One to One: Andrew Craddock, Managing Director, Darlington Building Society


What does your day-to-day role as CEO of Darlington entail?

I have overall responsibility for the direction and management of the company.

This includes: leading the management team; developing and implementing a strategy; business performance management and risk management; set the tone while respecting our culture and our values; ensure that our employees and members remain at the heart of society; and represent the company to all of our external stakeholders.

I want to standardize the rules of the game between mutuals and large banks, particularly in terms of capital and access to low-cost financing

Did you learn anything during the pandemic that changed the way society operates?

I have learned three key lessons from the pandemic: the safety and wellbeing of our employees and members is paramount; you can implement new projects quickly and safely if necessary; and never underestimate the value of communication.

What is the main thing you want to achieve as a lender this year?

Our goal as a society is to help our members become owners. Our main focus this year is to provide products that help people who are struggling to fulfill their dream of owning their home.

The home buying process needs to be smoother, faster and cheaper for buyers, especially the process of transferring ownership

They may have difficulty saving for the deposit, want to build their own home, have atypical, irregular or foreign income, want to buy an unusual property, be self-employed, have historical credit problems or want to buy a house with bad debts. other family members.

A good example of this is the new Help to Build program, which the Darlington Building Society proudly supports. It will allow those with smaller deposits to build their own home; a proposition that was previously only available to high-income earners.

What do you consider to be the main differentiator of a mutual compared to other lenders?

Mutuals can take a long-term view and, instead of paying dividends to shareholders, spend those funds to invest in our future business by offering value for money and competitively priced products and services.

Help to Build program will allow those with small deposits to build their own home

We also maintain close relationships with our local communities, which directly benefit from the success of mutuality. The more capital we have, the more we can invest in our communities for good causes.

Unlike the big banks, we underwrite mortgages manually, so complex applications are seen by a member of our team, a real person, rather than relying on an automated computer scorecard to make loan decisions. . This means that we can adapt our mortgages.

What has been your biggest career lesson?

I should have joined the mutual sector earlier, because of the people, the culture, the ability to have a long-term vision, the absolute priority of putting members at the heart of all decisions and commitment to supporting high streets and communities.

We underwrite mortgages manually, so complex applications are seen by a member of our team, a real person

At Darlington, this is reflected in our commitment to donate 5% of our pre-tax profits to good local causes.

Is there anything you would change in the mortgage industry?

I would like to change three things: to make the home buying process smoother, faster and less expensive for buyers, especially the process of disposing of property; level the playing field between mutuals and big banks, especially with regard to capital and access to low-cost financing; and improve support for the diversity, health and well-being of people working in the industry

What is the best advice you have received?

In elementary school, my teacher read us ‘Reach for the Sky’, the biography of Douglas Bader. He overcame the loss of both legs in a plane crash to walk again and become a World War II fighter pilot; then he was shot and escaped from a POW camp.

Never underestimate the value of communication

Whenever I face challenges, I think of his story and the adversity he overcame through his commitment, mental toughness and positive attitude.

If you could do any other job, outside of financial services, what would it be?

When I was younger, I thought about joining the police or the armed forces, but instead I trained as a teacher and then joined the financial services. Now I am thinking of a return to education to support the next generation.

Company profile

Year of creation: 1856

Effective : 190

Address: Sentinel House, Morton Road, Darlington DL1 4PT

Such : 01325 366366

We are over 160 years old and still going strong. DBS is focused on being an independent regional construction company that shares its knowledge, skills and resources with its local community.


This article appeared in the June edition of MS.

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