A collaboration between a high flying bank worker and an accountancy firm twice labelled the best in the UK has been hailed a huge success.
The unique partnership between Karina Gallagher and JF Hornby and Co has seen local businesses benefit from £6m in affordable commercial finance deals in the last 12 months.
Hornby Commercial was launched in 2017, with a desire to bring many of the traditional values once associated with high street banks back to south Cumbria.
Now the fledgeling business has its sights set on expansion as it marks 12 months of lending with the launch of a new website.
Karina, who is managing director of Hornby Commercial, said: “When I left the bank I decided I was going to take a little time out to reflect on the future and what I wanted to do.
“But within 24 hours of thinking that, my mind was made up and I decided I wanted to take all the best bits about being a senior relationship manager with a big bank and set up my own business.
“I met up with Paul to discuss idea, and a quick coffee soon turned into a more detailed discussion.
“It wasn’t long before we had agreed to go ahead and set up the business.”
Hornby Commercial is based on the Daltongate Business Park in Ulverston.
In the last 12 months around 30 businesses have successfully been through the commercial loan procedure, with the benefit of Karina and her 30 years of banking experience on the other end of a telephone.
She said: “I can think of no better way of spending my working day than helping business to access the funding they need.
“If you think a company has a project on and they want to inject some money to be able to deliver it, it becomes about helping to drive a business forward.
“And that can have far-reaching benefits, for the business, for employment and the wider local economy.
“Of course it is very important that we lend in a responsible manner.
“I am here to build a business for the long term and am doing so with one of the most trusted names in the area. This is about doing the right thing for the client.”
It was this experience, along with her character and drive which convinced the MD of Hornby’s, Paul Hornby, to go into business with her.
He said: “Karina is extremely commercially savvy and brings huge experience to Hornby Commercial.
“From the start, she was driven to make it a success. The business really is filling a gap in the market which has been left by the banks.
“Where at one time you could have a conversation with your bank manager about a loan, nowadays unless your business has a turnover running into the millions it is unlikely that your contact with your bank will be with a someone who knows you and your business, and this can feel very impersonal.
“Hornby Commercial is filling that gap and is bringing some of those old-fashioned values back.”