Responding to broker feedback, plans to develop more relationships with mortgage clubs – and a former sideline teaching tap-dance
Nottingham has recently launched its lowest-ever two-year fixed-rate loans. What are your ambitions for these products?
We recently published our half-year results that showed expected growth where we wanted it to be, at 4.5 per cent.
Our expectation for the second half is to do a similar number. Therefore, when we engaged with brokers over recent months we looked at two-year fixed rates; that was what they told us they wanted to offer their clients. So we looked at what the market was offering and tried to devise a leading product that we could get out there quickly.
We never want to be a lender that takes three weeks to get a product to go live and then finds everybody else has pipped us to the post. But we wanted to put a stake in the ground and say we could be competitive not only on service but on product and price too.
What else can brokers and borrowers expect from Nottingham this year?
We will go live with new intermediary partners from 5 September. Our distribution will grow over the coming weeks and we will develop more relationships with mortgage clubs, which is something we have shied away from previously. So distribution and criteria will be a focus for H2.
What we are trying to pin down is ‘What do we want the Nottingham to be known for?’ Currently we are known for our pricing being competitive, depending on the peaks and troughs that come with pricing touchpoints. Also, our people are one of our biggest USPs.
The next six months will ensure the plans we have made are put in place, and they will be our strategy for the next couple of years: growth in distribution and getting brokers to be repeat users.
Another lender can always beat our products and price but, if we ensure we are consistent with brokers and they feel valued, they will always think of the Nottingham.
As a child, what was your dream job?
I wanted to be an actress. I did lots of dance and drama as a child and that was what I believed my vocation in life would be. Unfortunately, it did not turn out that way.
Do you have any secret talents?
I am a qualified tap-dancing teacher. I qualified at age 18 and I still tap today. I used to run lessons but work and life pressures mean that does not happen now.
What are your hobbies?
Cocktail making, although right now my hobby is wedding planning – my own.
Things like going to the gym have taken a sideline. But looking ahead the world is my oyster and I look forward to getting some new hobbies post-wedding.
If you were not in your current role, what would you like to be doing?
Having worked with brokers since I was 18 at Cheltenham & Gloucester, I think it would always be in mortgages. The industry is definitely what makes me tick.
I understand mortgage brokers better than anybody. They haven’t changed, they are never going to change; they have a unique character but they’re lovable. I love what I do. I’ve had various opportunities to go off and do something different but for me this is home and I want to stay in financial services and mortgages.
What is the best advice you have received?
Think deeply, speak gently, love much, laugh often, work hard, give freely and be kind.
Who is your all-time hero?
My dad, who passed away last year. He gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person: he taught me to believe in myself because he believed in me.
What is the toughest decision you have ever had to make?
Tough decisions for me involve people, and all the tough decisions I have had to make have been the right decisions. It is about how you deliver the message.
If you were Chancellor for a day, what would you do?
Strengthen the economy, create more jobs and, as a result, more homeowners, and therefore more business.
Year established: 1849
Headcount: 650 staff across 55 branches
Address: Nottingham House
3 Fulforth Street
Local quaker Samuel Fox set up the lender in 1849 and the firm’s first branch was opened on George Street, Nottingham, operating between 6pm and 9pm on the first Tuesday of each month.
Fox wanted a company that could help people to own their own home and protect their savings.