You have been in your role for five months. What are your plans for National Counties’ broker operation?
We plan to let the intermediary market know more about National Counties and our innovative offshoot, Family Building Society. Intermediaries are very important to us and we need them to help us achieve our increased lending targets. I was appointed to this new role to raise awareness of our offering and to increase new business volumes from brokers and other intermediaries. We anticipate that over 80 per cent of our business will be introduced by intermediaries this year.
What areas of the market do you feel are underserved and does NC have any plans to plug those gaps?
Lending into retirement is one area in which we are very active. We will consider applications from borrowers as old as 89, for a five-year term. Small and medium-sized societies like ours can be flexible and innovative, and we are continually looking for new and niche areas. The market could benefit from more higher-LTV products but capital requirements make this difficult. Multi- and inter-generational lending is another area the market needs to address and that is why we launched Family and its range of products aimed at younger first-time buyers.
At the end of 2014 a raft of lenders increased proc fees, including NC. Have we seen an end to this trend?
Movement in proc fees has quietened recently but there will be increases in the future. Brokers put a lot of hard work and time into helping applicants and should be rewarded by fairly priced proc fees.
If you were Chancellor for a day, what would you do?
One day! That is not a lot of time. But I would ensure sufficient new homes were built.
What is the best piece of advice you have received?
My Grandad told me when I was very young that, no matter what other people may be, or may have, you should never believe that anyone is better than you.
What three things would you want with you if you were stranded on a desert island?
My pitching wedge and golf balls to practise my chipping; Sky TV to keep up to date with all the sport; and my mobile to keep in touch with friends and family, especially my three-year-old grandson.
Which famous historical figure would you most like to meet?
Muhammad Ali – a legend in the boxing world and, in my opinion, the best boxer ever.