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Peter Hill to retire from ‘dream job’ as Leeds BS CEO

  • 03/08/2018
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Peter Hill to retire from ‘dream job’ as Leeds BS CEO
Peter Hill is to retire as CEO of Leeds Building Society in February with chief commercial officer Richard Fearon set to take over subject to regulatory approval.


The announcement came along with the mutual’s interim results for the first six months of the year in which it revealed a slight drop in new lending to £1.8bn, down from £2.1bn over the first half of 2017.

Hill (pictured) told Mortgage Solutions that the schedule would allow him to complete the full financial year with the lender and give time for the new leadership team to be bedded-in.

He added that while he was not looking for another similar position, he would like to remain in the mortgage industry and was hopeful of finding a non-executive role.

“When I arrived in 2011 I had a plan and we’ve always talked about my vision,” he said.

“Underpinning that was a number of things we wanted to achieve in the society and I feel within the first half of the year we’ve achieved that.

“Since 2010 we’ve been the fastest growing building society, our assets have doubled, our profit is about three times higher than in 2010, and we’ve created 450 jobs, so that’s lots of things that were on our list.

“I wouldn’t do another executive role after this. This has been my dream job and nothing could come close to doing this, but I love being involved in the mortgage industry and I really hope I could move on to a non-executive career in mortgages.

“Someone will have to offer me a job though,” he added.

Hill is also the mortgage product representative on the UK Finance board and has informed the trade body of his plans.

“I really love being on the UK Finance board too and I’m going to be continuing for as long as they want me,” he said.


Sustainable growth

Hill was not concerned with the slight drop in the first half lending figures, noting this followed a very strong year in 2017 and that it matched the long-term plan.

“The market was very favourable for us and it was an opportunity not to be missed then,” Hill said.

“The level that we’ve slowed down to is likely to be reflective of where we will be in the future.

“For example, you have to be aware of things like capital levels. Our capital is strong but our model is to generate capital internally and this sort of growth rate will enable us to continue to do that in a very sustainable way.

“Also the market has been tremendously competitive and it has been quite challenging. Lenders are having to work very hard, but we’re very happy with the level of growth we’ve had this year – it is pretty much in line with our plans,” he added.


Pipeline of products

Leeds BS has been targeting niche or under-served areas of the lending market to facilitate its growth and it expects to continue doing so in the second half of the year, with more changes  ahead in the pipeline.

Following the Bank of England’s Base Rate Rise yesterday Hill confirmed that the lender’s tracker rate products would be rising but that decisions on other product rates would be taken “in the next week or two”.

Hill also noted that with the mortgage market as a whole up almost 5% on last year’s figures, he was “pretty confident” that it would probably go a bit further than the UK Finance prediction of £260bn.

“The other dynamic coming through really strongly is the rise of product transfers,” Hill continued.

“If the gross lending market is going to exceed 2017, that’s on top of a much bigger product transfer market.”

Overall the mutual achieved profit before tax for the six months to June 2018 of £60.1m, which was down from £63.2m to June 2017.

It said this was due to a one-off charge of £6.9m resulting from the disposal of its Irish mortgage book.

The lender added that it had helped more than 20,000 people buy their property, including 5,800 first-time buyers.

Savings balances grew to £13.9bn with more than 42,000 new savers.


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