The boss of a challenger bank created in Peterborough just eight years ago says its rapid success was unimaginable at the start.
Phillip Monks, chief executive of Aldermore, which employs about 80 people at its offices in Peterborough Business Park, in Lynch Wood, said the business is on the cusp of reaching a milestone as directors consider paying the first dividend to shareholders.
He said: “I am delighted with the way things are going.
“When we started in 2009, I don’t think any of us would have thought we would have been as successful as we have been.
“That’s down to the hard working folks we have got here, and the loyalty of our customers.”
The bank has just reported an impressive 32 per cent profits hike to £78 million for the first half of the year.
Its operating income shot up 17 per cent to £150 million compared to £128 million last year and its loan growth rose by eight per cent to £8.1 billion while business finance loans rose eight per cent to £1.9 billion and mortgages increased by nine per cent to £6.2 billion.
Mr Monks said: “The discussion on dividends will take place - definitely. I think it will be finalised this year. We need to make a decision.
“One of the key milestones for a bank is when it starts to generate more capital that it is actually using.
“It puts the board in the situation where it can say: ‘are there growth opportunities or does the economy look so dodgy we want to hoard the capital or are we going to pay dividends?’
Mr Monks said: “Paying dividends, if that’s what we decide to do, is a milestone because it’s a statement of confidence from the management team. The last thing you want to do is pay a divided and then the following year pull it.
“It’s a milestone in the maturity of the organisation.”
Aldermore, which has 900 staff across the UK, specialises in loans to small and medium-sized businesses and homeowners, landlords and individuals.
Mr Monks said; “Our success is because we do banking as it should be. Providing people with that level of expertise that they are craving. SMEs’ clarion call has been that the bank doesn’t understand them for a variety of reasons.
“Aldermore was set up to do exactly that in a thoroughly modern way and very straight-forward way and delivering that to our customers, whether they are SMEs or some areas of disadvantaged homeowners or the self employed, has been the recipe for our success.”
Looking ahead to Brexit, Mr Monks warned: “I think we are in danger of talking ourselves into recession.
“If you look at GDP it’s positive, unemployment has come down, retail inflation has not roared away as some doom mongers would have had us believe, interest rates are very low, the pound is weak so the export market is very strong. When I talk to SMEs they are saying Brexit is going to be neutral to positive.”
However, while Aldermore is growing it is unlikely to result in more growth at the Peterborough office.
Mr Monks said: “We have thought about expanding Peterborough. But we have now are some fairly major offices around the country of which this is one. There are no plans to take more space here.”