By Lawrence White
LONDON (Reuters) - Former British finance minister Philip Hammond has joined SoftBank-backed British bank OakNorth as an adviser, where he said he plans to help it expand at home and abroad.
Nicknamed "Spreadsheet Phil" for his low-key and fastidious style as finance minister, Hammond campaigned for Britain to stay in the European Union ahead of the 2016 Brexit referendum.
Hammond was expelled from the Conservative party by Prime Minister Boris Johnson in September after voting to prevent him from taking Britain out of the EU without a deal.
"As an adviser to OakNorth, Hammond will bring his passion for small and medium size businesses, financial expertise and global perspective to the business as it continues to expand internationally" OakNorth said in a statement.
Before his ousting, he worked as finance minister and promoted various government initiatives aimed at both small businesses and Britain's burgeoning financial technology sector.
He was also foreign secretary and defence minister under former prime minister David Cameron.
OakNorth, which lends to small businesses and also operates a technology platform which it has licensed to banks worldwide, is backed by investors included Japan's SoftBank Group <9984.T> and has been valued at $2.8 billion.
"Small and medium-sized businesses are the lifeblood of the British economy and communities globally. The development by OakNorth of a platform to deliver cost-effective lending to them is a major boost to the potential of not only the British economy, but economies worldwide," Hammond said in a statement.
OakNorth, which did not say how much it would pay Hammond in his new role, specialises in lending to smaller companies that might otherwise struggle to access credit, using its technology platform to allow firms to borrow against a wider range of collateral than the usual sources such as property.
Since its launch in 2015, OakNorth has accumulated some $17 billion in assets and licensed its technology to other banks including Dutch lender NIBC Bank <NIBC.AS>.
Hammond's predecessor George Osborne also moved into the financial sector after leaving politics, taking an advisory role at asset manager BlackRock.
(Reporting by Lawrence White, Editing by Huw Jones and Alexander Smith)