cyrus Ardalan, former vice-Chairman of Barclays, and includes Lord (Adair) Turner as senior independent director, and Robert Burgess, non-executive director.

The bank will not have any branches and will not deal with cash. It will initially operate out of one Glasgow based head office, with the potential of expanding to have further UK regional offices.

Accounts will be managed almost exclusively online. Lending customers will be referred to AlbaCo from their own in-house commercial team, specialist brokers, professional partners, and via their founding shareholders.


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