Bank of Scotland and Highlands and Islands Enterprise enter strategic partnership

Shona Austin
Shona Austin

Bank of Scotland has today announced the 12-month secondment of senior banking manager Shona Austin from SME banking, Glasgow to Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) as the two organisations look to collaborate on fostering sustainable economic growth in Scotland.

The arrangement, which has been described as “mutually beneficial”, seeks to explore ways in which a closer and more aligned approach to share client corporate agendas might work.

As a result this will look to promote an open discussion on how businesses can work together more effectively, opportunities for progressive change, supply and demand funding challenges and opportunities for new and emerging funding.

Bank of Scotland said that Ms Austin’s 12 month role will allow it to better understand the role of enterprise agencies in Scotland and the tools used to support businesses in furthering strategic goals.

The lender also said the exercise will provide it with insight into how HIE, Bank of Scotland and other funding organisations can build collaborative relationships.

Graham Blair, area director for SME Banking, Scotland said: “I’m hugely positive about Shona’s next 12 months, it’s a fantastic opportunity for both Bank of Scotland and HIE to formulate key insights and learnings to help better support growth sectors in the North of the country.

“Tourism is one sector Shona will be turning her attention to, helping account managers with strategic proposals and drawing up potential alternative funding models for existing and pipeline propositions. I’m sure Shona is really looking forward to this new challenge and working with the wider team at HIE.”

HIE chairman, Professor Lorne Crerar, said: “HIE and Bank of Scotland have shared objectives and this presents scope for a more aligned approach to meeting our clients’ needs. Shona’s secondment gives us an excellent opportunity to work more closely with the Bank, explore opportunities for new and emerging funding models with the whole of the funding market and help our clients to access funding at the right level and rate. It will also provide the bank with a better understanding of the role of HIE and how we support businesses and pursue our strategic priorities.”

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