One to One: Carolyn Thornley-Yates, Hinckley & Rugby Building Society


The benefits of being a manual underwriter, changes based on broker feedback, and a potential YouTube hit

Hinckley & Rugby recently released an interest-only payment option for residential loans. Can you explain more?

As a manual underwriter we spend a lot of time talking to intermediaries, taking the time to try and understand good-quality enquiries that may not tick all the boxes of an automated underwriting system.

We are therefore more easily able to act upon the feedback we receive, which was that our service could be enhanced even further by the flexibility of an interest-only option. The intermediary market is vital to the society’s continued success and so we were happy to take this on board and add the option to our range.

Changes we have made based on previous intermediary feedback include increasing maximum loan sizes, lending on new-build houses and flats to 90 per cent LTV, and reviewing our maximum age. We are also working on an upgrade to the broker portal, which will make it quicker and more intuitive.

What else can brokers expect from H&R this year?

Our current offering of good products, personal service and common-sense lending is working very well for us, with net applications for the year to date 39 per cent ahead of this time last year.

We will be looking to continue in the same vein, which will include helping borrowers with smaller deposits to realise their homeownership dreams with or without family assistance, supporting the new-build market at higher LTVs on both houses and flats, and taking account of personal income where appropriate when assessing affordability on buy-to-let mortgages.

As a child, what was your dream job?

I wanted to be George Michael’s bodyguard – but I’ve got over that now.

Do you have any secret talents?

I can dance the ‘Thriller’ dance pretty well, having learned it for my 40th birthday party. We took it very seriously, hiring church and dance halls to practise in, and then surprised the guests with it on the night. I live in fear of it catching up with me on YouTube.

What are your hobbies?

I do not have much time for hobbies as I am studying for the BSA Master’s Degree in Leadership and Management at Loughborough University, as well as trying to spend as much time as possible with my family. I do go to Clubbercise twice a week, though, and play badminton as often as I can.

The master’s degree programme is fantastic. I’ve learned so much already and still have two years remaining. I’ve already seen the impact of the modules we’ve covered (managing and leading people, financial management, marketing management and operations management) on my everyday work life, and attribute to this knowledge some of our success this year in beating our net application and borrower retention targets.

What is the best advice you have received?

If you get to the end of the day with children and can say “Everyone fed; no one dead”, you can count that day as a success.I can’t remember who said it to me but, when my two daughters were young, it was my mantra.

Who is your all-time hero, and why?

The late, great Rik Mayall. I thought he was a comedy genius and the world is a sadder place without him.

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

If I had got into the university of my choice to do my PGCE after I completed my French and Spanish degree, I would be a high-school modern languages teacher now.

With hindsight, I am very pleased not to have gone down the teaching route as lots of my friends who did have left the profession following years of frustration and stress.


  • Year established: 1865 (Hinckley Permanent Building Society)
  • Headcount: 125, split between our principal office and nine branches
  • Address: 81 Upper Bond Street, Hinckley
    Leicestershire LE10 1DG
  • Tel: 01455 251234
  • Web:


Hinckley & Rugby was formed in 1983 through the merger of Hinckley Permanent Building Society and Rugby Provident Building Society. Today the firm is a top 20 building society by size and has total assets in excess of £560m, with more than 50,000 savers and 7,000 borrowers. Hinckley & Rugby celebrated its 150th birthday in 2015.