City of London Group (COLG) has said it will offer leasing products as part of its proposed lending business, which will be led by former Metro director Jason Oakley.

COLG applied for its banking licence in December and said the application is in process.

Echo Financial Services, a West Midlands-registered company with no current assets or liabilities, will become the challenger bank, providing loans and leases to businesses, funded by retail deposits.

The team for the bank currently includes Oakley, formerly managing director for commercial banking at Metro; Bryce Glover, coming from commercial banking roles in Santander and Nationwide; and Adrian Golumbina, previously finance director at Network Rail and with two decades of advisory experience in leasing.

According to records, Echo Financial Services was first registered in February 2017, as Biz Financial Services, and later switched to its current name in May of that year. COLG told Leasing Life that the name was a working title, and the group was still developing its brand.

The investment group has acquired 73% of equity in the company. The remaining equity has been acquired by Oakley (15%), Golumbina (10%) and Glover (2%). COLG has put an option to acquire the three’s equity in the future.

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COLG will provide additional funding of up to £2.5m to set up the bank. Should additional funding be needed, COLG and Oakley will provide shareholder loans of £0.75m each.

Michael Goldstein, chief executive officer of COLG, said: “I am delighted that we now have a top quality delivery team in place, led by Jason Oakley, that is properly motivated and incentivised to build a first class challenger bank offering a real choice in commercial, SME, bridging, and development finance.

“There is a strong desire to break the banking oligopoly and this is further strengthened by advances in technology, making a ‘bricks & mortar’ network of branches less significant as a barrier to entry. We are all very excited about the prospects of this business.”