With a £2.2bn lending pipeline, OakNorth Bank has opened an office in Birmingham and added four new senior hires to the team.

Steve Mitchell and Marcus Hook will be based out of the new office. Mitchell spent more than six years at Santander with his former colleague Hook.

This comes following an announcement earlier this year which saw the bank appoint a group of debt finance directors to oversee lending operations out of its Manchester office.

Since then the Manchester team has grown to five people with several transactions led by the team.

Ben Barbanel, head of debt finance at OakNorth Bank, said: “The launch of our Birmingham office and senior-level hires come at a pivotal moment for OakNorth Bank as we look ahead to 2020 and the future lending pipeline. While we are of course being more cautious when it comes to assessing credit risk, we see the next six months as a key opportunity to not only prove the strength of our proposition, but to also gain market share at a time when many of the high-street lenders will be pulling back.

“As the second largest city in England and home to almost 23,000 SMEs, Birmingham is an ideal place for us to expand our regional footprint. There are so many brilliant businesses across the Midlands who, just like us, will find opportunity at a time when many of their peers will be putting growth plans on hold. With the help of Marcus, Chris, Steve and Martin, we can take advantage of this further push into the regions and support even more businesses across the UK,” he concluded.

In October OakNorth provided a £17.8m loan to UK property developer Marden Homes for a residential development in Chelmsford.

The funding is financing a major new waterside residential development of 128 units and 28 affordable homes in Little Waltham, five miles from Chelmsford.