New Scottish start-up business, Alba, are delighted to announce they have officially submitted their banking licence application, following an invitation from the Regulator in October 2019. As over two-thirds of challenger banks fail before they are even invited to submit their application, this represents a significant achievement for the business and reaffirms their belief of becoming a fully operational SME-focused bank in Q1 2021.

Since submitting their application, the business has commenced a series of monthly meetings with the PRA and the FCA as they work together through the application journey. When they launch, Alba will be a new Scottish based business bank on a mission to help fuel economic growth through direct lending to SMEs in Scotland and the wider UK regions.

The next milestone for Alba will be securing authorisation with restrictions which they expect to achieve in Q3 2020. At this stage the business will be able to call itself Alba Bank, however activity will be restricted, and will involve completion and testing of their IT system and implementing controls and procedures.

Between authorisation with restrictions and the full launch as a bank, which is expected in Q1 2021, Alba will be further developing and enhancing their systems and processes to ensure they are fully prepared in advance of going live with customers.

On submitting the application Rod Ashley, Alba’s CEO, commented: “This important stage in our journey truly represents a substantial step in becoming a fully licensed SME-focused bank. We will continue to work tirelessly with the PRA and FCA in order to reach our next milestone and, ultimately, become a fully operational bank in 2021, providing the necessary support and funding to UK SMEs which is currently needed in today’s market.”

Building a talented, market-leading team

Meanwhile, Alba has continued to strengthen their team ahead of launching as a fully operational bank next year with strategic, experienced hires. In addition to the original founding team members, Rod Ashley (CEO), Wendy Morrison (CFO) and Iain McBride (Director of Operations), they have appointed Craig McKellar as Head of IT and John Fisher as Chief Compliance and Risk Officer.

John joined the team in January 2020 and is an experienced risk executive, able to cover all aspects of risk across the portfolio. Most recently, John was Director of Commercial & Credit Risk at Tesco Bank, and prior to that was a Senior Risk Specialist at the FSA. He has spent his entire career in risk management in banking, at Lloyds Banking Group, MBNA and the Co-operative Bank, among others.

Craig, who joined the Alba team in August 2019, has spent the past two decades working within a variety of IT environments across both the public and private sectors. Combining a specific focus towards IT infrastructure with a passion for security, Craig has successfully facilitated multiple cloud-based operational models across a range of industries.

Stay connected to the Alba channels for further news and updates as they continue on their journey of becoming an innovative and ground-breaking SME-focused bank headquartered in Scotland.