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The London digibank desperate to hire in a difficult market

Firms operating in the real estate space will surely have braced themselves for a bumpy ride in the near future. House prices are on their way down as interest rates rise, which means real estate lenders will have higher costs and lower yields. Some firms might be looking to ease off the accelerator especially when it comes to hiring but fintech unicorn OakNorth Bank is doing quite the opposite.

In October 2022, OakNorth was advertising 60 roles. Today, that number is down to 48, a comparatively small drop given the large numbers of fintechs putting their hiring plans on hold. Reassuringly, the bank says its "tech team needs to grow" and much of its hiring is in the UK. 

Recent hires have more of a tech than a finance focus. Senior cloud engineer Kristiyan Dzhakov joins after working at two travel companies, Awaze and Booking.com. Senior full stack engineer Dan Bovey joins from Trainline. Oaknorth says it cares "more about mindset, capability and culture fit than years of experience with specific technologies."

That doesn't mean finance professionals are absent. Oaknorth's COO was once a COO at Standard Chartered. Samuel Eddy, formerly of UBS and most recently a global analytics lead at KPMG, has joined recently as a technical product manager. Technology risk change manager Stephen Gilkes previously worked for a number of banks, including UBS and Credit Suisse.

OakNorth CEO Rishi Khosla isn't blind to the downturn in the market, but is confident that his fintech will thrive as others fail. Speaking to Euromoney, he said: "Do I expect overall losses in the lending space to go up? Yes, absolutely. Do I expect OakNorth to do better than the market? I would say: yes."

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AUTHORAlex McMurray Editor

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