BCRS Business Loans has appointed a former chair of the Peer-to-Peer Finance Association as its new chair.
The West Midlands based alternative business lender announced that Paul Smee has taken over from Rob Hill as chair of its ten-strong board.
Smee joins not-for-profit lender BCRS with over 20 years’ experience leading British trade associations as well as being chair of the Peer-to-Peer Finance Association.
Since September 2020 Smee has been a member of the Gibraltar Financial Services Commission and, amongst other roles, was previously chief executive of UK Payments and the Council of Mortgage Lenders. He is also heavily involved with social housing regulation, as deputy chair of the Regulator of Social Housing.
Commenting on his appointment Paul Smee said: “I am delighted to be joining BCRS Business Loans as chair and relish the opportunity to be part of a rapidly growing organisation that continues to do so much to support the growth and survival of businesses that are unable to access finance from traditional lenders.
“I have watched BCRS’ progress with interest in recent years, especially during 2020 when it worked tirelessly to support businesses in the West Midlands that were struggling as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
“I am very much looking forward to meeting the whole team in person when coronavirus rules allow and getting to know my fellow board members.”
The chief executive of BCRS Business Loans, Stephen Deakin, added: “I am so pleased to share the news that Paul Smee will be joining our board as chair.
“Paul brings a breadth of knowledge from across the financial services sector and is held in high esteem for his strategic thinking and regulatory mind set. I know his standing and experience will be invaluable for BCRS.
“At BCRS, we believe in enabling viable SMEs to achieve their aspirations which, now more than ever before, is crucial in supporting the prosperity of the communities we serve. Due to the way we are structured as a Responsible Finance Provider, we are able to take a different, more supportive approach to our lending assessment.
“I look forward to working closely with Paul. He joins at an exciting time as we look to provide SMEs with the funding they require to kick-start growth plans and drive our economic recovery from the pandemic.”
Established in 2002, BCRS Business Loans supports businesses across the West Midlands region that are unable to access finance from traditional lenders, such as banks. A flexible, relationship-based approach is used to deliver loans from £10,000 to £150,000 to viable businesses that are looking to grow, recover and employ additional staff.