Folk2Folk has appointed Gary Leitch as its new chief operating officer to oversee the firm’s technology, finance, legal and people-related matters.
The national peer-to-peer lender for regional SMEs says Leitch has 34 years of experience in the retail, SME and corporate markets and has “a reputation for delivery, particularly for businesses looking to make a step change”.
He joins from Blue Motor Finance where he worked as a consultant for five months. Prior to that, he was interim chief operating officer at JBR Capital for 10 months from December 2020, and was managing director at Paragon Bank for almost four years after joining in May 2016.
The SME lender, founded in 2013, says at Paragon Leitch “was responsible for successfully leading the business through a period of significant strategic, operational and structural change, integrating a group of businesses into the regulated banking environment”.
He also spent just over four years at Lombard, leaving in December 2014 as managing director, corporate finance.
Folk2Folk managing director Roy Warren, said: “We’ve been strategizing and preparing the business for growth which includes bolstering internal expertise in terms of processes, credit, and risk assessment.
“I believe in bringing the right players onto the pitch at the right time, and Gary is the right person for Folk2Folk to bring in to play now.
“Gary is a well-respected heavy hitter within the sector. He has earned a reputation for getting things done and is a natural fit for our business. We both worked at Lombard and so I know from first-hand experience that he is a major asset to any organisation.
“Gary will play an important role in helping to galvanise our processes, our people and our plans in this next phase. I also see him as a strong asset in terms of Institutional partnerships.”
Leitch adds: “In recent years Folk2Folk has grown from a South West focused lender to becoming a UK-wide source of finance for small business owners, farmers and property developers in the regional parts of the UK. Funded by both private and institutional investors, the company also provides attractive, property-backed investment opportunities with zero investor losses to date.
“Since 2013, the marketplace lender has lent £544m to SMEs making it the second-largest peer to peer platform in the UK and one of the UK’s largest Innovative Finance ISA providers.