Change underpins success at Wyelands Bank

Change underpins success at Wyelands Bank

Wyelands Bank CEO Iain Hunter on how the bank turned from loss to profit in under two years and how living our values helped make that happen.

Our Wyelands group includes two core businesses, the independent Wyelands Bank, and the Wyelands Capital financial consultancy business. Wyelands Bank CEO Iain Hunter sat down with SPOKE to talk about where the bank has come from, what they are looking forward to and some of the keys to their success.

Can you tell us a little about the Wyelands Bank?

Wyelands Bank was set up almost two years ago, when Sanjeev acquires a loss making bank called Tungsten Bank.  It is regulated just like any other bank. We take retail deposits and lend money to small and medium businesses, including some of GFG Alliance’s businesses, by purchasing receivables allowing them to up free working capital otherwise tied up in unpaid debt.

Where are you at now?

When we started, we had £25 million in capital and £25 million in cash. Today, we have £770 million in total combined assets. We have raised £600 million in retail deposits and funded about £400 million. Two years ago, the bank was losing approximately £5 million and we’ve now broken even which is something we’re really proud of – we try to run the bank as a family which works well with our values.

On our values of Family, Sustainability and Change – how do you see them facilitating success at Wyelands Bank?

That’s exactly it, they underpin our success. We’re a small knit group, with only 43 of us today from 15 when we started. Given our size and time in the market these form part of our values and are incredibly important, particularly being able to handle change, because while it can be difficult in the short-term it really sets us up for the future. These values are really embedded into our business along with the need to be agile, listen to our customers, and provide excellent service.

How have you embedded the values at Wyelands Bank?

I lead by example and have always tried to do so. Also, my management team has been growing so that’s given us the opportunity to make sure we have the right people on board. When we hire, we take our time and make sure the candidate understands our journey because it’s not for everyone.

What we’ve really put an emphasis on this year is making sure everyone understands our strategy. To do this, we’ve been running quarterly town halls where we talk to all the staff about what we’ve done well, where we could do better, and where we are at financially. I think this helps everyone to have ownership of their role in the business.

What are some of this year’s highlights?

In terms of financial performance, reaching break-even was a massive achievement. We’ve also grown 50% so far this year, but perhaps the thing I’m most proud of relates to our people. We’re working really hard to create the right culture, and as part of this, the team created a new initiative called ‘Applause Awards’ where staff can nominate their peers for a quarterly prize. I love that it’s about others recognising each other.

What are your key priorities for 2019?

Continuing to grow. We’re looking at entering slightly new business lines including asset based lending and asset finance. We’re also exploring different regional opportunities and expanding geographically, but these things take time.

What does success look like to you?

For me it’s all about seeing people grow and adapt to change as it’s the people who deliver.

Iain Hunter, Wyelands Bank Chief Executive Officer

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