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Amicus shelves banking licence strategy

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  • 12/09/2017
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Amicus shelves banking licence strategy
Lender Amicus is to abandon plans to obtain a banking licence, almost a year after submitting its application to regulators.

The news is a blow to the specialist lender, which provides short-term property loans, SME lending and working capital solutions through its three divisions, Amicus Property Finance, Amicus Commercial Finance and Norton Folgate.

It follows last month’s announcement of record lending in July of £72m after expanding its offering into the North West.

At that stage the lender was still hoping to receive its licence later this year.

However, in a statement the firm said it has “become aware that the regulator is not in a position to approve its banking licence application in the timeframe expected.”

As a result, Amicus is undergoing a strategic review across the group in order to reduce operational costs and ensure that its core short-term property lending business continues to grow.

The company said there is a risk that it may have to make redundancies but it is exploring ways of avoiding compulsory redundancies and minimising the number of employees affected. It aims to “complete this process as quickly as possible to reduce uncertainty and move the company forward”.

Keith Aldridge (pictured), managing director at Amicus, said: “Following the strategic review, Amicus will be well placed to continue building its core lending business through its diversified funding strategy.  We have a strong origination pipeline in place and are well positioned to go from strength to strength.”

Amicus had planned to convert £30m of debt, used to fund its lending activities, into equity to form the capital base of the bank’s operations.

At the time, CEO John Jenkins said applying for a banking licence was an important milestone that would give it the resources to grow, adapt and evolve its proposition.

It is unclear what has prevented the lender from securing its licence.

While it would not comment on an individual case, a spokesman for the Financial Conduct Authority said there is no general delay in the banking licence application process.

The statutory length of the process is six months but this can take longer if the application is complex, if information is missing or additional information required. The regulator can also make a licence conditional with a ‘minded to authorise’ decision if a firm is close to achieving its licence.

“Sometimes it could be that the application or the firm isn’t ready,” he added. “We try and help firms as much as we can.”

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