Reasons for a big change of policy, the need to test new services – and plans for a certain red briefcase
Santander has just announced it will pay retention proc fees. Can you tell us more about this decision?
Procuration fees have been an increasingly hot topic in the market and something that we, as a lender, have been reviewing for some time. After a successful pilot run last year with London & Country, we took the decision to pay proc fees on retention business.
Our priority is to provide customers with excellent products and services in a channel of choice that suits them. We recognise that intermediaries play a key role in the market both in ensuring customers secure the right mortgage to meet their needs and, second, in supporting lenders. We recognise the vital support intermediaries provide to us and want to make sure they feel valued and are rewarded.
We’re committed to the intermediary market and the decision to pay proc fees on retention is a further example of how much we value the work they do. It’s a positive start to 2017 and we look forward to building on this throughout the year and beyond.
Why is Santander making this move now?
It is something we’ve been exploring for a while but, whenever we introduce a new service, we need to make sure there is a clear rationale for it and we have tried and tested it.
Following completion of the successful pilot with L&C, we decided to take the step.
If you were not in your current role, what would you like to be doing?
I’m really happy with my role so I don’t give it a lot of thought. But I’d probably do something to do with sport: maybe setting up and managing a chain of CrossFit gyms.
Failing that, Kevin Duffy at Mortgage Force is always available for a round of golf.
What is the toughest decision you have made?
The decision to start paying retention proc fees.
As a child, what was your dream job?
I love lots of sports and really wanted to be a PE teacher, but at the time my parents couldn’t afford to send me to university.
Undeterred, I looked at my options and was interested in doing some management training. I applied to the NatWest management development programme and have never looked back since.
Do you have any secret talents?
Not really. If I had any special talents, I definitely wouldn’t keep them a secret.
What are your hobbies?
I try to do CrossFit a few times a week, I’ve been (slowly) learning Spanish for a few years and I’m a die-hard Gunners fan, so I have an Arsenal season ticket.
What is the best advice you have received?
A piece of advice that really resonated was: a ship in the harbour is safe, but that isn’t what ships are built for.
For me, it means I need to make what I do each day count. Life is short and sometimes we can lose sight of what is really important.
Who is your all-time hero, and why?
This is a tough one. I respect Ian Wright, an old-school footballer – not like the generation of today. I sound like my dad now.
If you could be chancellor for a day, what would you do?
Working in the mortgage industry I’m a little biased, but I would commit to funding more social housing.
I’d also look to help a broader segment of the market. The majority of initiatives focus on supporting FTBs, which is right and we need to continue the great work being done here. But we shouldn’t neglect other important segments of the market. For housing stock to be available, we need to look at the market as a whole. If one part isn’t functioning properly, it affects the whole housing ecosystem.
I’d also be sure to put my sandwiches in that red briefcase.
- Year established: 1857
- Headcount: 20,000 in the UK
- Address: 2 Triton Square, Regent’s Place, London NW1 3AN
- Website: www.santander.co.uk
- Tel: 0800 9123 123
Santander acquired three historic building society brands in the UK – Abbey (2004), Bradford & Bingley and A&L (both 2008) – after which it integrated all three businesses and rebranded to Santander in 2010.
Santander UK is a financial services provider offering a wide range of personal and commercial financial products and services.