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Glasgow bank founded by Jim McColl secures licence



Glasgow-based Alba was founded Mr McColl, chairman and chief executive of Clyde Blowers Capital, in 2018 to provide a dedicated service for small and medium-sized businesses in Scotland.

It announced this morning that it has been granted a banking licence by the UK Prudential Regulation Authority and Financial Conduct Authority, having worked closely with the authorities to develop its proposition, processes, and systems.

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Chief executive Rod Ashley said: “This is unquestionably a landmark moment in our journey so far. I am incredibly proud of the team who have steadfastly believed in our mission of launching a new SME focused bank and have worked tirelessly to build a comprehensive business plan, which has allowed us to receive our licence from the regulators.

“SMEs have long been regarded as the lifeblood of our economy but haven’t always received access to appropriate levels or forms of finance. Alba is an opportunity to design a bank specifically with these businesses in mind, helping them to realise their true potential and fulfil their vital role in enhancing both employment and economic growth.

“Alba’s proposed high tech, high touch business model, marrying the latest innovative digital technology with skilled relationship managers and personal judgement, will differentiate us within the UK SME lending market.”

Alba aims to combine a relationship-drive banking model with state-of-the-art technology platforms. It will initially operate from two offices, in Glasgow and London, with ambitions to establish commercial offices around the UK in the longer term.

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The Alba team has worked alongside Clyde Blowers Capital during the process of securing the licence, with Clyde Blowers also leading its capital raising to date, supported by several “like-minded” entrepreneurs. The bank said it has now raised enough capital to support the mobilisation phase and beyond.

Alba chairman Graeme Jones said: “I am absolutely delighted that Alba has been granted its licence (with restrictions) and now enters into full mobilisation. Alba’s establishment is not only important to the Scottish banking and financial services community, but also to the Scottish economy where the majority of our working population are employed in SME businesses. The bank has a dynamic and ambitious agenda which, through time, will see it operating across the UK regions from its initial bases in Glasgow and London.

“Whilst we will be a high-tech SME bank utilising the best financial technology available to serve our customers, we also place equal value on our customer relationships. We need their voice at the very heart of the bank to ensure we stay relevant, understand their changing needs and to provide a more personalised and bespoke service.”




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