“It has been an honour and a privilege to work with the AMI board since its formation,” Gooding said in a press release last week. “I decided to step down as chairman some time ago once I was confident we had achieved certain objectives and had created a credible and reputable trade body.”
Yet months earlier it was Gooding himself who threatened to plunge that credibility into disrepute. Back in February this year Mortgage Strategy led calls for clarification on Gooding's position at AMI after we revealed his plans to launch a network with NACFB chief executive Keith Heron – a move that would create a conflict of interest and one that raised some serious questions.
It is recognised practice that executives in trade bodies have already achieved senior positions in the industry having created some kind of large commercial organisation – they do not arrive in that position from obscurity to launch a commercial operation.
Could Gooding remain impartial if he were to continue in his position? Would AMI members favour a network created by the chairman of their own association? AMI at first refused to shed light on the situation – a move that cast a shadow over its own reputation.
Members of the intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association, integral to the formation of AMI, were far from sanguine, the issue being raised at at least one IMLA board meeting.
And behind closed doors, big hitters from the lenders were not happy with AMI's lack of action. HBOS had already decided to withhold membership fees from across its five brands “until the Gooding issue is sorted out”. Indeed, the HBOS representative who negotiates AMI fees tells Mortgage Strategy: “We were not prepared to renew membership until the Gooding situation was clarified. It is staggering that a combination of this plus media pressure achieved something the AMI board was not capable of. Why didn't Gooding act earlier?” Given the initial furore surrounding Gooding's commercial interests and the resulting fallout, it's a question he might well be asking himself.
Gooding's legacy is that he helped to achieve a goal which many before him had failed to do.
Mark Mountney, deputy chairman of AMI, says: “Charles worked hard to bring about the alliance between NAMBA and AIFA which formed AMI. Much has been achieved over the past year that would have been impossible without his commitment.”