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Gatehouse Bank’s Evans to retire

  • 16/04/2024
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Gatehouse Bank’s Evans to retire
Gatehouse Bank’s home finance distribution director and industry veteran Roger Evans (pictured) will retire from the business in June.

Evans will retire from Gatehouse Bank, which he joined in 2019, on 30 June. He started his career at Natwest in 1979, working his way up to be head of national intermediary mortgage channel in 2004.

He went on to become head of telephony mortgages for around a year at Natwest and RBS, and then was head of sales at Natwest and RBS for nearly 11 years.

Evans became the head of intermediary mortgage distribution at Aldermore for around two years between 2016 and 2018.

Most recently, he has been director of home finance distributions at Gatehouse Bank for around five years. During that time, the value of its home finance portfolio was £1.1bn.

Speaking to this publication, Evans said that, looking back at his career, his biggest achievement was the growth of the Natwest adviser and intermediary team, growing the Aldermore brand and taking Gatehouse Bank’s home finance loan book to over a billion from a standing start.

Evans said that awareness of Sharia finance was growing “across the board”, and it was becoming popular outside of the Muslim faith.

He said that, from a conventional mortgage perspective, the vast majority of its customers would select the product for faith reasons, however, on the buy-to-let (BTL) side, there was a “significant number of customers” selecting the product due to criteria and products.

“We’ve got an offering that’s quite diverse, we’ve got the offering that meets the needs of customers from a Sharia point of view, but the success that we’ve achieved over the course of the last five years in terms of growing the book is very much down to both that Sharia finance, but also the wider demographics of customers,” Evans said.


Regulation, broker-lender relationship and pandemic biggest market changes

When asked about how the market had changed during his 45-year career, Evans said that one of the “biggest changes” was regulation and, consequently, the broker-lender relationship.

He said that, previously, the highest proportion for lenders’ business was direct-to-consumer (D2C) but, since regulation had come in, this was now through brokers.

Evans noted that a lot of banks had moved to a solely broker proposition, and even for those who hadn’t, the majority of their business now comes from the broker market.

Looking at Gatehouse itself, he said that around 75-80% of its business came from brokers, although it still maintained a D2C avenue.

He added that another key change overall is how society had adapted following the Covid pandemic, with hybrid working practices becoming more widespread.

“I think if you’ve gone back to pre-Covid and asked people: do you think everybody would be working from home and successfully doing so in 3-5 years? Everybody probably would have looked at you as though you had got two heads or something. It was very unlikely that that would happen.

“I think the transition that the business or the industry has made has been significant,” Evans said.

An example would be how brokers interact with customers around mortgages, with face-to-face meetings being more common before the pandemic, but now a blend of online meetings on things like Zoom and Teams is the “preferred choice” for a lot of brokers and their customers.

Looking at the broker-lender relationship, Evans said that there “will always be spikes in the market, particularly where there’s volumes of business being written”.

However, he said that, regarding technology and wider brands moving forward, that “relationship continues to improve and develop and will continue to do so”.

“I think the new technology that is being talked about and is starting to be introduced will help that relationship even further. But, ultimately, I think the main driver of that is to be focused on the service that the customer gets.

“Ultimately, the better the relationship is between the broker and the lender, that’s great, but it doesn’t impact on the customer. It’s not as important. So, I think the key part of that is in terms of strengthening those relationships is looking at ways the overall proposition and delivery of a mortgage, how that can be improved for the benefit of the ultimate customer.”

He said that a “key learning” from his 45-year career was best captured in a quote by Maya Angelou, which is: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel”.

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