Banking boss says Yorkshire’s economy is strong enough to withstand any downturn

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Yorkshire’s economy is sufficiently robust that it is well-placed to deal with any economic downturn that may follow Britain’s exit from the European Union, the boss of one of Britain’s biggest challenger banks has claimed.

Speaking during a visit to Wetherby where Shawbrook has just opened its North East Regional Business Centre (RBC), Mr Pateman also said that the recent takeover of the bank by private equity firms Pollen Street Capital and BC Partners would help drive its ambition to double its balance sheet.

Mr Pateman said: “The Yorkshire economy, despite its close proximity to Manchester and the pull it has, is incredibly successful.

“It is doing very well, has developed a number of great businesses and is home to a number of major plcs.

“It has got that good infrastructure, and is served very well by the professional community which is a reflection of the amount of activity in Yorkshire.

“It does face some of the uncertainty, as much as any part of the UK.

UK Lifestyle Photographer - UK Photographer'2017

UK Lifestyle Photographer - UK Photographer'2017

“It has got very strong foundations upon which it can depend as we work our way through what may be a period of lowered GDP.”

The takeover process of Shawbrook hit a number of bumps with the owner’s having rejected a number of offers from the consortium which it claimed undervalued the business.

Finally the deal was completed with the consortium taking control with an offer of 340p a share, with three quarters of shaleholders backing it.

“The issue of the takeover was really about what the right price was to take the company forward,” Mr Pateman said.

“What the company now has is two strong shareholders who are committed to the next five years and want to expand the business and commit capital to help us expand and grow.

“We have ambitions to take our balance sheet from £5bn now to £10bn at the point when they exit in 2021 or 2022.

“There is a commonality of purpose.”

Mr Pateman added that while the business had endured a challenging year, something he likened to a “yacht sailing to into headwinds”, he anticipated a 20 per cent rise in year-on-year growth for the bank.

Mr Pateman said that the growth was being fuelled by the bank’s willingness to develop client relationships with businesses ostracised by the large high street banks.

“If your company has had a spotless past and is hugely successful and is growing year-on-year and has a great story to tell you will do very well with RBS or HSBC or Yorkshire Bank because you will tick all of their boxes very well.

“But if you have had a few challenges and trading has been a bit more difficult or you want to expand into an area that is new and has a degree of risk associated with it then you are much better of with a bank like Shawbrook or a bank similar to it which is a specialist lender.”

The new Regional Business Centre in Wetherby is the second Shawbrook has opened in a week, with plans to have eight operational by the end of the year.

“We wanted to be outside of a major city so that the guys we employ can get much more easy access to the roads and to visit customers,” Mr Pateman said.

“There is a danger that if you are based in London and the South East that you view the world based on pretty much what you see outside of your front door. Clearly the UK is not just about the South East.”