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One to One: Damian Thompson, director of mortgages, Aldermore

A mission to meet the needs of homeowners, being a dad to twins and having a love for cricket

What ambitions does Aldermore have for the future?

Aldermore started life in the wake of the financial crisis with the aim of providing innovative financial solutions to help individuals and SMEs seek and seize opportunities. We are now 10 years old as of last month, and we have grown by pursuing those aims and offering competitive choices to customers, treating them as individuals rather than numbers.

Looking at our future in the mortgage industry, we want to be part of creating a housing market that works well for everyone – renters, first-time buyers, home movers, landlords and those entering retirement. Home buyers’ situations are more varied and complex than in previous decades and often do not fit perfectly in the boxes previously required, so we want to ensure we continue to provide options for these customers.

Last month, we expanded our proposition on the residential side to increase certainty for people looking to buy a home, so more than ever they can find the right mortgage that suits their individual needs and circumstances. We will continue to remain alert and reactive to the needs of customers as the market continues to evolve.

What has been the biggest challenge you have personally faced so far this year?

I have twin boys who are four years old and, as any working parent will know, it is finding the balance between work and spending quality time with the family.

If there was one thing you could change about the industry, what would it be?

The industry can sometimes be too focused on the things that need changing, but I would deepen the collaboration between lenders, brokers and our industry bodies as I believe the consumer will then reap the benefits in terms of unlocking opportunities to support their needs.

On a Sunday evening, what do you dread for the coming morning, and what do you look forward to?

I try to never dread the following day, as someone who suffered loss at an early age; every day is a renewal and a reminder that time is finite. If I am at home, I look forward to my two boys waking up and their sleepy smiles that imply another day of mischief awaits and, if I am away for business, it is the extra half hour I can get without them waking me up.

What is the most difficult decision you’ve had to make?

At 18, I left security of family to take a step out on my own, moving back to the UK with only £100 in my pocket.

As a child, what was your dream job?

I wanted to be a fast bowler for the West Indies cricket team – I was quick, but not quick enough.

What advice would you give your teenage self?

Do not beat yourself up about not going to university; there are other paths to the top of the mountain, so enjoy the journey.

Do you have any secret talents?

I asked my wife what would her answer be to this question and she said I have none whatsoever. Who am I to argue?

Who is your all-time hero, and why?

My grandfather, as he stoked my imagination as a child. Growing up in Barbados, we would listen on the radio to the West Indies on tour in Australia and England and he would describe the pitches and the grounds with such vivid detail. When he passed away, at his funeral I asked my dad when did grandad have the time to visit all of those grounds? He laughed and said he never did – it was all his imagination. That was his greatest gift to me, he sparked my imagination and I use it every day in my professional and family life.

Company profile

Year established: 2009

Headcount: 1,000+

Address: Norcliffe House, Station Road, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 1BB

Tel: 0333 920 0635

Summary: Aldermore Bank offers simple financial products and solutions to meet the needs of homeowners, landlords, savers and SMEs.

Founded in 2009, it has achieved a decade of consecutive growth, establishing Aldermore as one of the leading alternative banks, and winning more than 70 industry awards in the past 10 years. In March 2018, Aldermore became part of the FirstRand Group, the largest financial services group in Africa by market capitalisation, and in May 2019 integrated with vehicle finance business, MotoNovo Finance.

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