60 Seconds With… Mark Robinson, chief executive, Market Harborough Building Society


Market Harborough was recently voted lender of the quarter in Mortgage Strategy’s new quarterly feature that rates the propositions of lenders. What do you think you do differently to others to earn that title?

We approach cases looking to find solutions. This means quickly getting to what applicants are trying to achieve and that only happens by working with our partners. We focus on listening and being clear on what is important for us and the borrower.

How do you propose to develop your proposition over the next 12 months? (Service, products, criteria, and so on.)

We constantly review our offering to ensure that we are meeting market needs and are pretty agile in how we adapt to a very dynamic market. Twelve months is a very long time in the mortgage world; the only thing I can be certain of is it will be different from where we are now. Our appetite for quality business will still be keen.

Do you agree that the changes brought in with the MMR and now the PRA’s new cap on income multiples will cause confusion among borrowers?

The awareness of these measures is pretty low in most customers’ minds. But affordability and stress testing are easily communicated. It’s only when these activities become rote processes that defy common sense that there are issues. It’s up to us to ensure that borrowers are well informed about the commitment they are making and that the customer journey avoids confusion.

What was the last book you read?

Into the Silence by Wade Davis – a brilliant account of Mallory’s Everest attempts.

What is your favourite pastime?

Travelling – I went to Japan this year.

What is the best piece of advice you have received?

“Everything in moderation” – which I thought was my dad’s until Paul Smee told me it’s ancient Greek!

If you could go back to one point in history, when would it be?

To see Jesse Owens win at the 1936 Olympics.