Former BoSI chief Duffy sets his sights on commercial lending
The former head of Bank of Scotland's Irish arm, Mark Duffy, is behind a new venture that is aiming to muscle in on the Irish commercial lending market, the Irish Independent has learned.
It's the latest challenge to the traditional banking sector, which is also facing competition on the consumer side from credit unions keen to offer mortgages and debit cards.
It's thought Mr Duffy's vehicle - called Loanbox - has already begun operations in Spain and Portugal and is being backed by wealthy individuals in the US and Scandinavia.
Loanbox will target specialised lending towards borrowers seeking between €5m and €20m, a segment of the market where funding sources were squeezed following the financial crisis.
Mr Duffy is understood to be on a fundraising roadshow in the United States this week, according to sources there. He was uncontactable.
It's believed Mr Duffy , who's resident in Switzerland, is chairman of Loanbox, which is a unit of another venture he is involved in called European Asset Resolution Partners (EARP). Mr Duffy is chief executive of EARP.
That business is backed by Stockholm-based businessman Gunnar Dahl, who is also involved in Loanbox.
EARP was launched in 2013. That year, Mr Duffy set about raising at least €100m for the firm, which targets the acquisition of non-performing commercial loans of between €5m and €50m from banks.
It operates from a Dublin base, and also has offices in Madrid and Lisbon.
EARP was a separate vehicle to another company linked to Mr Duffy, called Asset Resolution Corporation (ARC). Mr Duffy established that in 2009 in conjunction with Dublin businessman Kevin Warren.
While ARC reportedly lined up as much as €3bn in funding to acquire distressed loans from foreign-owned banks operating in Ireland, it never got off the ground.
Mr Duffy was chief executive of Bank of Scotland (Ireland) until 2009.