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60 seconds with…Martin Leong

Martin Leong, Group commercial director, OneSavings Bank (trades as Kent Reliance)

How has Kent Reliance changed since JC Flowers invested in it and it ceased to be a mutual, becoming OneSavings Bank?

JC Flowers is just part of our ownership structure, we retain our mutual ethos and now, possibly more than ever, we understand what being the Kent Reliance is all about for our customers, colleagues and communities.

Will we see more mutual takeovers by private equity firms?
It’s difficult to predict, but since the number of building societies has dropped from 63 to 52 in the past five years, it would be fair to say more change is likely.

Do you have any plans to widen your buy-to-let distribution through brokers?
Yes, we are increasing our volumes at a pace we can control.

What are your lending targets for this year and next?
We expect growth, which is not unexpected when you see predicted increases in the buy-to-let sector.

Do you have any plans to launch high LTV first-time buyer products?
We constantly review our product portfolio to find ways of helping our customers achieve their financial goals.

If you were chancellor for a day, what would you do?
For a start I would suspend Stamp Duty for a year to help stimulate the housing market.

Who is the hero you’d most like to meet?
I’ve been very fortunate through charitable work to have met Nelson Mandela, Bill Clinton and Richard Branson. But, it’s a toss up between Her Majesty the Queen – or David Beckham.

Do you have any secret talents?
I can remember hundreds of people’s names in minutes. I then forget them in a matter of hours because I have not yet learned how to make them stick long-term.

Apart from your house, what has been your most extravagant purchase? Holidays. I love to travel and experience different cultures and new foods. I recently came back from a trip to India where I visited five cities and the Taj Mahal.

What book are you reading?
I tend to be a holiday reader and pick up a Stephen Leather or Dan Brown novel at the airport. I have also been known to read the latest Sophie Kinsella my wife has just finished.

Interview by Samuel Dale


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Saffron Building Society has slashed the fee on its buy-to-let two-year fixed rate exclusive with Brightstar Financial from 3% to 2%.

FSA will get personal on brokers’ finances

A recurring point in my meetings with directors and owners of broking firms is how the impending individual registration of brokers operating in a firm may affect their businesses.


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  • Post a comment
  • Fullers Hit 10th February 2012 at 10:13 am

    This guy hasn’t a clue what he’s talking about…
    #winging it

  • B. Clinton 20th October 2011 at 5:25 pm

    Great idea about the Stamp Duty. You know me, I’m always in favor of a bit of stimulation.

  • David Beckham 18th October 2011 at 4:25 pm

    Fancy a kick about?

  • Stephen Leather 17th October 2011 at 10:34 pm

    Thanks for picking up my books!


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