Emerging Sydney fintech, Avenue Bank, has been granted a restricted banking licence by the financial regulator APRA.
Avenue was founded by entrepreneurs, Colin Porter and Dale Hurley. In July last year, it recruited former Commonwealth Bank executive, George Confos, as CEO.
Avenue proceeded to raise $37 million in a Series B funding round, which closed last February.
The digital bank is backed by Sherman Ma’s Liberty Financial Group and is looking to push into the small-medium business lending territory currently dominated by Judo Bank and fintechs such as Prospa.
The APRA approval means Avenue can offer short-term working capital lending to SMEs. The neobank is hoping for a full licence by mid 2022.
Avenue will also use the Series B money to build its core banking technology and activate its launch plans.
Avenue CEO, George Confos, said the impacts of the pandemic lockdowns had improved the company’s value proposition and their mission remains the same – to explore more ways to leverage the company’s position as a bank and offer unique services in the market.
“Avenue’s innovative and digitally enabled product suite will deliver a much-needed cash injection to help Australian businesses. We’re solving real problems for real people, focusing initially on small and medium-sized enterprises,” Mr Confos said.
The company, he added, had the potential to inject some “much-needed competition into the underserviced SME sector.”
“It’s time small businesses had access to a new kind of bank which finds more ways for small businesses to access valuable cash flow,” Mr Confos said.
“We have fresh ideas to solve an age-old problem SMEs continue to face.”