Thursday, 16 February 2012


Yesterday I was pleased to wecome to Stoke the Director General of the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML), Paul Smee. CML is an influential trade body which speaks on behalf of UK lenders and clearly there is currently plenty to talk about. Paul and I discussed the implications of the FSAs mortgage market review, the importance of local mutuals in providing diversity in the marketplace, the plight of first-time buyers and the regenerative potential of housing initiatives. As Paul is a Crystal Palace fan we didn't dwell on football too long! Hopefully our meeting compelled Paul to believe that local mutuals such as The Hanley continue to punch above our weight in delivering great service to our members and that we remain a potent force in our local communities. Today I am hosting a visit from senior executives at the Scottish Building Society, a similarly sized society to ourselves but with a far more extensive territory and a huge agency network. The purpose of the visit is to learn from each other and to compare priorities and performance in our respective businesses. One of the enduring strengths of the mutual sector is that willingness to communiacte with and learn from others and I really hope that our visitors from SBS feel rewarded having made such a long trip south.In contrast the other important visitors to Stoke today are Valencia FC and I hope they have no such warm feeling after tonights Europa League match with Stoke City FC. I am taking a couple of guests to this historic game and I hope that the Potters can rise to this very special occasion.

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