Portman Building Society today said it was to relocate specialist lending subsidiary Sun Bank from Stevenage to Portman&#39s Head Office in Bournemouth.

The society says this will help support “the strong anticipated growth of Sun Bank through further substantial investment as well as the ability to capitalise on Group synergies”.

As exclusively revealed in Mortgage Strategy magazine Portman acquired Sun Bank from Sun Life Financial Services of Canada in November 2001 for £95m.

Since that time Sun Bank has gone from strength to strength with completions this year approaching £600m compared to £220m in the previous year.

Success to date has exceeded all expectations and it is this growth and future potential growth which has spurred this initiative.

The move will allow Sun Bank to benefit from economies of scale, calling on group resources in order to reduce costs and offer highly competitive products to the already competitive intermediary mortgage market, support planned new product initiatives and build a bigger brand.

The society says “the opportunity to call on a larger pool of resource will give flexibility to react to business peaks and troughs” as well as support service levels should growth be at the same outstanding pace as during 2002.

Sun Bank will continue to operate as a separate brand in the market, with its own Board, staff, products, credit culture and marketing.

Robert Sharpe, chief executive at Portman, says: “The growth of Sun Bank over the past 12 months has surpassed all our initial forecasts.

“In order to maintain this growth and our high standards of service, a considerable investment into systems and infrastructure is necessary and to make this as cost effective as possible the operation will be moved to Bournemouth.”

“Sun Bank will remain a separate and distinct business within the Portman Group – its brand, products and methods of working have proved enormously successful in the specialist lending market and we intend to build on this in the future.

“I would like to express my thanks to Peter Lucas for his leadership during the past year. Peter has now decided to stand down as Chief Executive of Sun Bank to pursue other business interests. Thanks also go to Chris Cummings, Marketing Director who has also left Sun Bank.”

Andy Russell, former finance and operations director has been appointed as Peter&#39s successor.

Russell says: “This is a very positive development for Sun Bank which will put us in a much stronger position to service our further growth. On a personal note, I am delighted to have been appointed to lead the company through the next stage of its development.”

Paul Howard, currently Sun Bank&#39s sales and development director has assumed a much broader role and will be responsible for all of Portman and Sun Bank&#39s Intermediary distribution.

The relocation of sales, marketing, and new business processing will be complete by June 2003. All remaining business areas are expected to have been migrated to Bournemouth by June 2004.

Sun Bank employees based in Stevenage will be given the opportunity to move to Bournemouth to develop their careers. It is also anticipated that additional new jobs will be created in Bournemouth.