Wheatsheaf Group leads £20m investment in Oxbury Bank
Wheatsheaf Group, the international investor in food and agricultural business has invested in Oxbury Bank, the UK’s first dedicated agricultural bank in nearly 100 years, to help British farms become more productive and sustainable.
Oxbury Bank, of Chester, Cheshire, will open its doors for business in January 2021, offering radically improved lending services for farms, as well as offering retail savers the chance to support British farming and back innovative climate change projects.
Ahead of its launch, Oxbury Bank has secured £20m in new investment in a Series C funding round, led by Wheatsheaf Group, which invests in ambitious and like-minded companies to re-think and re-shape how food is grown, produced, distributed and consumed, along with Oxbury’s founding shareholders, including major agricultural distributors Frontier Agriculture and Hutchinson Group.
“UK farmers need the support of a lender that understands farming challenges and opportunities and that can move quickly to support them. Our investment aims to strengthen Oxbury’s ability to support UK agriculture, enabling British farms to manage their finances more efficiently and effectively, helping them to become more productive and sustainable.”
Executive Director, Wheatsheaf Group
Executive Director, Wheatsheaf Group
Oxbury Bank, which received its bank licence in January 2020, has been founded by leading farmers and agricultural distributors, bankers and tech experts – combining the worlds of finance and agriculture to help British farmers thrive during a time of uncertainty and change.
The bank is offering a range of innovative lending and savings products for farm businesses that they cannot get from mainstream banks and lenders. Its products include Oxbury Farm Credit which is an innovative new product providing far greater flexibility to farms in managing their short-term financing needs.
The bank is also aiming to tap into the significant public support for British farmers by offering consumers the opportunity to use their savings to fund a thriving farming community and sustainability projects across Britain – including the world’s first ever carbon-offset savings account, Oxbury Forest Saver.
James Farrar, Oxbury Bank CEO, said: “We’re delighted to have secured further investor support for Oxbury and our long-term vision to transform finance for British farmers.
“We’re launching Oxbury at a time of critical importance to UK agriculture. Oxbury is the only UK based bank that has its thinking, expertise and empathy exclusively focussed on the agricultural market and the needs of those farmers, as well as offering British savers the opportunity to support the cornerstone sector of the UK economy and the transition to a low-carbon future.”
Oxbury is targeting an 8% share of all farm lending within five years of launch, in a market where 70% of lending is still controlled by the big four banks.
Oxbury Farm Credit solves the problem of farm businesses having to fund their raw materials many months or years before receiving income from the sale of produced goods. Farmers spend over £9bn a year on purchasing raw materials to support production – yet over the past 10 years, traditional banks have reduced short-term working capital funding to farmers by over 25%.
Oxbury’s savings range is available to both farm business and individual retail customers and will include the world’s first ever carbon-offset savings account.
The ground-breaking Oxbury Forest Saver account will also enable consumers to put aside savings while pledging their savings interest to fund dedicated tree planting projects across Britain.
Every pound saved with Oxbury will be used for lending to farms in the UK, offering consumers the opportunity to use their savings to fund a thriving farming community.