GBB is a ground-breaking new bank that will get 'Britain and the regions building again'. Following the announcement that it has chosen Middlesbrough as its new headquarters, CEO Steve Deutsch and Middlesbrough Mayor Andy Preston chat through what this means for GBB and the town.
Tell us about the deal that’s just been brokered.
Steve: In a landmark moment in our journey, GBB has secured a lease for 11,000 sq ft of space in Middlesbrough’s purposebuilt 2 Centre Square. This will become our headquarters and house an initial team of 60, growing to 120 as we expand. While we’ll be keeping a satellite office in Newcastle, we hope to have the majority of our team moved in by early 2021, COVID-19 restrictions permitting.
Andy: We are absolutely delighted to have secured this long-term commitment from GBB, which has recognised Middlesbrough’s reputation as a hotbed for digital tech innovation. We are becoming a much braver and more ambitious town and have started to challenge cities like Newcastle and Leeds for investment. Having a new bank based in the centre of Middlesbrough is the perfect statement of that ambition, bringing new jobs and marking the first step to success.
Do you expect GBB to have strong links with the Tees region in the months and years ahead?
Steve: We’ve had an excellent few months during which Teesside Pension Fund became our cornerstone investor, investing £20m. This, on top of the investment we had already lined up, means we are ready to move on with our start up plans.
We’re expecting to receive our provisional banking licence this Autumn and if we do, we’ll be well on course to achieve our goal of trading fully as a bank in Autumn 2021, having competed the entire regulatory process and put the appropriate infrastructure into place. Our lease at 2 Centre Square is a fifteen year one, so our links with the Tees region will only strengthen from here.
Andy: GBB’s proposition is ground-breaking so it’s no surprise that the Teesside Pension Fund’s committee voted to invest £20m in GBB following its search for an attractive and wellcontrolled local investment opportunity.
GBB is going to be very successful, create jobs and gain national attention, so it’s absolutely fantastic news for our town. I know the general public and particularly the business community will get behind this fantastic venture, so links between the town and the bank will be incredibly strong.
You’ve both mentioned job creation – tell us about that.
Steve: Things are moving apace and we are actively recruiting, with a focus on North East talent. We are looking for experts in the fields of finance, risk, customer management, marketing, human resources, IT, lending, savings and more.
Andy: I think there’s potentially a fantastic snowball effect that could come into play. GBB intends to lend millions of pounds to finance exciting projects that will create new buildings and jobs – and restore old buildings to their former glory – right across the North East but, importantly, for Middlesbrough and Teesside. This will potentially support the creation of a thousands more jobs on Teesside at a time when this is desperately needed post COVID-19.
How will GBB get “Britain and the regions building again”?
Steve: Currently, only around half of the government’s housebuilding target is being met. Alongside availability of land and planning permission, access to finance is a key driver of this. One third of property developers have had an application for finance declined.
GBB intends to get Britain building by providing bespoke development finance to SME property developers in underserved regions. We’ll also offer savings rates that the UK public will love. GBB is determined to be a powerful force in reversing these trends and making a tangible impact in property development in the UK.
Andy: What excites me about this project is that banks who traditionally lend into the Middlesbrough area are always based hundreds of miles away, so they are therefore out of tune with what we really need. So having a brilliant bank in the centre of our town will mean we will have a lender who is sympathetic to what Middlesbrough and Teesside needs to create new jobs and buildings. This is a great shot in the arm for the local economy and we’re looking forward to supporting GBB on its exciting journey.