Bank that builds to become Centre Square’s first tenants

GBB CEO Steve Deutsch and Middlesbrough Mayor Andy Preston outside 2 Centre Square.
Tees Business Digital Media Pack

GBB, the ground-breaking new bank that will get ‘Britain and the regions building again’, has announced Middlesbrough as its new headquarters.

In a move that will create up to 120 jobs in the town, GBB has secured a 15-year lease for 11,000 sq ft of space in Middlesbrough’s purpose-built 2 Centre Square, making it the first tenant in the Grade A office development.

GBB is expected to secure its provisional banking licence this Autumn, which will allow it to trade as GB Bank. It will retain a satellite office in Newcastle, where it is currently based.

Recruitment is focused on local talent, and the bank expects to initially employ a team of around 60 people, doubling this as it grows. It is already actively recruiting around 40 of these roles in the fields of finance, risk, customer management, marketing, human resources, IT, lending, savings and more.

When up and running, it will offer highly competitive fixed-rate savings and provide development finance, working with property companies to deliver 2,160 new homes and 770,000 sq ft of office space in the North East alone.

Steve Deutsch, CEO of GBB, said: “This is a landmark moment in our journey. Middlesbrough has a reputation as a hotbed for digital tech innovation, making it a natural fit. 2 Centre Square is a hugely impressive building and will make a great base for the team.

“The bank will meet a real need for SME commercial and residential property developers, as we’ll deliver the finance and relationship support that’s lacking at the moment.

“Establishing a bank in the region benefits everyone, from the people we employ to the jobs created by the property developers we work with. We now have an excellent base, the investment that we need – the next stage is to secure our licence and have the full infrastructure in place ready to launch late 2021.”

Middlesbrough mayor Andy Preston said: “Middlesbrough’s becoming a much braver and more ambitious town. What we’re going to do is start challenging cities like Newcastle and Leeds for investment and success.

“Having a new bank based in the centre of Middlesbrough is the perfect statement of that new ambition and the first step to success.

“GBB is certainly going to be very successful, create jobs and win national attention, so that’s absolutely fantastic news for our town.

“Basing their headquarters in Centre Square is the first piece of really good news for our ambitions to host more jobs in and around the centre of town. There are several more announcements to follow in the coming weeks.”

Mayor Preston expressed his gratitude to GBB’s brother and sister co-founders Stephen and Emma Black for their “faith in Middlesbrough”, to Middlesbrough Council staff including Kevin Parkes and Ian Wright for their work in clinching the deal and to his family for their understanding they had shown during his many unsociable hours of negotiations.

The news about GBB has also been welcomed by the developer which – alongside Middlesbrough Council – has been responsible for Centre Square.

Mark Ashall, the director of Ashall Projects, said: “The main objective of the Centre Square project was to provide employers and their staff with a light, comfortable, sustainable and flexible working environment coupled with the full range of benefits of its town centre location – including easy access to high quality public realm, local amenities and public transport.

“We are pleased that GBB has chosen to take advantage of these benefits and look forward to welcoming further employers to Centre Square in the near future.”

In the construction phase alone, the Centre Square development saw more than £2m spent on local suppliers and around half the workforce living within a 10-mile radius.

GBB boasts another local connection through its association with the Teesside Pension Fund. The fund’s committee voted to invest £20m in GBB.

Chair of the Teesside Pension Fund, Cllr David Coupe, said: “It’s been a long-term aspiration of the fund to invest in an attractive and well-controlled local opportunity. It’s excellent that GBB will put down roots in Middlesbrough. They have a bold plan for the future and it’s excellent news that they will be based in the heart of our town centre.

“Lots of companies are sadly at the mercy of Covid-19 uncertainty, but we’re confident investing in a robust, sector-specific digital start-up such as this is a strong way to maximise returns for the pension fund’s beneficiaries.”

• For more information, visit www.thegbb.co.uk.