Staying true to our core values

Amir Nooriala, OakNorth’s Chief Operating Officer, discusses our values and how they differentiate us.

In March 2015, we secured the third new banking licence in the UK in over 150 years and launched later that year in September. So, it’s quite remarkable that today, we’re now one of the most active lenders in the UK, having lent over £3bn to fast-growing businesses, with 40,000 savings customers whose deposits help fund our lending.

Despite this continued growth in a very fast moving sector, we are always heavily conscious to stay true to core values. In a nutshell, our mission is to help entrepreneurs and fast-growth businesses achieve their potential by giving them access to fast, transparent, and flexible lending solutions – no off-the-shelf solutions, no computer-says-no decisions.

We fund this in an old-fashioned way, but using the newest technology, by offering market leading rates and customer service to UK savers. In many ways like an old-fashioned building society we take the funds of UK savers, lend it to UK entrepreneur led businesses, allow them to grow, which then leads to home building and job creation, which should lead to more people being able to save. A UK based virtuous circle.

We are very proud of our business model, which requires our clients to be prosperous, for us to be successful and it mirrors one of core values ‘right ambition’. Overall, we have six core values that underpin how we work together to deliver the best outcomes for our customers. Having core values that all employees are asked to follow and sharing them with our clients with full transparency is something we’ve borrowed from tech companies and as such we’re happy to share our 6 core values with everyone:

  • 10X: aiming to offer our customers products and services that are 10 times better than the competition. We’re not looking to take small, incremental steps. We’re looking to do something that is dramatically different
  • One team: working collaboratively across all offices and geographies to achieve the best results for our customers. The OakNorth Holdings Group now has a presence in several countries so this is key.
  • Momentum: ensuring that we put energy and drive into everything we do. We don’t rest on our laurels or assume that what gave us a competitive advantage when we first launched in 2015, will be the same today. We’re constantly looking at how we can challenge ourselves and improve.
  • Saying it as it is: being open and transparent with all our stakeholders – whether that’s by making it clear to our savings customers that their savings are FSCS-protected up to £85k, or inviting prospective borrowers to come in and meet the Credit Committee to discuss their borrowing needs directly with the decision makers
  • Right ambition: understanding our purpose within the organisation and conducting our business in an ethical way. It is not about doing something that will personally benefit you, irrespective of what it will do for the organisation. It’s about understanding that what benefits the organisation will also benefit you
  • Zero-basing and simplify: questioning the status quo and striving for efficiency in every facet of our business. The more efficient we can be, the more we can pass on savings to our customers.

We take due care in providing lending services to businesses, individuals and organisations that treat their employees, customers, suppliers and all other stakeholders fairly and in accordance with their human rights. We also pride ourselves on only providing loans to businesses that conduct their activity in an environmentally responsible way, who don’t exploit animals or their environments, as well as those who conduct activities according to the rules and regulations in the markets in which they operate.

As our business continues to grow and evolve, it is important our values continue to evolve with it and that they stay imbedded at the heart of our every decision we make.

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