One to One: Paul Tilley, chief executive, Earl Shilton Building Society


How building societies survived the recession, why there is pent-up demand for finance to support self-build – and appreciation for the king of rock’n’roll

The building society sector has undergone a resurgence in the past few years. Why is this?
Societies, by and large, operate a lower-risk and more simplified business model than many other lenders. This enabled them to continue lending during the years following the recession.

This growth is, for many, obtained on the acquisition of retail funding. Although savers have been hard hit, many societies continue to offer competitively priced products.

Here at the Earl Shilton we have seen a significant inflow of money to enable us to grow the society in a prudent manner.

Societies do not have shareholders and, as such, do not need to pay dividends to equity partners. Our owners are members, both savers and borrowers, so we can retain profit for financial stability and to invest in the business for the good of those members.

One of the sectors in which you are involved is self-build. What are the growth prospects for this area of the market over the coming years?
The society has around six years of experience in self-build lending and we understand what borrowers need – simple guidance, an individual approach and an efficient service during what can be a stressful time.

Many people aspire to build their own home and, coupled with a lack of general housebuilding – by number, type and location – over a number of years, there is pent-up demand for finance to support self-build.

What can intermediaries expect from Earl Shilton over the next 12 months?
The society understands the vital role intermediaries play in the mortgage market providing advice to clients. Our distribution is predicated on the continued use of these vitally important business partners.

We are in the process of recruiting two new staff members exclusively to further support our intermediary panel.

The society provides the name of the dedicated staff member to the intermediary on each and every case, together with their personal email address and direct phone number. This ensures the intermediary can obtain timely updates efficiently.

What is the best advice you have received?
The best advice I have ever received is not work-related but applies equally to the office: treat people as you would wish to be treated. I call it human decency.

Who is your all-time hero and why?
Elvis Presley is my hero. Yes, the music was, and is still, great but he managed, with many others, to bring together a lot of people during a racially segregated time in the US. He had his faults, particularly in later life, but enjoyed his time to the full – a good adage if there ever was one.

As a child, what was your dream job?
I always wanted to be a presenter on TV, travelling the world and reporting on any, and every, sport.

Do you have any secret talents?
It is not exactly secret but you will often find me refereeing rugby union at the weekend. Managing 30-plus people has its moments but it is great for fitness, is different from the day job, is very social and means I do not have to go shopping with Mrs Tilley.


Headcount: Nearly 30
Proportion of business via brokers: 75%
22 The Hollow
Leicester LE9 7NB
Tel: 01455 844422

Earl Shilton Building Society was established in 1856. It has assets of over £120m and more than 10,000 members.

The society aims to provide a range of simple-to-understand financial service products to meet members’ needs. It also seeks to give a friendly and professional service to both intermediaries and customers.

Although based in Leicestershire, Earl Shilton Building Society lends throughout England and Wales.