Leicester-local, Reena Pithwa, is heading up the new Midlands Relationship Management division at Allica Bank, helping to launch its direct-to-SMEs banking offering.
The appointment is part of Allica’s Bank’s mission to ‘bring back the local Relationship Manager’ for established SMEs – a group that typically is no longer offered a relationship manager with deep local knowledge and SME lending expertise. Alongside hiring local relationship managers, Allica has invested heavily in its technology, with a focus on providing a quick and transparent experience for their SME customers.
Reena has more than 23 years’ experience supporting SMEs, mostly through high street bank lending: “Business owners want to speak to someone at their bank that knows their local area – someone that can provide insight tailored specifically to them. I want to be the person every ambitious Midlands SME calls when they need finance,” she says.
“Our region’s businesses are looking to recoup lost business and to stay sustainable. I am keen to speak to firms that are looking to invest in growth – such as by releasing capital in their property, or financing new assets.”
According to data collated by RFi Group on behalf of Allica Bank, SMEs in the Midlands rate access to finance, and having an international presence, as being key to their future success.
“The data from RFi Group is important because it shows us that our region’s SMEs understand how critical diversification and expansion are in this climate,” she continues. “Access to finance is critical – but so too is a Relationship Manager who can support businesses at a genuinely local level, with a deep understanding of the businesses involved, and the technology needed to make that experience seamless.”
Before entering the world of banking, Reena studied at the University of Birmingham. She was also a police officer, becoming only the second ethnic minority female on that force. Reena is a mentor for the Prince’s Trust and the Santander Breakthrough Women Business Leaders’ Mentoring programme.
Allica Bank has seen strong growth in lending in the last year and plans to offer £500 million in committed SME loan offers this year.