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News from the Alba Team

“Take yourself out of your comfort zone. That’s where you learn the most”

Charlie joined us just a few weeks ago as Savings Manager and has already found this simple title covers a lot of ground!

“Everybody thinks differently – your opinion is as valid as anybody else’s.  At Alba, you have a voice.”

“Everybody thinks differently – your opinion is as valid as anybody else’s.  At Alba, you have a voice.” Charlie joined us just a few weeks ago as Savings Mana­­ger and has already found this simple title covers a lot of ground!

“What attracted me to Alba was its start-up mentality.  There’s no room for empires, politics or turf wars.  Alba’s approach is to tackle problems by taking input from all areas – from my first day, I had a voice in some really important projects that will help us launch Alba successfully.”

“My first impression of Alba?  It’s very fast paced!  I joined just as the team started to gear up for launch, having put a lot of the foundations in place already.  This means we now spend much of our time testing how things will feel like as a customer.  We want to get things exactly right, so they are really easy for the customer.  We are focussed on our first customers and their experience, and they are not all that far away now!

“I want to be part of a Bank that builds genuine relationships with customers.  People may not realise that all banks, even the most FinTech-y ones have people at the centre of customer service.  Too often, Banks can lead on the tech and overlook the importance of the human touch.  At its core, Alba is using technology to help the people deliver a better service.  We call it "high touch - high tech."

“I like spotting when something needs to be done, and just getting on with it.  In other places I’ve worked, making small changes can take an age, with bureaucracy getting in the way.  That’s not the case here.  It’s more than just flexible management, though, it’s an attitude; we all want to launch something special, so we help each other get things done.”

“My job is a bit like an electrician – to be able to flick a switch, the wiring has to be right.  Much of what I do will never be seen by customers but they will feel it; to deliver a great service, things have to work perfectly behind the scenes.  I spend much of my time checking the connections.”

“I like to take myself out of my comfort zone – that’s where I learn the most.  If you’re the kind of person who likes predictability, Alba may not be the place for you.  For me, it’s exactly right.  Launching a Bank presents lots of challenges, and they never sit in just one area.  You always need to work together as a team, and I’ve lost count of the times a voice from stage left has thrown in some little nugget that cracks the problem for us.”

Finally we asked Charlie what advice he would offer somebody interested in joining Alba:

“Go for it.  You’ll get to work on things you barely even knew were a thing!  I don’t know exactly what jobs I’ll do in the future, because things always change.  What I do know, very clearly, is what skills and experience I’d like to acquire.  The opportunities to grow within a new Bank, which itself will grow enormously, is something you’ll struggle to find elsewhere.”


To view our current vacancies please click here

You’ll find Charlie on LinkedIn here

News from the Alba Team

“How often does the CEO personally introduce the intern to the whole team?”

Madhuri Bhaskara (Maddy to her friends) recently completed her MBA, followed by a successful internship at Alba’s Head Office in East Kilbride.  She shared her experiences with us.

“Everyone plays a critical part.  Be brave and find your place.”

“Alba believes in nurturing talent.  They were very engaged with my faculty at the University of Glasgow.  Alan Sim [we interviewed Alan last week] was generous with his time, talking to my class about Alba’s plans and listening to our feedback and ideas.”

“An MBA is not just theory, it’s about looking at things differently, and making new connections.  Being able to take a step back, to work with people who have very different backgrounds, and to test out new ideas with them is so valuable.   The connections I made on the course will help my future career immensely.”

“Getting into the best companies can be hard – the walls are really high.  Alba opened the door and welcomed me in.  Alba’s culture is one of welcoming people who bring a new perspective and are willing to run with ideas.  It’s about attitude, not experience, and if you put yourself forward you’ll be given space to flourish.  For me, it meant I could put what I’d learnt on my MBA into practice.”

“Being successful in business is all about relationships, but it’s rare to see it done so well.  That’s why Alba’s plans resonated with me. What I didn’t expect was how willing they were to build a relationship with me! You don’t expect the CEO to give up a large chunk of his day walking you around the office introducing you to everybody.  Not only that, but I quickly realised all the leadership team had read my CV and were familiar with my experience.”

“I wasn’t just told what to do.  I was invited to find my place.  I was able to spend time with the team and come up with a proposal for how I would spend my time with Alba.  One aspect I chose to work on was establishing the Alba Academy, which is about attracting all sorts of people from very different backgrounds.”

“A growing business like Alba goes through a significant amount of development, so effective change management is essential.  Having the time to work in Programme Management gave me a great sneak preview of all the great things coming down the line for Alba.”

Finally we asked Maddy what advice she would offer her Alba colleagues as we prepare to launch:

“Keep listening to our customers.  SMEs need to be heard.  I’ve spoken to many and they are all so different; one size doesn’t fit all; take time to understand how Alba can help them, and they’ll welcome you with open arms when you launch.”

We certainly hope so, Maddy, and thanks for everything you did for us.

To view our current vacancies please click here

You’ll find Maddy on LinkedIn here


News from the Alba Team

“I believe in relationship banking, I always have”

We spoke to Alan Sim, Head of Lending, about life at Alba.

“There is a straight line between strategy, culture and the customer”.

“There’s a space in the market for a true direct relationship between SMEs and their bank.  I believe in relationships, not one-off transactions.  The Bank should be there to support its customers over the long term.  When I speak with accountants, lawyers, valuers, they all agree.”

“I’ve never met a SME management team that doesn’t like talking about their business.  It’s important we listen, understand their business model, their opportunities and challenges, providing appropriate funding solutions.”

“We’re a team with so much experience, it makes sense to tap into it.  I’m not just talking about one person speaking to the customer, while the rest of the bank knows nothing about them.  We’ll be most useful to customers when we pool our knowledge and experience across Credit and Business teams.”

“We have people who have worked in banking through several economic cycles; they know being short-termist and reactionary is rarely the best approach.  They have the perspective and business knowledge to take the long view.”

“I like to think of ourselves as a trusted sounding board.  Sometimes this means we’ll have different perspectives, maybe see a different way to provide funding for a business to move forward, but that’s where we’ll add value.”


“Trust comes from consistency and delivering what we say we’ll do”. For us that means credit-supported decisions.  That may sound a bit jargony, but it simply means engagement between Business Development and Credit Teams in looking at loan applications early on.  It can be really frustrating for a customer if the terms keep changing as an application progresses.  Our aim is to get an agreed position at an early stage and follow that through.”

“There is a strong bond across the Alba team.  We’ve come so far, so quickly.  We could not have done any of it without a culture of mutual support.  There’s an energy about the place, everybody is going in one direction.”

“We’re a small team, we rely on each other, we challenge each other to do better.  There’s no working in silos.  It’s fundamental to how we look after customers, and the whole Bank pulls together to make sure we meet our obligations and do the right thing.”

Finally, we asked Alan what single piece of advice he would give to people wanting to join Alba:

“You don’t get many chances to join a Bank in the early stages.  If you have the opportunity to join a well capitalised, well funded Bank with a clear purpose, vision and strong culture, where everyone’s input is valued, why wouldn’t you grab it with both hands?

To view our current vacancies please click here

News from the Alba Team

“We’re building a new culture, not just a bank. That’s really exciting”.

We spoke to Gill Cairns, Head of Outsourcing and Procurement, about life at Alba.

“For other banks, SMEs are just a small part of what they do. For Alba, they are why we exist.”

For other banks, SMEs may be just a small part of what they do. For Alba, they are why we exist. We built Alba literally from the ground up to serve SMEs, they are our bread and butter; everything is geared towards helping them grow.”

It’s rare to be there at ground zero, when you can build something new. We are only at the start of this journey; we are here for the long term. Alba gives a rare chance to grow the SME proposition with freedom to think differently. We have big plans to grow, to serve more SMEs, and we’re only taking the first steps right now.”

It’s about taking the longer term view. We’re new, and we’ll introduce more and more products and services over time. It’s the same for our customers; they’re looking to grow, their needs will evolve, and we’ll be there alongside them, offering support and encouragement.”

It’s the culture we are building that makes us different. We don’t operate in silos, limited to our functions. Everybody has a voice and a chance to contribute; not everything goes right first time, but that’s ok, we share the load, and that’s because we’ve all seen what can be achieved when we do.”

It’s probably not for those whose egos need to build empires – open communication, constructive feedback and working in small groups to solve problems means that we crack issues really quickly. When other people have better ideas than I do, I love that, because it always sparks a new idea in me and I’m off and running!”

Finally, we asked what single piece of advice Gill would give to people wanting to join Alba:

Bring your passion, and leave your ego at the door.  Talking of doors, you can simply stick your head around one and find people who are generous with their ideas and open to share. There is scope to stretch – you won’t end up leading an empire of thousands, but you’ll work with people who will involve you in new projects, and that will give you the chance to develop transferrable skills.”

To view our current vacancies please click here

News from the Alba Team

“I’d expected it to be busy, but I went from 0-60 almost immediately. I love it”.

 We spoke to Amy Paterson, Senior Risk Manager, who joined us just a few weeks ago, about how she’s finding life at Alba.

"Pressure creates diamonds. There is a collaborative spirit, regardless of how busy everyone is."

“I’m so proud to be working for a new bank based in Scotland. I’m a proud Scot; we’re known for our entrepreneurial spirit, straight talking and our drive. Ambitious businesses need partners like us, with the same eye on growth. When Alba launches this energy will be channelled to help SMEs both in Scotland and across the UK.”

“I’d expected a gentle start, but I was consulted from day 1.  In other jobs I’ve done it took a while for people to start including me. Alba makes a real effort to welcome new arrivals; everybody knew what I could do straight away, and sought my input on really important matters. It made me feel welcome, dispelled any nerves, and meant I was immediately learning new things.”

“What’s different about working for Alba? My immediate reaction is the people. The sheer knowledge and experience of those around me is amazing.  Everyone is super-busy but always ready to help. There is a collaborative spirit, which is really fulfilling.”

“For the first time I feel part of something. I spent 13 years in the big 5 banks and learned a lot. But those are enormous businesses, and it becomes all too easy to work in silos, rarely seeing how you affect the bigger picture. Because Alba is small I have already seen the impact I'm having as we build the bank.”

“I see my career as like parts of a car.  Alba is a chance to sit in the driving seat, to change gear, and to steer things. I don’t want to be a passenger. My job is to help SMEs get where they are trying to go, safely. Maybe there are bumps in the road, but managing risk is about understanding what could go wrong and checking everyone has their seatbelts on!”

“I am also Chair of Scottish Financial Enterprise Young Professionals. The whole idea is to develop a pipeline of talent, whether from schools, apprenticeships, Universities or businesses. We connect the leaders of tomorrow with the leaders of today, to arm our young members with the confidence, knowledge and skills for career progression.”

You’ll probably see a lot of overlap with how I have found Alba, and I’m delighted that Alba is a member. Investing in emerging talented people is so important; I’ll be encouraging all my colleagues to get involved.”

Finally, we asked what single piece of advice Amy would give to people wanting to join Alba.

“Go for it! It's a unique opportunity, a rare chance, which doesn't come around very often.

Joining something so early in its life can feel like a risk - you can’t hide. But Alba is game-changing, challenging, and unique in exciting ways.

Even if you don’t see the exact job for you right now, think of your transferrable skills.  I’ve already had the chance to shape my job around mine. We’re always happy to hear from people interested in working with us, so just drop us a line.”

To view our current vacancies please click here

News from the Alba Team

"Not many people get to build a new bank."

"We're going to make such a difference for SMEs. It's a partnership”. We spoke to Allan Ellis, Head of Operations, about his experiences working for Alba.

"3 words I would use to describe working for Alba? Ambitious, Dynamic, Customer-focused"

"I've learnt more working for Alba & new bank start-ups than in 14 years working for the old "top 5" banks. It's chalk and cheese. You're not pigeon-holed, you get to run with your ideas, and people listen to you. I own my destiny and hierarchy is not a thing - no matter what grade you are, you have a voice.

"Death by Powerpoint? No risk of that! We are rock-solid on governance; being a bank you have to do things right. But it's too easy to hide behind presentations and not stand up, express your opinion and be accountable. At Alba, we take responsibility and whilst it exposes you to challenge, it's challenge that helps you grow.

"Building a new bank is something special. It's unique. In the big banks I could be there for years and pass through without many people knowing I existed; at Alba I'm within a stone's throw of pretty much the whole team. It's just very satisfying because I remember, in previous jobs, timelines were so far away and you were so removed from change. Here at Alba roles are tailored around your skills and you are allowed to flourish. 

If you can do something you are allowed to run with it; you don't have to pass off to others. And above all, you have to move quickly and do things right. The lasting impact will be to look back one day and say "I was part of something special there". That's unique, not many places can offer that. 

"We're going to make such a difference for SMEs. We will take the time to really understand what makes them tick and their specific needs, where they are trying to get to, and how we can help. It's about a partnership, speaking frankly to each other and exploring ideas. We will use technology to support making sound lending decisions, not have it as the driver or to get in the way of customers, great people at the heart of everything what will set Alba apart. I’m so excited about us launching.

Finally, we asked Allan what advice he would give to somebody interested in working for Alba: 

"Strap in - it's a wild ride! You can flourish at Alba - if you're ambitious, flexible, confident to go outside your comfort zone, and like a fast paced, varied environment where no two days are the same.  If you want a chance to shine, to take responsibility and build a legacy ... Alba is the place for you.”


To view our current vacancies please click here

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