Where do you anticipate RBS’s gross lending will end up this year?
While we have not yet reported full-year results for 2014, as of the end of Q3 we had advanced £15bn and we would like continued growth, at least repeating last year. We want to grow lending through all channels – telephone, branch or brokers. There were some really good lending figures posted last year in a buoyant market. There are new considerations in 2015, such as interest rates and the election, but we would like strong growth.
What proportion of that lending will be through the intermediary channel?
Brokers are a very important source of business for us and at least half of our lending in 2015 will be through that channel. Market permitting, we could see that share rise to around 70 per cent. We are confident about our telephone service and in-branch advisers but, post-MMR, clearly brokers will see an increasing share of business.
Self-employed and older borrowers are among those underserved by the market, especially since the MMR. Do you think such problems will ease over the coming months?
Yes, absolutely. I would expect most lenders to have got an idea by now about how their processes and criteria are affecting their customers. If it is apparent that parts of the market are being underserved, lenders must take action. We have a big change programme that will improve some areas where we think there is room to and I think most lenders will take that approach. 2015 should be the year in which we improve the customer experience in a post-MMR world.
What was the last book you read?
The Perfect Spy by John Le Carré – although I remember the thickness of it more than anything else.
If you could meet a famous person from history, who would it be?
Winston Churchill, so that I could get an idea of the substance behind the caricature.
What is your favourite holiday destination?
The one I have not been to yet – I am dying to do a rafting trip down the Grand Canyon.
What is your favourite dish?
You cannot beat a good Thai green curry.