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Exclusive: Maria Harris appointed intermediary mortgage boss for digital bank

  • 07/07/2014
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Exclusive: Maria Harris appointed intermediary mortgage boss for digital bank
Ex-Lloyds head of national accounts Maria Harris has been appointed to head up the intermediary mortgage sales division at yet-to-launch fully-online provider, Atom Bank.

Harris is set to start as head of intermediary sales on 1 September after leaving the sales director role at Engage Mutual.

Harris has been charged with setting the lending targets and strategy for the new mortgage lender, which is expected to open its doors in Q1 2015.

Harris confirmed the retail, commercial and SME-focused bank, which is yet to gain authorisation, will launch into the mortgage market with a select group of as-yet-unnamed mortgage distributors.

“Those distributors will need to demonstrate all the right controls are in place and we will probably launch with two in the first instance,” she said.

“Distribution partners will be my first priority when I start in September,” she added.

The business development structure is still to be determined but Harris said relationships will be key so, expects to build a face-to-face team and to have office based support.

Led by Anothony Thomson, the former chairman of Metro Bank, the bank will not offer retail branches replacing them with 18 regional business banking offices, headquartered in County Durham.

The online bank will provide direct to consumer sales through its website supported by a telephone helpline securing what it said will be a ‘customer-experience’ based service.

Thomson will be chairman and Mark Mullen, ex-chief executive of online bank First Direct has been appointed chief executive.

Thomson, who set up Metro Bank in 2010 with co-founder Vernon Hill, is basing his digital strategy on his belief bank branches have become outdated.

Uptake in digital banking is increasing at a pace according to research showing that customers’ use of mobile banking apps at the five biggest UK banks doubled over the past year.




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