Scotland’s first bank solely dedicated to small and medium-sized business lending has been granted a banking licence by the UK Prudential Regulatory Authority and the Financial Conduct Authority.

Headquartered in Glasgow, Alba was Authorised with Restrictions on 9 March, allowing it to move into mobilisation.

This restricts carrying out the regulated activity of accepting deposits. The aggregate amount of deposits held by the firm at any time may not currently exceed £50,000.

Alba has worked closely with both regulators over the past five years to develop its proposition, processes and systems.

Founded in 2018 by Clyde Blowers’ chief executive Jim McColl, the bank also has an office London, with longer term ambitions to establish commercial hubs in regions across the UK.

Rod Ashley, chief executive of Alba, commented: “This is unquestionably a landmark moment in our journey so far – I am incredibly proud of the team who have steadfastly believed in our mission of launching a new SME focused bank and have worked tirelessly to build a comprehensive business plan, which has allowed us to receive our licence from the regulators.

“SMEs have long been regarded as the lifeblood of our economy, but haven’t always received access to appropriate levels or forms of finance.

“Alba’s proposed high-tech, high-touch business model, marrying the latest innovative digital technology with skilled relationship managers and personal judgement, will differentiate us within the UK SME lending market.”

Graeme Jones, chair of Alba, added: “While we will be a high-tech SME bank utilising the best financial technology available to serve our customers, we also place equal value on our customer relationships.”

The team at Clyde Blowers have been working alongside Alba to secure the banking license, as well as leading the capital raising to date, supported by several like-minded entrepreneurs.

The bank has now raised sufficient capital to support the mobilisation phase and beyond.