Becky Owen, Regional Managing Director at Bank North, on International Women’s Day 2022

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I joined Bank North in 2020 to lead the Manchester team, having spent over 23 years progressing my career at a leading high street bank. Bank North is building a new proposition from the ground up having secured its licence (Authorised with Restrictions) last summer. The opportunity to build something new and get the organisational culture right was important to me personally, and to us all as being a team is a key part of how we perform as a business.

I’ve had some really negative experiences within this male-dominated industry, that at times have made me reconsider my career. I’m happy I prevailed and have gone on to thrive as a senior leader. Now I want to help other women & colleagues enjoy the same successes and create a strong cultural environment where people thrive. I have a strong people management background, so I look for ways to develop, motivate and upskill, as well as instil emergence leaders with the confidence to push them forward.

Achieving diversity including gender balance within a supportive and collaborative team culture is a priority for me. In particular, getting women into key decision-making roles like Underwriting. Having a female perspective to assess the risk of our SME (Small and Medium-sized Enterprise) loans is a vital step towards redressing the unconscious bias that perpetuates inequality in financial services. It’s a huge part of reshaping the industry and the bigger picture, with #Breakthebias being the theme of International Women’s Day 2022.

More broadly, Bank North’s operational model of regional pods and localised decision-making is designed to address geographic diversity by championing SMEs outside of London – aligned to the Government’s Levelling Up agenda.

Coming out of the pandemic, there’s a great opportunity to accelerate positive change with flexible working becoming the norm, which helps level the playing field. I’m also looking forward to face-to-face events returning as networking groups are great for helping women in particular to develop their network and work collaboratively with like-minded professionals. For now, Bank North is using IWD to celebrate what we have achieved so far by profiling some of the impressive women within our ranks and giving them a platform for their voice.

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Bank North Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority (Financial Services Register number 848024). Bank North Limited is a company registered in England and Wales (company number 11030672) and its registered office is Suite 20A, Manchester One, 53 Portland Street, Manchester, M1 3LD.

Bank North has been Authorised with Restrictions since 24th August 2021, at which point the firm entered a phase known as mobilisation. During this phase, the bank will be undertaking lending activities but will not be accepting customer deposits.