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Santa Clara, Calif.-based Silicon Valley Bank is making headway in its plans to further expand into Canada, the firm announced on Wednesday.

Specifically, the federal finance minister has issued an order authorizing the bank to establish a lending branch in Canada, which will begin operations after it receives the approval of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions.

The firm also announced the appointment of Barbara Dirks, previously senior vice president of network and advisory strategy at Toronto-based Royal Bank of Canada, to lead the Canadian expansion and team, effective immediately.

As Head of Canada, Dirks will provide leadership and strategic oversight for all of the bank’s activities in Canada, including business development and operations. She will also chair the supervisory committee for Silicon Valley Bank in Canada.

“This marks an important milestone in our aspirations to support our innovative clients in key international markets, and we are thrilled to bring Barbara on board to lead the way in Canada,” says Mark Gallagher, senior market manager for Silicon Valley Bank, in a statement.

“Her passion for entrepreneurs, depth of expertise and operational leadership, based on more than 17 years of experience in Canada and the U.S., are the right combination of skills to help us deliver our specialized knowledge and global network to Canada’s innovation economy,” he adds.

Silicon Valley Bank focuses on supporting the unique needs of entrepreneurs, companies and investors in the technology and life science sectors.

The company, which has been in business for 35 years, provides a range of specialized financial services through locations around the world, and has serviced the Canadian market on a cross-border basis for several years through its U.S. operations with clients such as Montreal-based Lightspeed, Ottawa-based Shopify and Burnaby, B.C.-based Xenon Pharmaceuticals Inc.