SVB Financial Group said that its Silicon Valley Bank has opened its first full-service branch in London.

The Santa Clara, Calif., company said late Sunday that it had become the first U.S. bank to open a commercial banking branch in the United Kingdom in several years. SVB already had offices in the United Kingdom, Israel, India and China but they are not full-service branches. The bank received British regulatory approval in April to open the branch.

Unlike most community banks, the $21 billion-asset SVB has a global reach primarily because of it caters to technology, life sciences, cleantech, private equity and venture capital industries. The company also lends to wineries.

The branch opening "in London signals a significant step in the evolution of the technology sector in the UK at a time when there is strong government support for a thriving community of local innovation businesses," Greg Becker, SVB's president and chief executive, said in a press release. "Our clients are doing remarkable things. We are excited to be a part of their success and thrilled to be open for business in the UK."

Silicon Valley Bank's customers include widely known brands like Cisco, Mindspeed, Mozilla and Pinterest. The bank says that more than half of all venture capital-backed technology and life science companies in the nation work with them.

"SVB understands our business and clearly wants us to succeed as much we do," Keith Lovell, the chief financial officer at SVB client Shazam, said in the release. "They are a true partner, offering flexible financing solutions, great networking opportunities, excellent and personable client service and an in-depth knowledge of the global innovation ecosystem."

SVB also has a deal to start a joint-venture bank with Shanghai Pudong Development Bank that has been in the works since December 2010. SVB has said that it expected to open the bank in Shanghai later this year.

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.