OakNorth Bank business banking review – savings accounts & loans explained

Updated on 13 February 2023

OakNorth Bank was established in 2015 by Joel Perlman and Rishi Khosla, the founders of offshore research and analytics service providers Copal Amba. Branding themselves a bank created by entrepreneurs, for entrepreneurs, will SMEs find that planting tiny financial acorns with OakNorth enables mighty trees to grow?

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Does OakNorth Bank support business banking?

OakNorth Bank does not offer current account services for sole traders or SMEs, so anybody seeking an establishment to handle their day-to-day financial affairs will need to look elsewhere. However, business customers will be entitled to open a business savings account with OakNorth, or to apply for unsecured business loans to bolster and grow their interests.

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What business banking services does OakNorth Bank offer?

As discussed, OakNorth Bank has two primary service offerings for business customers:

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  1. Business savings accounts
  2. Business loans

Business savings

OakNorth Bank offers three types of savings accounts for SMEs:

Account nameFeatures
Easy Access Savings AccountInterest rate of 1.49% per month (1.5% EAR), and funds can be accessed at any time.
Notice Savings AccountInterest rate between 1.60–1.90% EAR, and funds can be accessed with notice of 35, 60, 95, or 120 days. The longer the notice period you assign to this savings account, the higher your interest rate will be.
Fixed Term Savings AccountsInterest rate of 1.50% assigned to a six-month term or 2.0% to a twelve-month term, paid upon maturation of the savings account.
OakNorth business savings accounts compared

You will need at least £10,000 to open a savings account with OakNorth, and your accounts cannot hold more than £1,000,000.

Account holders can review their balance and manage their savings account at any time through the OakNorth Android or iOS app.

Business loans

OakNorth also offers business loans, with lending starting at £250,000 and potentially reaching as high as £45m. All loans are assessed on a case-by-case basis, with the fundamental reasoning behind an OakNorth loan being the growth of a business or idea.

The sectors this bank frequently collaborates with include:

  • Education and childcare.
  • Hospitality.
  • Real estate.
  • Senior living quarters.
  • Specialty finance and lending.

However, OakNorth will consider any application if it matches the fundamental values and interests of this bank. If you will not be using the money to bolster a business that operates in the fields of gambling, adult entertainment, or arms manufacture and trading, it’s worth seeing if OakNorth can help finance your venture.

Unlike a high street bank, OakNorth will leave you waiting for receive your approved funding – most applications that are accepted receive they money in a matter of weeks.

Is my company eligible for an OakNorth Bank business bank account?

If you are looking to open a savings account with OakNorth, you will need to meet the following criteria.

  • Be aged 18 or over, and named as a director of a business listed on Companies House
  • Have been registered as a business with HMRC for at least three years
  • Have access to a minimum deposit of £10,000 within 14 days of opening the account

If you are looking for a loan from OakNorth Bank, the criteria is largely what you would expect – you’ll need to provide proof of your business turnover, as well as your identity. All applications are discussed and assessed independently based on your company income, credit history, and the purpose of the loan.

What can I use an OakNorth business loan for?

OakNorth will ask you about your intentions for a business loan, so it’s advisable to have a business plan in mind. This bank is focused on helping SMEs grow and expand, so you’re likelier to be approved for borrowing if you can show that this is your aim. OakNorth will also work with your business, offering advice on how you can make your money go further.

How do I set up an OakNorth Bank account?

If you wish to open an OakNorth savings account, you can do so by downloading the app or filling in the appropriate form on the website. Just remember that you’ll need to despot at least £10,000 within 14 days of opening this account.

If you’d like to apply for a loan through OakNorth, fill in the initial contact form on the website. OakNorth will review this and get back to you in order to discuss your application in greater detail.

What are the advantages of setting up an OakNorth Bank business bank account?

OakNorth is an official bank, so although it does not have any branches the institution is regulated by the FCA, and up to £85,000 of savings is protected by the FSCS.

OakNorth provides very substantial loans – potentially considerably higher than what you would be offered on the high street – and releases funds much faster than most competitors.

What are the drawbacks of setting up an OakNorth Bank business bank account?

You’ll need to be firmly established and successful to take advantage of the services offered by OakNorth. With a minimum deposit of £10,000 for a savings account, and lending streams starting at £250,000, this bank is only interested in working alongside significant players in the business world.

OakNorth is reluctant to discuss their rate cards in advance of application, so you may find that you’re met with a higher interest payment on a business loan than you were initially expecting. The interest rate on savings accounts is not jaw-dropping either, considering how much you will need to invest.

What fees are involved with running an OakNorth Bank business bank account?

There is no charge to open or maintain an OakNorth savings account. What you deposit into the account remains your own, and the interest will be automatically applied.

Interest rates and set-up costs associated with loans from OakNorth are assessed on an individual basis. The sum of the loan, the length of the repayment terms, your business credit history, and the terms of the loan – amortisation vs interest-only – will all factor into the total cost. 

Do be aware that OakNorth, in their own words, “focus on speed, flexibility and competitive terms over price” so do not be surprised if you are quoted an amount that raises an eyebrow.

What is OakNorth Bank’s reputation among business banking customers?

OakNorth has a TrustPilot ranking of 4.6 from 5, which qualifies as Excellent, pulled from almost 3,500 reviews. The uniform opinion is that the OakNorth app is cleanly laid out, reliable, and simple to use. It’s impossible to please everybody, and there are a smattering of complaints about customer service and delivery, but we recommend reading these reviews as the content of them frequently speaks for itself.

Summary

If you’re an SME that is ready to take a significant stride forward in the management of your company, there is plenty of like about OakNorth. It’s a rarity for a new bank to be approved in the modern era, and this establishment is building a sturdy reputation for itself as a lender and savings provider. Just ensure you have sufficient capital to build on in the first place, as OakNorth is not a bank for businesses at the smaller end of the SME spectrum.

Reviewed by , Managing Director

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