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One to One: Colin Bell, managing director of commercial mortgages, Hampshire Trust Bank

Hampshire Trust Colin Bell 2015

The three things that introducers and customers really want, the importance of top-quality staff and a keen interest in food provenance

Hampshire Trust Bank has just entered the bridging sector. What are your aspirations for this class of business?
During my many years in this industry I have learned that introducers and customers want three things – service, certainty and product – and these are my aspirations at Hampshire Trust Bank. These three values are at the heart of everything we do as a team and they apply as much to bridging as to commercial and buy-to-let, where service is a major requirement.

What can brokers expect from Hampshire this year?
Hampshire Trust Bank is here to be a true specialist bank in an underserved sector. We are putting experienced, service-driven, motivated and respected people behind all of our processes at every level.

I firmly believe – and this view is echoed by my exec colleagues – that, if you build a business around good people whom you respect, motivate and treat well, overall success and delivery comes naturally.

What you will see this year is a bank committed to SME lending – committed to developing and delivering specialist lending with common-sense, people-based lending decisions.

As a child, what was your dream job?
I wanted to be a helicopter pilot. While I didn’t achieve it as a job, I did learn to fly helicopters when I was in my 20s, so I kind of ticked that one off.

Do you have any secret talents?
If I told you, it wouldn’t be a secret any more. So I will give you three interesting facts/talents, two of which are true and one is not:

  • I keep honey bees in my downtime with help from my family
  • I was spotted and offered a place in the Austrian National Youth ski team when I was eight years old, so I could have been the third Bell skiing competitively, and
  • I can conversationally speak five languages.

What is the best advice you have received?

I have carried this advice with me since the start of my management career: my role is to create and maintain an environment that allows everyone to succeed, and by doing so the business will always be successful.

Who is your all-time hero, and why?
I tend to take my inspirations from snippets of things I see or hear and often they come from people who are not famous. I do not have an all-time hero but I do have a large collection of inspiring moments in my life that make me who I am today.

If you were not in your current role, what would you be doing?
Through my love of food, I have developed an active interest in food provenance and in making things from local ingredients.

My family and friends have often said I would make a good chef because I love cooking, while owning and working a farm would also be high on my list. Both are hard work with a lot of commitment, which is the environment I work best in.

COMPANY PROFILE

Year established: 1977
Address: 131 Finsbury Pavement
London, EC2A 1NT
Tel:  020 7862 6200
Web: www.htb.co.uk

HISTORY
Hampshire Trust Bank plc was established in Fareham, Hampshire, in 1977 and acquired in May 2014 by a new management team with the backing of Alchemy Special Opportunities Fund II LP. It operates under the trading name of Hampshire Trust Bank.

It is a specialist challenger bank, focused on financing commercial customers. It specialises in asset finance, commercial finance and property finance, while also offering personal and business savings accounts.

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