The former chief executive of GE Capital UK is planning to launch a retail bank with a focus on property-based lending.
John Jenkins, chief executive of Amicus Finance, is in early stage talks with the City regulator on applying for a banking licence, according to two people familiar with the situation.
Mr Jenkins previously led the application process for a bank licence when GE Capital Direct was established as an online savings bank in 2012. The lender was the second start-up to gain a banking licence after Metro, in 2010.
Amicus, which is part of investment firm Omni Partners, offers short-term loans against properties to individuals and corporate borrowers, ranging from landlords to developers.
Although the firm could raise institutional funds to lend, a bank licence provided access to retail deposits and a wider range of capital sources, Mr Jenkins told the Financial Times.
“It’s important for us to get into the spaces we want to be in and then grow to critical scale,” Mr Jenkins said. “There is a receptive market for new banks.”
However, Mr Jenkins said he was also considering the rapidly growing peer-to-peer sector as a way to attract retail funding. “The question is, should I have a peer-to-peer site — do you need to be a bank to access the retail market?”
Lending to small and medium-sized businesses was “a tough space”, he said, which was why a number of new specialist lenders were emerging, such as challenger banks Aldermore and Shawbrook.