The most-recognisable names among these challenger banks include Metro Bank, Aldermore and Handelsbanken, but this week sees news of impressive growth from Cambridge and Counties Bank. Launched just two years ago, the bank had an SME loan book worth £200m this June, compared to just £40m a year ago – a rise of 400 per cent. As a result it reported a pre-tax profit of £1m for the first half of this year. Gary Wilkinson, chief executive at Cambridge & Counties Bank, said: “To see a million pound profit in a six month period ending just two years after launch is a great achievement. “It shows that a new bank can compete with and provide an alternative to the mainstream banks. Our traditional banking approach of using experienced and empowered staff to make decisions means we have said ‘yes’ to many businesses who have had a blanket ‘no’ from their existing bank.” The bank is based in Leicester and is focused primarily on the east midlands and East Anglia, but says it plans to icnrease it activities in the rest of the country.
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