Offshore challenger bank OakNorth eyes local lending tie-up

Offshore challenger bank OakNorth eyes local lending tie-up

Multibillion-dollar challenger bank OakNorth is the latest global fintech to set its sights on Australia, preparing the ground for the launch of a lending assessment platform that aims to give smaller operators better access to capital.

The company recently appointed a former Google executive, Australian Sunil Chandra, as chief executive of its credit platform. The product draws on big data and machine learning to provide a more accurate appraisal of the risks of lending to small businesses.

“About 25 per cent of commerce is really middle-market companies. There really isn’t any company or platform that is helping the banks service that market, with the level of sophistication that you need at the institutional level but also with the speed and agility and data that you need at this private company level,” Mr Chandra said.

The technology takes in a broader range of assets that can be used as security against a loan, including IP and even alternative assets like art.

Entrepreneurs Rishi Khosla and Joel Perlman launched OakNorth from London in 2015. Targeting small businesses and entrepreneurs, it has a UK banking licence and offers a range of products in Britain. After SoftBank’s Vision Fund contributed to a $440 million raise earlier this year, it has evolved into a $US2.8 billion ($4.07 billion) business.

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