Merchant Money hires ex-Funding Circle Head as new CEO
Former Funding Circle Head, Luke Jooste, joins ascendant alternative lender, Merchant Money.
Over the past three years, Merchant Money has been quietly shedding its tag as a rising star and establishing itself as a major player in the UK fintech sector.
It sees the next 12-24 months as a real opportunity to grow the business – and the appointment of former Funding Circle head, Luke Jooste, is the business’s most serious statement of intent yet.
“It was the next logical step, says Danny Girnun, Managing Director of Merchant Money. “We’ve been investing in resources and infrastructure to help us take the business to the next evolutionary phase of growth, while steadily growing our client base. We’re now at the point where we’ve proven to be a profitable business, and we felt it was the right time to bring on board someone with Luke’s extraordinary skills and experience, and track record for taking businesses like ours to the next level.”
Girnun is referring to Jooste’s almost five-year stint as part of the leadership team at fellow alternative lender Funding Circle, during which time he helped scale the business and prepare it for its £2 billion IPO in September 2018.
Jooste previously held positions as Head of UK Property Finance and Commercial Director for Barclays Business Bank. He also has investment banking experience with BAWAG PSK in London, where he headed up the residential development finance team.
“There’s a lot of uncertainty in the economy right now, but also a lot of opportunity,” he says. “Every big macro change in the market creates risk, but those risks lead to opportunities – especially for established and forward-thinking UK lenders with the agility to respond to opportunities quickly.”
Merchant Money fits that description. The fast-moving, disruptive lender offers personalised and affordable small business loans, as well as a Merchant Cash Advance product – a flexible funding solution based on monthly card takings, with no fixed term or fixed monthly repayments.
“Merchant Money is a small, agile business that provides ‘fast, flexible funding’ – which is exactly what our customers who are UK SMEs need from their lenders. If we support the right partners in the right way, they win and we win.”
Jooste believes the business is well positioned to do exactly that. But when he first started talking to Merchant Money back in June, it was the people who excited him.
“There’s such amazing talent here, such visionary leadership already in place. One of my objectives will be to attract great new talent, but just as importantly, to retain the great people we currently have.”
Another priority, he says, will be to leverage the solid foundation of the business for future growth.
“We want to get the business scalable, ensuring we have the right credit risk underwriting, the right operating models, the right skillsets to enable us to compete on a wider canvas, and be more visible in the market.”
For Jooste, the time is ripe.
“Currently, many of the large and credible players in the UK alternative credit space are those that took advantage of the 2008 credit crunch uncertainty when banks retreated from the market. We see a similar opportunity emerging for smaller players from the current Brexit chaos, and Merchant Money aims to be at the forefront of that. Regardless of the wider macro risks, the UK still leads the way worldwide in disruptive financial services and Fintech – and it’s just such an exciting time to be part of a company like this.”
About Merchant Money
Merchant Money are specialist providers of short-term, flexible loans to SMEs across the UK. We pride ourselves on charging a competitive price for a premium service, often lending to those businesses that banks simply will not support.
Today, the company is recognised as one of the country’s leading providers of unsecured and secured business finance, and are well known for reliability, affordability, flexibility, speed, and their personal touch.
In addition to our highly personalised and affordable small business loans, we offer a revolutionary Merchant Cash Advance product, a flexible funding solution based on monthly card takings, with no fixed term or fixed monthly repayments.
As increasingly more firms circumvent the bureaucracy, inefficiency and impersonality of big banks, Merchant Money has emerged as the partner of choice for small businesses who need fast, flexible funding to drive the growth of their company.
Merchant Money is a member of the Federation of Small Business (FSB) and a patron of the National Association of Commercial Finance Brokers (NACFB). We are uncompromising in our principles, and practice ethical and responsible lending at all times.
For more info, contact:
Phone: 0203 813 8240