Monument hires Craig Middleton as lending relationship manager

Monument hires Craig Middleton as lending relationship manager

In his role, Middleton will be tasked with helping to grow the bank’s buy-to-let (BTL) and bridging lending, as well as market its solutions to a “broader selection of property investors”.

He reports to head of lending Conor McDermott, and joins the 10-strong lending team.

Middleton joins from Harpenden Building Society, where he was mortgage sales manager for nearly four years.

Prior to that he was an associate director and private banker at Coutts for just under a decade and before that worked at Natwest for around 21 years in various roles.

McDermott said: “I’m pleased to welcome Craig to our growing team at Monument.

“He has a huge amount of experience in property lending and will be a great asset to our business as we continue to grow our specialist BTL and bridging lending.”

Craig Middleton, lending relationship manager at Monument, said: “It’s great to join Monument at such an exciting time for the challenger bank.

“I’m looking forward to helping place property investors with the right lending solutions for their circumstances and contributing to Monuments’ continued drive for success and growth.”

The bank has been growing its team recently,  hiring Fatlum Lushi as its bridging relationship manager and adding six people to its lending team.

It received its full baking licence in November last year, which means it was allowed to start taking deposits.

The Tipton hires Andy Millard as intermediary distribution head

The Tipton hires Andy Millard as intermediary distribution head

Millard will lead the business development team in England and Wales, focussing primarily on driving mortgage sales via intermediaries.

He joins from Accord Mortgages where he was corporate account manager for nearly three years. He has previously worked as an account development manager at Kensington Mortgages for five months, at the West Brom as regional key account manager for just over a year. He has also worked as a business development manager at Leeds Building Society and held roles at Nationwide and Santander UK Corporate and Commercial.

Millard (pictured) said: “It’s a great time to be joining the Tipton and I am very much looking forward to making my contribution to its continued success. The Tipton has a great reputation for niche lending, particularly later life and first-time buyers, which deliver great value to brokers and their clients.”

Jason Newsway, director of sales and marketing at the Tipton, said: “Andy brings with him great experience which will help us to enhance our relationships with brokers across the UK. His appointment also reinforces our commitment to actively invest in growing the society.”

Together hires Natwest’s Joanne Fletcher as national development director

Together hires Natwest’s Joanne Fletcher as national development director

In the newly-created role, she will be responsible for building an “extensive network” of corporate and commercial bankers to help introduce business to the lender and enhance the Together brand.

She will report to Together’s head of professional sector Sean Williams.

Fletcher joins from Natwest, where she was director of commercial banking for around six years and managed a team of 10 commercial relationship managers.

Prior to that, she was director of corporate baking at Royal Bank of Scotland for over seven years, and before that worked at Natwest as a corporate relationship director.

Williams said: “It’s great to be able to welcome Joanne to maximise opportunities in line with our ambitious five-year growth strategy.

“Her reputation and background speak for themselves, and we believe her passion for the industry will really drive forward our business by delivering flexible finance which meets the ambitions of new corporate and professional clients up and down the country.”

Fletcher said she was excited to join the lender at a “pivotal time not only for the group but for the specialist lending industry”.

She added that there was a gap in property finance for potential borrowers such as SMEs, property operators and investors.

Fletcher said that Together always had a “can-do attitude” when it came to navigating complex commercial deals and so it could fill the gap.

“We’ve already created a network of introducers who have a huge amount of experience and strong relationships with commercial customers across the UK and are looking to build on this through further investing in our programme.

“This network will involve former commercial and corporate bankers who really understand Together’s brand and can go out into the market place and build connections, so it makes perfect common sense to tap into their expertise,” she added.

Brokers diversifying into specialist lending ‘double-edged sword’ – Hollands

Brokers diversifying into specialist lending ‘double-edged sword’ – Hollands

Speaking to Specialist Lending Solutions, head of specialist finance at OSB Group Emily Hollands (pictured), explained: “From a broker perspective. I think those kinds of brokers that diversified during the financial crisis are the ones that are really capable of diversifying their business. They’ll be the ones that look to enter into different markets to help more of their clients.

“But it’s a double-edged sword, isn’t it? We’ll happily help all brokers, regardless of what level of specialist business they do, but then sometimes the question should be actually is it better for them to use one of the distributors because they have more experience.”

She said whichever path the broker chose, it was imperative that it was in the customer’s best interest.

Hollands said OSB Group worked “really closely” with key distributors not just due to the value of business they provided but as the company culture matched theirs.

She added: “It’s not a transactional relationship. It’s not about how much business you do. We are looking for quality business and we are looking to work with companies who want that relationship and reflect a culture like ours.”


Conveyancing in bridging and commercial ‘really lengthy’

Hollands said conveyancing had been a challenge in specialist lending as it was “really lengthy”, especially in areas like bridging and commercial.

“We work with some fantastic solicitors across bridging and commercial proposition, but I feel like they’re few and far between and the conveyancing process just feels really lengthy,”she said.

She added that the length of the process could be a “barrier to business” as customers wanted the “right solution at the right time”.

Hollands noted that there were similar issues with standard residential and buy-to-let processes but that for specialist lending, especially for a commercial loan, there was a lot more “due diligence” that needed to be done.

She said technology would improve the conveyancing process, adding that specialist lending was a “little delayed” due to complexity of deals. However, she said it was a “great opportunity for the sector to develop”.

Hollands said the start to finish process could be improved with automated valuation models, open banking and digital identification.


Mortgage market’s resilience during pandemic

Hollands said, notwithstanding the devastation of the pandemic, the mortgage industry as a whole, including specialist finance, has “proven once again how resilient we are”.

“We’ve come out of the pandemic and the demand for everything finance and mortgage-wise is as strong as it ever was.”

She added that OSB Group had seen demand rise for bridging, commercial and specialist finance.

“That hasn’t changed and it’s ever increasing,” she said.

Hollands added that a key opportunity for the specialist lending sector was funding the repurposing of the high street, noting that experienced landlords were looking to diversify their portfolios and examining commercial property opportunities.

“There’s just so much opportunity in the market at the moment and it’s a really good place to be,” she said.


Pandemic has ‘woken lenders up’

Hollands said the pandemic “might have woken lenders up a little bit” as they had to be more fluid and increasingly keep ahead of change.

“The pandemic is a difficult one. It was unprecedented. You cannot criticise any lender for how they behaved during the pandemic because nobody knew any different, this wasn’t another financial crisis. This was a completely different situation than we’ve never had before,” she said.

She added that the key learnings for lenders was that they had to be able to make decisions quicker, understand markets better and make appropriate changes, “both positive and otherwise”.

She said she didn’t think there would be any “long-term ramifications” from Covid on the specialist lending market due to its resilience and adaptability.

Hollands said over the past few years, larger high street lenders had taken a “slightly more specialist view”, citing examples like limited company lending.

“I don’t see the high street lenders becoming more specialist. I think there is going to always be a place for those challenger banks and new lenders to enter the market and that’s a good thing because it drives the competition, and it keeps us on our toes and makes us think about other innovative ways we can help customers,” she said.


‘We can see more people and build stronger relationships’

OSB Group recently hired three specialist managers, Ross Williams, Mo Parmar and Kevin Beale, which brought its specialist finance team to seven.

Williams focuses on the South West and has bridging and commercial experience, and Parmar’s remit is London. Beale’s area is the Midlands.

Hollands said: “We absolutely have the capacity to grow even more, but although it is quite a big jump from four to seven the team are up to speed and already making a positive impact.”

She added that the integration of the Kent Reliance for Intermediaries and Precise Mortgages sales team had gone well.

She noted that it was “already a proven concept” as her team had been dual branded for the last 18 months with Interbay and Precise Mortgages. However, she said that the brands were still separate and has their own unique selling points.

“We can impact so many more brokers, we’ve got a big sales team doing both. It just means that we can see more people and build stronger relationships.”

Generation Home hires Virgin Money’s Peter Dockar as commercial director

Generation Home hires Virgin Money’s Peter Dockar as commercial director

Dockar will oversee the development of the lender’s commercial proposition and product evolution. His key responsibilities include expanding and building on broker relationships.

He is the firm’s first commercial director and will report to chief commercial officer Graham McClelland.

Dockar was head of customer value at Virgin Money for around three years. He served as head of lending at CYBG before it was merged with Virgin Money.

He also worked at HSBC for around 12 years in various senior roles including European head of retail underwriting and UK head of mortgages.

Dockar joins John Bridgman, who was head of mortgage credit at Virgin Money, and joined the lender as head of credit earlier this year.

Will Rice, chief executive and founder of Generation Home, said: “Pete has an outstanding track record of driving growth and success in his previous roles. His buyer-first ethos mirrors that of Generation Home, making him an incredibly exciting hire. We’re delighted to have him onboard.”

McClelland added: “Pete’s experience in the mortgage industry is a valuable asset for Generation Home. His drive and enthusiasm for our business make him an excellent new addition to the team.”

Dockar said: “Generation Home is a truly innovative lender with financial inclusion at its heart. My previous experience, and conviction that home-ownership should be accessible to all who aspire to it, make this an incredible fit.”

Generation Home was launched in 2019. It is a joint borrower, sole proprietor mortgage lender that helps first-time buyers, remortgagors and homebuyers enhance their borrowing ability as friends and family can boost their funds.

It recently launched 95 per cent loan to value products in March, and received £1bn in funding from Waterfall in January.

Its products are available through TMA Club, Legal & General, MAB and Simply Biz.

The Tipton hires BDM and promotes key account manager

The Tipton hires BDM and promotes key account manager


Holmes joins from the Earl Shilton Building Society, where she was a BDM for nearly three years. Prior to that she was at Coventry Building Society, where she worked for nearly nine years as business development adviser.

At the Tipton, she will cover the West Midlands region. 

Ridgway joined the mutual in 2020 from Pepper Money where she was BDM for over a year. Before that, she worked as a mortgage broker for Countrywide Mortgages, a role she held for two years. 

Jason Newsway, director of sales and marketing at the Tipton, said: “Debbie will be a great addition to our team at the Tipton. She has a strong experience of working closely with brokers and joins us at an important time in our journey as we look to strengthen the business support functions.  

“We are focusing on adding benefit and offering significant value to our brokers. We are also delighted to announce the promotion of Joanna, which is another example of us investing in our people and helping them to develop their careers with the society.”  

Lloyds appoints HSBC’s Amanda Fenner as head of Halifax Intermediaries and Scottish Widows Bank

Lloyds appoints HSBC’s Amanda Fenner as head of Halifax Intermediaries and Scottish Widows Bank

She will join the firm on 25 July.

Fenner has over 20 years’ experience in the industry and has worked at HSBC for around five years, most recently as its head of the South region and large loans for HSBC’s mortgage intermediaries team.

During her tenure, she helped develop and expand the lender’s large loans broker proposition and product service offering across the UK.

Prior to that she was a business development manager (BDM) for London at Santander for nearly four years and before that worked at Coventry Building Society for around 13 years in various roles.

Esther Dijkstra, managing director for intermediaries at Lloyds Banking Group, said: “I am very pleased to announce Amanda’s appointment and welcome her to the team. As the UK’s largest lender, the intermediary mortgage market is vitally important to us.

“I am confident that bringing in someone with Amanda’s knowledge and experience will help drive the change and continuing development that are moving Halifax Intermediaries and Scottish Widows Bank forward.”

It was announced earlier this year that Ian Wilson would retire from the head of Halifax Intermediaries and Scottish Widows Bank role, having worked at the firm for over 40 years.

He started his career in Aberdeen as a cashier, and then became a BDM before moving on to become regional sales manager.

He took on the role of head of sales for Halifax Intermediaries in 2007 and in 2019, responsibility for Scottish Widows Bank was added to his role.

In a video message he thanked broker partners and co-workers for their support and wished them “great success and health and happiness in the future”.

HSBC’s Tracie Burton to be interim South region and large loans head

In the interim, Tracie Burton, senior account manager on the intermediary team, will be taking over Fenner’s responsibilities at HSBC for the South region and large loans team.

Chris Pearson, HSBC’s head of intermediary mortgages, said: “We’re very blessed to have a deep pool of talent to draw upon to cover the vacancy created by Amanda’s departure and I’m delighted that Tracie Burton will step into the role with immediate effect in conjunction with her existing duties as a corporate account manager whilst we seek a permanent solution.”

He added that Fenner had been “instrumental to our [HSBC’s] growth from a new-to-market lender in the broker sector, through to the major player we are today”.

“She has helped create a strong reputation in particular with our major London partners and helped grow and develop an exceptional team of business development managers under her leadership. She leaves with our very best wishes for the future,” Pearson said.

Former BoI intermediary head Iain Smith joins State Bank of India UK – exclusive

Former BoI intermediary head Iain Smith joins State Bank of India UK – exclusive

In the newly created role, Smith will strengthen the “intermediary-focused sales support structure to better serve brokers and galvanising of relationships across the market”.

He will also manage sales teams dealing with intermediaries placing buy-to-let business with the firm and oversee the growth of this business segment.

Smith has worked in the mortgage and lending markets for over 25 years and joins SBI UK from BoI where he worked for around eight years.

He was most recently its head of intermediaries and before that was head of corporate accounts.

During his time at BoI, he helped the firm re-enter the intermediary market and built out its sales and distribution strategy, which included developed products and propositions.

Prior to that, he worked at CoreLogic Solutions as a business development director for just under a year, and before that worked at Yorkshire Building Society. He also helped to launch the Accord Mortgages brand.

He worked at the Accord subsidiary for around nine years in various senior roles including sales director and regional sales manager.

Abhishek Sahay, chief business officer at SBI UK, said: “We are very excited to have Iain join us as the head of intermediaries. Buy-to-let continues to be a very competitive space and we are keen to increase our impact in this market.

“To meet our growth ambitions for 2022 and beyond, it is important to have the strongest possible team to support our distribution partners. Iain has the experience and expertise to lead our presence in the intermediary space.”

Smith (pictured) added: “I am delighted to be stepping into this new opportunity with SBI UK. Enabling SBI UK to take the next steps into a new period of growth following its centenary of operations in the UK is my number one priority.

“It is a privilege to be working with a bank like SBI UK, and I look forward in helping the wider team to accelerate the development and growth of the bank’s presence in the buy-to-let market across the UK.”

SBI UK celebrated its 100-year anniversary of operated in 2021. It has been expanding its mortgage offering, entering buy-to-let mortgages recently and launching a green mortgage range.

Dudley BS’ CEO Jeremy Wood retires as James Paterson steps up

Dudley BS’ CEO Jeremy Wood retires as James Paterson steps up

Paterson will join the mutual in May and take over the role in July subject to regulatory approval.

He was most recently director of banking and marketing at Secure Trust Bank, a role he has held for around six years.

Prior to that he worked at Coventry Building Society for around seven years across several senior roles across product and proposition development as well as strategy and customer insight.

Dudley Building Society said during the recruitment process, Paterson “demonstrated a clear understanding of all of the qualities required of a chief executive and a desire to build on our position”.

Wood has been chief executive of the mutual for nearly a decade, and before that was chief executive at OneSavings Bank for around a year.

Prior to that he was director at C2 Partnership and before that worked at Nationwide for over two decades in various senior roles.

The mutual said he had signaled to the board two years ago he planned to retire in 2022.

Wood said: “It’s been an enormous privilege and we’ve come a long way in positioning Dudley as a really credible regional society.”

Dudley’s chair Peter Hubbard said: “The board is grateful to Jeremy for what has been achieved over the last 10 years in particular helping us to reach more members than ever, and in later years ensuring we have been able to provide support to members during the pandemic.

“We remain excited about the future and in particular doing the best for our members. We are confident that James will continue to help us drive the society forward.”

Mortgage 1st hires Proportunity’s Paul Lewis as head of growth

Mortgage 1st hires Proportunity’s Paul Lewis as head of growth


He was most recently head of intermediary partnerships at Proportunity, which is an equity loan provider, for just under a year.

Before that he was managing director at The Money Group for around six months and prior to that he was national development manager at Mansfield Building Society for nearly three years.

He also held several senior roles at alternative bank Future Williams & Glyn, a subsidiary of RBS for over a decade and has also worked at Direct Line Group.

In his role at Mortgags 1st, Lewis will help expand the business, which was founded in 2008 and is an appointed representative of Stonebridge.

It provides mortgages for first-time buyers, homemovers, remortgage, buy-to-let, Help to Buy, Right to Buy, home improvement and debt consolidation, as well as insurance.

The company has over 40 team members and it has arranged 6,380 mortgages with a total lending of over £1bn.

Mortgage 1st founder and managing director Jon Stones said: “Paul has extensive experience in the financial services sector, and he is ideally suited to this pivotal role as we seek to build upon the success of Mortgage 1st.

“The business has enjoyed impressive growth over the past decade, and we have exciting plans for the future. As part of this we will be recruiting new advisers, and Paul’s knowledge of the mortgage industry and the people working in it will be an important part of our recruitment process.”

Lewis said: “I have been fortunate to work closely with some impressive businesses across the mortgage industry during my career, and I know how highly Mortgage 1st is regarded.

“The business has already grown at an impressive rate, and is now looking ahead with ambition and vision. I am looking forward to helping Mortgage 1st achieve its goals for expansion while also enhancing its already impressive reputation.”