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Portillion abandons hope and closes its doors

Portillion has withdrawn its Financial Services Authority lending licence application, closed its Farnborough office and all 20 staff have been made redundant.

Sarah Davidson, 30 April, 2012

It is rumoured that Portillion was told it would not be given a banking licence by the FSA and its Japanese backers SBI Group consequently decided to pull the would-be lender's funding.

Portillion, originally backed by mortgage heavyweight Stephen Knight, initially withdrew its FSA application for a banking licence in March this year, ten months after submission.

At the time a spokeswoman for the firm said: "The board at Portillion confirm that the application to the Financial Services Authority for a banking licence has been withdrawn.

"Difficult market conditions continue. However, it is the board's belief that opportunities in the mortgage market remain and all options are being evaluated by the board and investors."

The company went through several guises starting as Checkmate Mortgages in 2007 later rebranding to Portillion in February 2010.

Portillion had planned to offer a range of savings products direct and mortgages through intermediaries after securing over £58m in investment from SBI Group.

Last year Knight, Portillion's chief executive and former GMAC-RFC boss, was forced to leave the firm after being diagnosed with a brain tumour.

Knight is said to be in reasonable health.

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