New boss for bank at centre of Government’s pandemic response

10 June 2020, 12:44

Catherine Lewis La Torre
Catherine_Lewis_La_Torre_Square. Picture: PA

The British Business Bank has overseen three schemes that have funnelled £35 billion to UK firms.

The bank that is overseeing the Government’s multibillion-pound effort to support small companies through the coronavirus pandemic has appointed a new boss.

Catherine Lewis La Torre was announced as interim chief executive of the Government-backed British Business Bank.

She will take over from current boss Keith Morgan in September.

The appointment will see Ms La Torre step up from her job as chief executive of the bank’s subsidiaries British Patient Capital and British Business Investments.

In those jobs she has been responsible for loans to businesses that need long-term funding, and the bank’s commercial investments.

Her appointment follows Mr Morgan’s announcement in October last year that he is set to leave the British Business Bank, which he helped set up.

The search for a permanent successor was interrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Ms La Torre will take over at a bank which has been at the centre of the UK’s economic response to coronavirus.

So far around £35 billion has been lent to businesses through three schemes launched by the Government, administered by the British Business Bank, and footed by the high street lenders.

More than one million businesses have applied for loans under the coronavirus business interruption loan scheme (CBILS) and the bounce back loan scheme.

British Business Bank chairman Lord Smith said: “Catherine is a highly respected industry leader, with more than 30 years’ investment management experience and a strong track record of success.

“She has successfully led the bank’s commercial subsidiaries, British Patient Capital and British Business Investments and has made a considerable contribution to the bank since she joined in 2016.

“I am delighted that she has agreed to take on the role of interim CEO and look forward to working with her as we support the UK’s economic recovery.”

By Press Association

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