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18th October 2011

Shawbrook, the rebranded UK SME bank

Shawbrook Bank launched over the weekend, a UK lender targeting the SME market. The bank is a restructure of Whiteaway Laidlaw joined with a couple of other acquisitions, new management and new capital. Specifically the new chairman is Sir George Mathewson, a former Chairman and before that CEO of Royal Bank of Scotland though leaving in 2006, before the bank's financial and management troubles had manifested. RBS Equity Finance holds a 13% stake in Shawbrook.


Owen Woodley is CEO. He held several positions with Barclays Group before moving to Secure Trust in January 2007 and then becoming CEO at Whiteaway Laidlaw in January of this year.


In forming the new bank Whiteaway Laidlaw first purchased Link Loans and then the Commercial First commercial lending platform. The bank plans to lend £250m (€286m $395m ¥30.4bn Y2,520m) to SMEs during 2012 and claims clear and straightforward applications. The bank is confident there is strong demand for borrowing from SMEs. The big four retail banks have argued that they failed to meet government agreed SME lending targets because of lack of demand from SMEs.