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OakNorth and Marqeta Join Forces to Tackle £22billion SME Funding Gap in UK

OakNorth, the digital bank for entrepreneurs, by entrepreneurs, has partnered with Marqeta, the global modern card-issuing platform, to enable its Business Banking customers to see a more holistic view of their finances and in turn, manage cash flow more effectively. 

This has been made possible due to a new commercial debit card for OakNorth’s customers, facilitated by the Marqeta platform. Small and medium-sized businesses (SME) account for 99.9 per cent of businesses in the UK and power the majority of private sector jobs. Despite being a critical part of the economy, UK SMEs are struggling, citing costs £10,000 higher in 2023 than the prior year.

In addition, the Bank of England estimates that there is an SME funding gap of £22billion in the UK. By partnering with Marqeta, OakNorth will provide its SME customers the services typically only available to commercial banking customers. This includes deposit accounts and tools to automate bill payments. In turn, this will help them plan for rising costs and thrive amid economic uncertainty.

Kristjan Kaar, chief product officer, at OakNorth
Kristjan Kaar, chief product officer, at OakNorth

“We’re proud to work closely with our customers to build a highly tailored solution that fits the unique needs of their business,” said Kristjan Kaar, chief product officer, at OakNorth. “We selected Marqeta because of its innovative approach to building a card program that would enable us to create a bespoke experience for our customers and support them in their growth ambitions.”

Empowering scale-ups

Launched in September 2015, OakNorth is a digital commercial bank, empowering scaling businesses (£1million – £100million turnover) to support growth, prosperity, and innovation. Since its launch, OakNorth has helped create over 40,000 new jobs. It has also supported businesses across the UK and across a variety of sectors. OakNorth specialises in supporting ambitious entrepreneurs and businesses that are underserved by traditional banks.

Todd Pollak, chief revenue officer at Marqeta
Todd Pollak, chief revenue officer at Marqeta

“Traditional banking products aren’t always a fit for the specific needs of small and medium-sized businesses. Furthermore, they lack the flexibility that they need in pivotal periods of growth and expecting them to fit into a one-size-fits-all solution,” said Todd Pollak, chief revenue officer, Marqeta.

“OakNorth Bank knows the complexities facing SMEs today. By partnering with Marqeta, we will be able to provide their customers with debit cards with customisable controls. These will help them limit spending and give customers a full view of expenses, along with tools to help them invest more in their business.

“With Marqeta’s single global platform, we can support OakNorth as the bank continues to grow and expand into new markets, ensuring customers have the same bespoke experience and control of their program as it scales.”


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