Keith Morgan, interim head of the British Business Bank, Vince Cable’s flagship project for boosting finance for smaller companies, will this week be named as its first permanent chief executive.
His appointment is likely to be announced in George Osborne’s Autumn Statement on Thursday. Confirmation of the move, first reported on Sky News, is expected to follow this week’s announcement that the bank will have an extra £250m on top of its £1bn core funding from the government.
Mr Morgan, a former Abbey National executive, worked for UK Financial Investments between 2009 and 2012, where he managed the taxpayer’s stakes in bailed-out banks Northern Rock and Bradford & Bingley.
He was appointed the Business Bank’s interim boss last December, since when the government has run a competitive process to choose a permanent chief. In October it named Ron Emerson, a former executive of Standard Chartered, as the lender’s first non-executive chairman.
The bank aims to tackle a long-term shortage of funding for SMEs as well as filling a gap left by mainstream lenders that have been accused of starving small businesses of credit as they try to meet tougher capital requirements.
It will not have a high street presence and will not fund companies directly, but will work in partnership with other financial institutions to leverage private capital. It is due to be fully operational by autumn next year once it gets EU state aid approval.
The funding boost was welcomed by business groups, though it falls short of the increase advocated by organisations such as the British Chambers of Commerce.
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