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60 seconds with…Stephen Mitcham

Stephen Mitcham, Chief executive, Cambridge building society
Stephen Mitcham, Chief executive, Cambridge building society

Will you be doing more mortgage lending this year?

We are geared up for increased business volumes and have over £200m to lend in 2011. This is a significant increase from our £128m lending total in 2010.

Will we see more consolidation in the building society sector this year?
It is hard to argue there won’t be further consolidation but confidence is returning to the sector. This is clearly demonstrated as we see societies opening branches, investing in customer-focussed technology and bidding to take Northern Rock back into mutual ownership.  

Can societies recover their retail deposits lost to banks in the past few years?
Absolutely. We have to remind people about the long-term value, integrity and service they receive from mutuals on an individual society basis and as a sector. We have so many positive things to say, we just need to be more confident and make it clear we offer something different from the banking sector.

If you were in charge of the Financial Services authority for a day what would you do?
First, I’d establish a rule to restrict the amount of regulatory change during any one period of time. And second, I’d introduce a rule that no document could be longer than four pages.

Who is the best person you have ever worked with?
Bill Kennedy he was an old-style messenger when I started as a management trainee at Lloyds Bank in 1982. He never seemed to be available when you needed him but he knew everyone around town and could get you into any pub or nightclub.

What three items would you take to a desert island and why?
A golf club and ball so that I can get some much-needed practice to my bunker play, my BlackBerry to keep in touch with the cricket score and a bottomless barrel of Adnams bitter.

Do you have any secret talents?
Standing on my head for way too long, although I’m not sure this is a talent.

Who would you most like to play you in the movie of your life and why?
Al Pacino he’s an all round good guy, not too tall and has more hair than me.

What book are you reading?
A guidebook to Vietnam, my holiday destination this year, and Brian Moore’s autobiography, Beware Of The Dog.

lnterview by Samuel Dale



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