One to One: Julian Hartley, product director, Tesco Bank

Talking to as many partners as possible, building trust with brokers, plans for a proc fee that recognises their efforts – and admiration for a Swedish tennis legend

As product director of savings, loans and mortgages at Tesco Bank, what is your favourite aspect of your job?

Working with the many fantastic people in what is still predominantly a face-to-face industry.

Prior to launching our broker proposition, we talked extensively to our prospective partners to understand how we could deliver the best solution for their customers. We continue to talk to brokers as we improve our offer, and we will look to pay a procuration fee next year.

I love talking to a great many of our partners to help us serve more Tesco customers.

Tesco Bank began lending through mortgage brokers in April last year. Has the move proved a success?

Very much so. We’re very pleased with how far we’ve come in the past year, in terms of both our service and the expansion of our broker network.

We’ve worked hard to build trust with our broker network and to make it as easy as possible for brokers to serve their customers. We are delighted that a large proportion of the brokers we speak to tell us that our service makes it easy for them to serve their customers.

In particular, we get feedback that our system takes all the best features available in the market and builds on them; half of brokers rated our system the best in the market.

We are serving more customers than ever and we continue to refine our offering to ensure that we provide a great service for both brokers and customers.

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

Being patient. We look to offer the best service to our customers and brokers, and we conducted significant research to understand what brokers were looking for from us as a mortgage lender.

While it always takes time to understand your customers, it is crucial to take this time to ensure you can deliver a fantastic offering. This has proved worth the wait but I’d love to have done it sooner.

What plans are in place for business growth and further improving mortgage broker relationships at Tesco Bank this year?

We will continue to look for new opportunities to further improve what we do: to deliver quicker decisions and offer great service, useful features and highly competitive mortgage products.

We are looking at the approach we take to retention in the broker market. We know that retention is an important issue for the intermediary market and we are focusing on what we’ll do when our broker cases start to reach the end of their initial terms next year.

We’ll look at this carefully to ensure that we deliver a best-in-class process and a proc fee that recognises the effort of the broker. We’ll determine what the proc fee will be nearer the time.

What is your hope for the market overall in the next 12 months?

I hope that the market continues to be in good health and that we get some good housing policy from the new government.

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

Be a tennis pro. Sadly, I wasn’t anywhere near good enough!

Who is your all-time hero, and why?

Growing up, it was Swedish tennis player Bjorn Borg, because he was so calm and always won!  Now it’s Nelson Mandela, for his spirit.

What is the best book you’ve ever read?

Northern Lights, by Phillip Pullman. I was given it as a present and didn’t think it was my kind of thing, but I loved it. Sadly, I thought the film version – The Golden Compass – was terrible.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

Spend it with my family. I am also a trustee of a local charity and I enjoy running and tennis.

What is the best advice you have received?

‘Choose joy!’