Rob Lankey, Head of Lending at Aldermore Commercial

Rob Lankey, Head of Lending at Aldermore Commercial




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1. Who do you fancy off the telly?

I would say you but you’re on the internet, so Billie Piper!

B&C [blushing slightly and nodding emphatically]: Oh my God, how amazing, is she in that call girl show? What was it called? Secret Diary of a Call Girl.

Well I only saw that once [B&C doubts this]. Butmy wife probably wondered why I had a renewed interest in Dr Who...

2. When did you start working at Aldermore and what were you doing before that?

I stated working for Base Commercial Mortgages in February 2007. However, in May 2009, Base merged with Ruffler Bank to form Aldermore, where I am now Head of Commercial Lending.

Before that I was at Norwich and Peterborough for 18 years. What made me leave? I wasn’t feeling challenged enough, it was all becoming too easy and wasn’t ticking the right boxes for me. Was I headhunted? Yes, and I was in the mood for a new challenge.

3. What did you want to be when you were a kid?

I wanted to be a train driver. I’ve always been fascinated by steam trains, but I’d like to stress that I’m not a train spotter! I almost had a go driving a train last year at Christmas, but changed my mind and had a go at driving racing cars instead. I also wanted to be a racing driver, but my wife thought it was too dangerous, so I went into financial services, as you do!

[On a previous meeting with Rob, B&C learnt that his daughter competes regularly in licensed go-kart racing]

B&C: So your daughter’s racing now instead of you?

That’s right, they say you live your unfulfilled dreams through your children, don’t they? 

4. What would you be doing now if you weren’t in financial services?

Racing cars. I never got to develop my racing skills as much as I would have liked to. I didn’t get the opportunity to explore trying to make a career out of it, so my racing career never got off the ground. But I’m now racing as an amateur – I race once a month in Grantham, at the Ancaster karting track and spend hours practicing. I’m keen to take whatever racing opportunities come up.

5. What’s the best and worst thing about your job?

The most important thing is that it gives me a buzz; achieving objectives and helping the business grow. Without it sounding too clichéd, it’s also the team. They’re great people; they make it good to be here.

The worst thing is that I’ve never liked ‘red tape’; I like people who run their business areas to be entrepreneurs. Red tape affects every business as it gets bigger, but I want to keep Aldermore’s commercial lending operation as entrepreneurial as possible, even as we expand. I don’t think Aldermore is bureaucratic and that, overall, it’s quite entrepreneurial by spirit...

6. What trends have you noticed within the commercial lending sector over the last 12 months, and what do you predict for the next 12 months?

I don’t think the sector has changed an awful lot. There have been some small but significant changes with lenders like Aldermore coming back into the market, but it’s going to take longer than people think for traditional lenders to come back again, with so many of them still licking their wounds. Aldermore has grown so much over the last year, it’s been very busy for us and we’ve had plenty of people saying they want to work with us, which has been great.

As for the next 12 months, from a market perspective, traditional lenders will start to get more confident and there’ll also be a number of new entrants launching I suspect. I don’t think we’ll see significant growth activity in the market, however, as it’s still very fragile.

7. What’s your favourite film and book?

Forest Gump and the Tolkien trilogy, Lord of the Rings. It’s the sort of thing you can go back to years later and pick up again. I’m not particularly an avid reader, because I read so much in the day. I really enjoy playing music though, I play the piano and clarinet.

B&C: what sort of music do you listen to?

I listen to a completely eclectic mix of all sorts: Iron Maiden, Mozart, Now 74, Abba Gold, Rainbow, Deep Purple. I think my dad cursed me with 70’s rock as I was growing up!

8. If your life was a TV show what would it be?

Top Gear – because my life is also a bit zany and manically busy; the show is like my life in many ways! Which character would I be? Probably Clarkson due to his dry humour and total enthusiasm for fast cars... I’m also a fanatical petrolhead. I love being in my race kart; racing is such an intense experience and the concentration required means you don’t get a chance to think about anything else.

9. If you could have a super power for one day what would it be and why?

I’d go back in time and meet people like Fangio and some of the old racing drivers. Fangio drove cars with wheels like large pennies, no seatbelts, rubbish brakes, leather helmets and short sleeves. They must have been absolutely mad to race in those days...

10. What’s one thing most people would be surprised, shocked even, to learn about you?

Well, because a lot of people know about the my enthusiasm for cars and how much time that takes up, they’re pretty surprised when they hear about my piano playing and that I’m a trustee of a charity – Armenian Ministries – and that I’m the non-executive director of a housing association in my spare time....I mean, what spare time?!

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