Meet Neil Leitch, Lending Director Development Finance
What was your background before joining HTB?
I have worked in banking since June 1984, so 37 years this summer. In terms of development funding, I have worked in the industry since 1998, so for more than 23 years.
I started my career in a mainstream clearing bank covering all of the usual disciplines. I was the bank’s youngest corporate manager for a brief period in 1994. I then joined a small specialist property bank in 1998 to establish a Newcastle office for them. I was subsequently promoted a number of times and eventually became Regional Director for the North of England and Scotland.
I joined Hampshire Trust Bank in 2016 and wrote a business plan for the proposed expansion of the Development Finance offering into the North of England, and joined as a full time employee in November 2016 to implement said plan.
What does your role entail?
I am responsible for the Development Finance Lending team in the North, based out of our Leeds Office. I am also responsible for business development activity across the region, but I particularly focus on East of the Pennines.
I manage a proportion of the Bank’s existing Development Finance loan book in the North and look to work with both existing and new clients on new transactions.
I am a member of the Development Finance Senior Management team, and so involved, along with others, in formulating the overall strategy for the department.
What is unique about your approach to working with clients?
I endeavor to provide a world class customer experience, aiming to clearly understand their business and requirements.
If a borrower needs to call out of hours, or needs to meet on site at a time which is convenient to them, then I always try to accommodate them.
I seek to structure a transaction which is appropriate for the borrower and meets their needs whilst at the same time ensuring that the bank’s risk appetite is understood, and appropriate risk metrics are adhered to.
This means I am available pretty much 24/7. If a borrower needs to call out of hours, or needs to meet on site at a time which is convenient to them, then I always try to accommodate them.
I work across all of the relevant teams within the bank available to me, forming close relationships with analysts, loans administrators, and credit among others. I find these relationships ensure that the client experience is totally seamless, consistent and adds true value to a borrower’s business.
What are the challenges you face in your role?
Any job comes with its challenges, but I often find one of the biggest I face is simply having enough hours in the day.
Another challenge within the role is putting things right when things inevitably at times go wrong. I’ve found throughout my career it is important to learn from the past and ensure constant improvement.
What are some of the key things you expect to see for the housing sector during 2021?
There is likely to be some short term uncertainty in the market towards the end of 2021. The economic impact of COVID-19 is difficult to predict with any degree of accuracy. However, there is likely to be upward pressure on construction costs as supply chains have been interrupted.
At the same time, the Stamp Duty Land Tax saving scheme comes to an end in June 2021, and there will be changes to the Help to Buy scheme with the introduction of regional price caps. Unemployment may increase as the Furlough scheme ends too, all of which may combine to impact the volume of sales, house prices and land prices.
However, there have been some positives flowing from the COVID-19 pandemic, with a strong market as a result of some buyers accelerating purchases and re-assessing their housing needs.
The fundamentals in the market remain strong though, with generally greater demand than supply.
Neil Leitch is a Lending Director in our Development Finance team, covering the North. To speak to him about your requirements, contact Neil via email on [email protected] or call 0113 360 3271 or 07533 899 850. Find out more about HTB Development Finance.
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