ALBA Bank has stepped up its launch preparations by signing a deal with technology firm aimed at speeding up the lending process.

The fledgling lender, which is backed by Scottish industrialist Jim McColl, has teamed up with nCino, a “pioneer” in cloud banking for the financial services industry.

The partnership will see Alba adopt the nCino cloud banking platform, which the bank said will ensure it has a streamlined end-to-end lending process, from loan application to fund disbursement. It added that as Alba grows and evolves, the platform will offer a scalable, cutting-edge lending platform for small to medium-sized enterprises, which complements its commitment to providing quick lending decisions.

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Alba is poised to become the first new bank to open in Scotland since Edinburgh’s Hampden & Co launched in 2015. It was authorised to move into mobilisation in March after securing a licence from city regulators, allowing it to move into a crucial ramp-up phase during which it has sought to raise investment, embed IT systems and controls, put policies and procedures in place, build up its teams, and finalise its product offering.

Alba, which will specialise in lending to the SME sector in Scotland, said integrating its core banking engine with nCino will enable the submission of loan applications, monitoring of progress, and the digital sharing of loan decisions, noting that this will help reduce the time from application to review by its team of underwriters for approval.

With full regulatory approval pending, the bank added that the nCino technology will help to ensure that it technically and operationally ready to begin lending on day one.

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Andrew Lewis, chief risk officer for Alba Bank said: “To build Alba, we partnered with the very best technology providers in their fields to offer our customers a first-class banking experience. Partnering with nCino underlines this approach.

“nCino’s highly regarded Cloud Banking Platform will support our end-to-end lending needs, helping our expert underwriters to make quicker lending decisions for our customers, and allowing us to scale with speed and agility as we introduce more products and build our customer base.”

Charlie McIver, managing director at nCino for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, said: "We’re proud to partner with Alba Bank in their endeavor to revolutionize SME banking.

“Our technology is robust and adaptable, designed to support both emerging banks like Alba, and large established incumbents seeking to innovate and modernise. We’re excited to be on this journey with Alba as they scale and work to fulfill their mission.”