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Banking

Amsterdam Trade Bank transforms into digital SME lender FIBR

Under new leadership and with new technology, the Dutch merchant bank pivots from shipping loans to digital lending to SMEs across Europe.

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It is quite the transformation: from providing traditional shipping loans, asset finance and credit for commodities traders dealing in the CIS countries of the former Soviet Union into a digital, connected, cloud-based banking platform supplying small and medium-sized enterprises in the Netherlands, Germany, Finland, Spain, Ireland and the UK with working capital and secured and unsecured business loans.

The journey of the old Amsterdam Trade Bank (ATB), first established in 1994 as a merchant bank and owned by ABH Holdings as part of the Alfa Bank Group, into a new lender, FIBR – with the same owners, same regulators, but an entirely different business model – highlights the radical change new technology and new leaders can bring to banking.

Oren Bass joined ATB as chief executive in May 2020. He had previously worked in structured finance at Goldman Sachs and managed funds at GLG Partners before setting up Pave, a US online retail lender focused on millennials, in 2011.

Bass tells Euromoney: “The problems SMEs in Europe endure today in raising finance remind me of those consumers in the US faced 10 years ago, when banks were still pulling back from unsecured lending after the financial crisis and Fico scores were the main in-put for credit underwriting.

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