Whiteaway announces launch date and picks partners

Whiteaway announces launch date and picks partners


Whiteaway Laidlaw Bank has announced the launch date of its new commercial lending arm and selected its initial panel of brokers and packagers.

As of April 7 2011, Whiteaway Laidlaw Bank (WLB) will officially be open for new business and will offer loans for both property investors and trading businesses.

Ian Broadbent, Managing Director of Blue Sky Mortgages, said: “We are very excited that WLB’s proposition will provide introducers with an innovative and fresh approach to commercial underwriting.”

The addition of WLB to the commercial lending market is set to have a huge impact on the industry and has been greatly anticipated over the last few months, following two announcements from the firm earlier this year. 

At the end of January, RBS Equity Finance’s investment fund, ‘the Special Opportunities Fund’, bought WLB and invested ‘significant additional capital’ into it.

At the beginning of March, WLB acquired Commercial First Partnership’s origination systems, sales, new business teams and other infrastructure, giving it all the necessary links to enter the commercial lending arena.

The final confirmation that WLB would enter the market came this week, when directors of the bank held seminars with around 50 brokers and packagers to prepare them for the launch.

Stephen Johnson, New Business Director of commercial lending at WLB, explained that the bank’s launch would initially only involve a small number of brokers, as the team at WLB would need time to gain a full insight into the market and to ensure that the best service and products were delivered.

“We have put a lot of work into where our products and deals should sit in the market and we expect them to be well received. We do, however, feel that it is important that we take time to closely assess the new products in their early stages.” he said.

One of WLB’s selected brokers/packagers, James Hardwick, Director at Yes Commercial, said: “We have dealt with Stephen Johnson and the team at Commercial First for over seven years so we have a long-standing relationship with the individuals now involved with WLB.

“I believe the launch of Whiteaway as a commercial lender will have a significant impact on what is available in this market. If the legal practices previously associated with the organisation remain constant, we should see speedier completion times on loans as well as greater oppurtunities for SMEs.”

Ian Broadbent added: “We are delighted that WLB has acquired the extensive experience of the staff at the Commercial First. We look forward to working closely with them as one of the first packagers on their panel.”

At present, the commercial lending market has been dominated by only a handful of key lenders and therefore the addition of WLB to the industry is likely to be met with positivity by brokers and borrowers alike.

Rob Lankey of Aldermore, Managing Director of Commercial Mortgages at Aldermore, said: "We welcome the news of another player in the market to help SMEs reach much needed commercial finance, which is currently hard to come by through traditional lenders."


It seems that all those involved in this weathered market are united in the hope that WLB’s news could mark the start of a return to the glory days of commercial finance.

By Katie-Jill Rowland


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