View more on these topics

One to One: Esther Dijkstra, Lloyds Banking Group

Growing and learning every day on the job, getting more women into senior roles, creating positive change in the housing sector – and classical ballet

In your position as director of strategic partnerships, what is your relationship with mortgage intermediaries?

As director of strategic partnership management, I’m responsible for the overall relationship with our mortgage intermediaries business.  I’m passionate about understanding key challenges and issues within the business to provide better help and support on a wide range of customer needs (for example, lending into retirement) to grow the business.

What has been the biggest challenge of your role to date?

There have been several challenges in my role, which means that no two days are ever the same, but that is what I love about the job. When I first started at Lloyds Banking Group I faced the challenge of recruiting a large number of new senior roles within the national account team.

As ever, I was keen to get the team into place as quickly as possible, but also wanted to recruit a team with a broad range of skills.  This meant they didn’t all necessarily have a background in the mortgage intermediary market, and so needed time and support to get up to speed. I’ve been so pleased with the outcome though. Everyone has settled in well, and the team continues to go from strength to strength.

What is your favourite part of your job?

I’ve not been within mortgage intermediaries for long, so I love that I am still growing and learning every day on the job.

One of the favourite parts of my job is that I get to be a part of helping customers towards homeownership – often the biggest financial commitment they will make in life.  I am motivated by building relationships and learning about the housing market, so it’s great that I get to meet brokers and visit new building sites.

As a woman working in finance, do you feel there is equality in the sector? Do you feel the number of females working in senior roles should be improved?

It’s true that gender diversity within the finance sector is still an issue, and my personal view is that there should be more women in senior roles in finance and in the housing industry. It is positive, however, that we talk about it so much, and that steps are being taken towards more balanced world.

Is there anything specific you’d like LBG to achieve as a business this year? And what is your hope for the market overall in 2017?

Even though it’s still so early in the year, I think we have already had a great start to 2017.

Nevertheless, there are a few areas where I would love to see some more success. Helping Britain Prosper is our key aim, and looking at the housing sector, I feel that we can really create positive change in this space.

Regulation impacts all banks and continues to get more stringent, but it should also serve to support the buy-to-let market in the right ways. This could allow us to be more innovative as a bank, particularly in the digital sector.

If you had not chosen this career path, what else would you have liked to do?

That’s a tricky question. Of course my current role is my dream job! I’m an environmentalist at heart, so think I would have been the captain of one of the Greenpeace ships –  or a singer, but I am a lot better at maths than music, so maybe I made the right decision!

Who is your all-time hero, and why?

It would have to be Madonna. She’s a great female icon and a real inspiration.

Do you have any secret talents?

I’m not sure it’s a secret, but I’ve done classical ballet for over 40 years.  I’m no Darcey Bussell, but I’m still not too bad on point shoes!

What do you do in your spare time?

I love to spend it with my two children who are 10 and seven. We play games, cook, go swimming and of course go cycling.

What is the best advice you have received?

The best has been the simplest: don’t drive a motorbike and don’t mix your spirits.

If you were chancellor for a day, what would be your priorities?

It’s a great responsibility being chancellor, so the list would be long.  I would focus on facilitating more equal income distribution.

Click on image to enlarge


Landlords won’t ‘follow the dodo’ yet: Countrywide’s Morris

Climate, predators and sustainability are factors landlords face but talk of them going the way of the dodo is premature Any nature programme will show you just how far animals have had to evolve over the years to survive and prosper. Climate, predators and sustainability are all factors that can inhibit the future of any […]


Lenders hike tech spend but brokers want more: Iress

Mortgage lenders have made great strides to invest in broker-facing technology last year but still have a long way to go, according to the latest Iress intermediary survey. Iress found that 89 per cent of lenders now offer scan and attach at point of sale, up from 75 per cent last year. The firm also […]


The Right Mortgage & Protection members get new life insurance system

The Right Mortgage & Protection Network members are now able to access Cover Me Now, a new life insurance comparison system. Cover Me Now, developed by Synaptic Software and backed by Covéa Life, speeds up the process of comparing and purchasing protection products. Cover Me Now works by asking applicants 14 yes/no medical questions. If […]


News and expert analysis straight to your inbox

Sign up