Interview with Graham Davin, CEO of United Trust Bank
One key challenge is managing growth. We have trebled our headcount in the last four years, moved to new offices and expanded into new lending sectors.
United Trust Bank has grown considerably in the last five years, Congratulations. What are the biggest opportunities for you and UTB over the next three years?
Thank you. Yes, United Trust Bank (UTB) has focused our growth in our core businesses; development finance, bridging and asset finance. We also launched new divisions for professional lending, technology finance and specialist mortgages.
Following this growth, what are the biggest opportunities for you and UTB over the next three years?
We will continue to capitalise on the growing economy and strong demand for our products and services and will continue to develop United Trust Bank’s business by launching new products and building market share across all units.
Can you give us an insight on how you intend to maximise on these exciting opportunities?
Having launched three new businesses, we will continue to build the team by employing excellent people. We will also be increasing our marketing activity to build awareness amongst consumers.
We already have a strong presence in the broker market and we have a growing reputation for offering consistently competitive savings products. Our move into the mortgage sector will further help us to reinforce UTB’s position in the new wave of ‘challenger’ banks.
What challenges does your business face?
One key challenge is managing growth. We have trebled our headcount in the last four years, moved to new offices and expanded into new lending sectors. To manage this we have appointed key leaders to assure the future growth of the Bank. This requires capital for the business and great people to see the plans through. Our other significant challenge is dealing with vast amount of regulation which comes with being a bank.
What single issue do you see most often?
It’s not really an ‘issue’ as such but what occupies me most is juggling all the elements involved in maintaining momentum. There’s lots going on around the Bank and we must keep everything moving forward in a coordinated manner.
Your first foray was with Investec. By the time you were 30 you had a significant shareholding in the bank, you were a director and the CFO. Looking back at your career, what have been your pivotal moments?
Selecting and making early stage investments in businesses were crucial and it’s something I’ve done throughout my career. My skills are in recognising opportunities, being willing to take some risk and getting the momentum started. After contributing to Investec I saw an opportunity at Insinger de Beaufort to do the same. When we completed the MBO of United Trust Bank in 2003 there were 9 people and a £20m balance sheet. We now have a team of over 100 people, have grown the balance sheet to £0.5bn and have achieved that during the worst financial crisis in living memory.
What advice would you give your younger self starting out in your career today?
Invest in your people and relationships! Surround yourself with motivated individuals who know more about their jobs than you do. Don’t be scared to take considered risks – if you’ve done your homework, fully understand the information and are comfortable with the level of risk involved, then move forward. If it’s not absolutely clear to you exactly what you’re looking at, stay away. There will always be more opportunities to test your nerve when you’ll be clearer with the decision.
Finally, the Europe question. In or out?
Definitely in. No question.
CEO, United Trust Bank
Graham Davin, is the principal stakeholder of United Trust Bank. He was previously Chief Financial Officer and Head of Corporate Finance of Investec Bank and a main board Director of Investec for 16 years. He was a founding partner of the Insinger de Beaufort Group and a Director of its listed parent and its Dutch bank.