Steve Fletcher has taken over as chief executive of Stockport’s Vernon Building Society.
He succeeds Mike Hanson, who has retired having been CEO of the specialist mortgage lender since 1996.
Steve was previously Head of Customer Banking Networks at Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank and has worked in the financial sector since 1988, having also worked for Barclays, Woolwich, Birmingham Midshires and Eagle Star.
Steve said: “I am delighted to be joining the Society at such an important and exciting time in its history.
“The mutual status of the Vernon – and the bespoke personal mortgage service that it provides – holds real appeal for me.
“I’m very much looking forward to working for a local business which has been part of our communities since 1924 and whose key focus is delivering customer value.
“We’ve got a strong senior team in place – supported by an enviable group of colleagues, in branch and behind the scenes – and I’m extremely proud to be leading us through the next stage of the Vernon’s history.”
The Vernon has six branches across Stockport, including its head office in St Petersgate in the town centre, and 35,000 members.
The Vernon was also awarded ‘the UK’s best savings provider’ in the 2017 British Bank Awards and has again been nominated this year.
Steve is a strong believer in a network of branches, while also embracing advances in technology in response to customer demands.
He added: “Times are changing – and the pace of that change is rapid – so we will continue to introduce products and services that meet the evolving needs of our customers.
“Our Retirement Mortgages and Family Assist Mortgages were both developed and launched in response to changing demographics and societal requirements – namely an ageing population and helping children or other family members get onto the property ladder. There are further similar products in the pipeline.
“We also recognise that the way in which we live and work is a far cry from even five years ago so we offer a bespoke approach – working with human underwriters – to ensure that common sense prevails.
“More and more consumers are also using online or mobile banking to keep abreast of their finances, making this a key area of development as we move forwards, whilst still providing traditional communication channels such as face to face and being able to call our branches and speak directly to one of our local friendly team.
“It is a time of change at the Vernon but our business and our people have shown amazing flexibility and resilience over the years and continued to stay true to our core values.”
Mike Hanson, who joined the Vernon in 1989, had been at the helm of the society for 21 of the society’s 93-year history.
He said: “I’m delighted to pass the baton to my successor and wish him and the entire Vernon team every success as they continue to develop and realise our strategic vision, whilst maximising our member benefits.
“Today’s financial and economic landscape is a world away from 1996 when I became chief executive.
“Our expectations are ever higher, and the pace of life and change faster, but I’m proud to say that the Vernon has always evolved and adapted – we’ve worked hard to secure the best deals and outcomes for our members and will continue to do so. “