One to One: Esther Morley, managing director, Secure Trust Bank Mortgages

Plans for the first year in the mortgage market, cutting rates just two months after launch, investing more in the UK’s building industry – and a rather large mouth

You launched only recently into the mortgage market. What can the sector expect to see from Secure Trust this year?

When we launched our mortgage arm, we decided to enter the market in a very controlled way. We wanted to make sure that our systems, processes and, most importantly, service lived up to both our and our brokers’ expectations. Over the past two to three months, we have proved that we can deliver on that.

We are continuing to expand through new partnerships and have developed a road map of activity that will improve our proposition and enable us to deliver more to brokers and their customers. This includes a wider set of products, allowing brokers to serve more of their customer needs, and investing in and continuously improving our systems and processes to enhance the experience of interacting with the bank.

Two months after launch you made some generous rate cuts on many mortgages. What was the thinking behind this?

We constantly review our products to make sure we offer the best deal for our customers.

Our decision to reduce our rates in some key areas ensures that customers can be confident they will continue to receive quality products from Secure Trust.

As a child, what was your dream job?

As a young child I wanted to be a policewoman. I’m not sure that I fully understood what they did but I liked the uniform!

As I got older, my dream job was anything related to sports; I was always very active and full of energy. I would have liked to run a sports centre or be a PE teacher.

Do you have any secret talents?

I’m pretty well known in my family for being able to fit a whole Wagon Wheel in my mouth. I’m not sure this is a talent to be proud of, though!

What are your hobbies?

I played football for many years for Wycombe Wanderers Ladies. When I gave it up (it was getting harder to recover from the knocks), I needed something to fill my time. I had an old set of golf clubs in the garage that was a gift from many years before. I took them out, dusted them off and started playing.

Six years later and I am obsessed with golf. When I’m not working I’m either playing, practising or watching golf, or reading or thinking about it. It’s not uncommon for me to look distractedly into the distance and suddenly practise my ‘indoor’ swing!

What is the best advice you have received?

At my first job I wanted to learn, impress and progress. My boss gave me some great advice one day, when I felt frustrated. He said: “Sometimes
all it takes is a bit of time and experience.”

Who is your all-time hero, and why?

Emmeline Pankhurst has to be up there. While there is some debate as to whether her tactics were right, she was fundamental to the start of changing society’s attitudes towards women.

If you were not in your current role, what would you like to be doing?

Probably playing golf! But seriously, I know it sounds a bit trite but I have been very lucky in my life and career and have always thought that, when my time in financial services came to an end, I would like to do something to give back. I’d like to work with a local charity in some way.

What is the toughest decision you’ve ever had to make?

Probably who to vote for in the recent general election.

If you were chancellor for a day, what would you do?

I would look to invest more in training and support for the vital skills required in the building industry, to ensure we had the right level of talent available to support housebuilding needs for the UK’s future.

COMPANY PROFILE

Year established: 1954
Headcount: 750
Address: 1 Arleston Way, Solihull, West Midlands B90 4LH
Tel: 0121 693 9100
Web: Securetrustbank.com

HISTORY
Secure Trust Bank is a UK retail bank. It was admitted to AIM in 2011 and, in October 2016, listed on the main market of the London Stock Exchange. The group operates mainly from its head office in Solihull. Its lending portfolio focuses on mortgages, business finance and consumer finance.