Former UK chancellor and foreign secretary Philip Hammond has joined OakNorth Bank’s advisory board.

He will work with OakNorth’s clients and “senior policymakers around the world” to redefine lending to SMEs.

Philip Hammond, former Chancellor of the Exchequer, said: “I am delighted to be joining OakNorth’s Advisory Board at such an exciting point in the company’s history. OakNorth is the flagship of the UK’s vital and fast-growing fintech sector – attracting record-levels of investment and generating sustainable profits while bringing much-needed change to an underserved area of the banking market. Small and medium-sized businesses are the lifeblood of the British economy and communities globally.

“The development by OakNorth of a platform to deliver cost-effective lending to them is a major boost to the potential of not only the British economy but economies worldwide. I look forward to being part of both OakNorth’s growth story in the UK and its expansion into international markets, licensing its platform to partners across the globe,” he added.

Co-founder of OakNorth Rishi Khosla said during his time as chancellor, Hammond proactively advocated for SMEs. Khosla said: “We set up OakNorth because of the challenges we experienced in securing finance from commercial banks when trying to scale our first business – challenges that Philip himself experienced as an SME housebuilder. 

During his time as Chancellor, Philip proactively advocated for SMEs and the fintech sector – two areas that have clear synergies with OakNorth. He brings both an international perspective, having worked with Finance Ministers across the globe, as well as a deep understanding of the British economy.

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“He will spend time with global clients and policymakers, as well as advising us on the continued expansion of our UK loan book. We’re delighted that he’s joined us and look forward to working together to change commercial banking globally, so it can truly address the financing requirements of SMEs,” he added.

Before becoming a politician, Hammond ran an SME housebuilding business, a sector which has experienced record decline in recent years as large housebuilders gain market share.

As chancellor, Hammond ran a pro-business agenda supporting SMEs. This agenda included the Bank Referral Scheme, the British Business Bank’s Enable Guarantee and Enable Build programmes – cutting business rates by a third and ensuring businesses are paid on time by large corporate’s.