10 Questions With... Alan Margolis, Head of Bridging at United Trust Bank

10 Questions With... Alan Margolis, Head of Bridging at United Trust Bank



A snapshot of the man who loves Nigella, X Factor and Wuthering Heights... 




Katie-jill speaks to Alan Margolis


1. Who would you put in room 101 if given the chance?


George Galloway.


2. So, how long have you been at UTB for and where were you before that?
I’ve been at UTB since March this year. Before then I spent a brief 12 years or so at Cheval where I eventually became CEO.

3. What’s the best and worst thing about your job?
Well, although people wouldn’t think it, this job is very creative compared to tick-box lending. We don’t just sit there and ask a list of questions to find a deal, we often have to find a way to structure the deals. We are, in effect, piecing together a puzzle. 
On top of this, every situation is different and so our services are bespoke. You get a great buzz when you complete a case and help customers.
When cases don’t complete after we have put an awful lot of time and effort in. 
4. If you weren’t working in financial services what would you be doing instead?
Probably something legal-ish because I’m a solicitor.
B&C: Oh really.  And how does a solicitor end up in this industry?
Well I had an offer and I took it. And thirteen years later…
B&C: Was it not a difficult transition?
No the move was a natural fit really. Bridging is surrounded by legal issues at every step of the way and both jobs require the same problem solving abilities.  
5. What would your final meal be?
Something with chips… but I’m not planning on having it for a while.
B&C: McDonalds chips?
Clearly not! I’m talking about good chips here. And I want them to be served with good food as well, not a Big Mac. 
6. What trends have you noticed within bridging over the last 12 months, and what do you predict for the next 12?
The quality of the applicants and propositions has been steadily increasing. The people who would normally have obtained finance from the main stream institutions are often finding that those lenders are no longer willing or able to assist them. They are now turning to bridging as an alternative form of financing.
As for the next year, I think that the volume of business will continue to increase and we should learn more of what the FSA’s intentions are with regard to loans which are either CCA regulated or currently unregulated, Clearly this will have an impact on those lenders which are unregulated.

B&C: I suppose United Trust Bank would benefit from stricter regulation in the sector?
We are fortunate in that we are a bank with a distinct in-house division focused on bridging, and obviously as a bank we are authorised and regulated by all the relevant bodies. Stricter regulation would not adversely affect us. 
B&C: If regulation gets really tough you might be a monopoly power!
7. Who do you fancy off the telly?
Mmmmm… a hard one. However for me it’s Nigella Lawson, for a whole host of reasons.
B&C: I can’t imagine what they are, do tell me.
Well she’s gorgeous, she can cook and she’s a little wacky… I like that. But I think if I was married to her I would be thirty-five stone; everything she cooks is covered in cream or butter.
8. What’s your favourite book and why?
Wuthering Heights. I studied it at A-level and I think it is an astonishing achievement.
Also, as a family we read the Little Tim books by Edward Ardizzone.  They’re old books about sailing adventures but the illustrations are beautiful and my children love them.
B&C: How old are your children?
6, 5 and 8 months.
B&C: Do you really sit around and read books together?
Well… it’s a bit soppy, but we do quite often, usually with the two older boys in their bunk-beds and the baby perched nearby, while I am sat on the floor reading to them.
9. What’s your favourite film and why?

Permit me three. The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Normally films of books disappoint in that I had imagined the characters and places very differently to those of the film. For me, the Lord of the Rings films managed to achieve something remarkable; they were amazingly similar to what I had imagined after reading the book(s).  
10. Are you supporting an X Factor contestant, and if so who?

I’m not going to add to Simon Cowell’s already overflowing coffers by voting on a weekly basis, so we’ll be non voting armchair supporters of Wagner. Only kidding, I think Matt Cardle is great and we even bought his solo guitar performance on iTunes.

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