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OakNorth Holdings raises $440M to expand SME lending platform into US

U.K.-based fintech OakNorth Holdings has raised $440 million from the Softbank Vision Fund and Clermont Group and will use the proceeds to expand its lending business into the U.S.

The Manchester, England-based challenger bank has grown into one of the fastest growing lending platforms for small businesses and entrepreneurs in the U.K., using artificial intelligence to help speed the process of obtaining financing for new companies.

OakNorth will not be doing balance sheet lending, but rather will help U.S. banks with their SME loan origination and credit capabilities, Valentina Kristensen, a spokesperson for OakNorth, told Mobile Payments Today via email.

"So if you’re a U.S. lender who wants to get serious about commercial lending to small and medium sized growth businesses, we can help you originate and underwrite deals faster and more efficiently, as well as maintain a clearer view of how each business in your portfolio is performing," Kristensen wrote.

The company has a team in place in New York City for Oak North Analytical Intelligence, which is the platform it licenses to other banks with about 15 staffers. The plan is to expand to about 40 people by the end of 2019, she said.

The company said it has made $3.7 billion in loans to British businesses since September 2015 without a single default or late payment, according to a company release.