Allica Bank has appointed three relationship managers and one business executive to support the launch of its ‘bring back the local relationship manager’ philosophy.

The bank seen strong growth in lending in the last year and plans to offer £500m in committed small to medium enterprise (SME) loan offers this year.

Reena Pithwa has joined as local relationship manager for the Midlands, having spend 23 years in banking, dedicated to supporting SMEs through high street banks and motor finance.

Supporting Pithwa in the region, and with particular responsibility for the West Midlands, is Nargis Quraishi, who has 20 years of financial services experience and will help businesses recover post-COVID.

Responsible for the North, Katie Roberts has 16 years’ experience working with SMEs in the region, while Karen Astbury will support the others in a business executive role.

Conrad Ford, chief product and strategy officer at Allica Bank, said: “Our direct-to-SME offering will play a major part in our goal of empowering established SMEs to succeed and supporting the economic recovery from the pandemic.

“I am delighted to welcome Reena, Katie, Nargis and Karen to Allica to help us achieve that goal.

“They are all genuinely passionate about supporting the businesses that make up their region’s lifeblood, which is why I was so keen to get them on board.

“We believe that our ‘Bring back the local relationship manager’ strategy will have a tangible impact on our customers helping to build much-needed trust within our sector, and setting a new standard for service in the SME banking market.

“Allica Bank is focused on helping established SMEs get access to the finance they need, and launching our direct-to-SME channel will help us to achieve this.

“Our broker partners will always play a central role however, with their specialist lending expertise and knowledge of the market being crucial to ensuring we can provide as many SMEs with financial support as possible.

“Our plan from the beginning has been to work both directly and with brokers – in this way, we see that we are putting ourselves in the best position to support SME growth and the economic recovery from the pandemic.”