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McColl still hopeful of licence for SME bank

Jim McColl
Jim McColl: seeking a licence

Industrialist Jim McColl hopes to receive a licence for his delayed SME investment bank by the end of the year.

McColl is a founding investor in Alba Bank which set out to become Scotland’s version of new-style digital banks such as Monzo and Revolut.

It had been due to launch in the second half of last year, and the delay has been blamed on the impact of the pandemic and current economic conditions.

A Series A funding round steered by Seismic Venture Partners was launched in early 2021 to raise £5m directly aimed at smaller investors with a minimum investment size of £1,000.

Mr McColl said it would enable the bank to move to its “mobilisation” stage “after which you can call yourself a bank and start lending”.

CEO, Rod Ashley, former head of the defunct Airdrie Savings Bank, said in a statement to Daily Business: “Like many businesses, our equity fundraising process has been unquestionably impacted by Covid-19 and the subsequent challenging economic conditions we are faced with today.

“However, we continue to see strong interest shown in the business from potential investors and remain confident of closing our current funding round in the near future.

“The original project team remain in place and are continuing to work with the Bank of England on our application.

“We hope to receive our Banking Licence with restrictions by the end of the year allowing us to move into the ‘mobilisation’ phase of the project.”

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