Specialist lender Cambridge & Counties Bank has expanded its West & Wales real estate team with two new senior hires. Sophie Wilkins and James Roche join as Senior Relationship Managers, both reporting to Paul Howard, Regional Director – West & Wales at the bank.
The appointments reflect the strong growth of the bank’s regional property book and strong demand from real estate professionals and SMEs together with the commercial finance brokers that serve them for their dedicated lending products.
Originally from Plymouth and now based in Bristol, Sophie joins the bank following a five-year stint working for Bankwest in Australia, most latterly as a Senior Relationship Manager. During her time at Bankwest, she managed a portfolio of around 50 clients with debt facilities of between £1m and £15m, with a focus on business, property, and development finance.
Based in Exeter, James has extensive experience in the real estate sector. He has been in commercial banking for 16 years working closely with both customers and brokers to deliver solution that meets their requirements with relationship management a key focus. Previous roles include two and a half years at Yorkshire Building Society as a Relationship Director.
Cambridge & Counties Bank saw enhanced demand for its real estate product suite in 2021 across the Midlands and the wider UK market, with demand continuing to grow in 2022. In the West & Wales region, the bank has seen increased activity in the commercial and mixed-use space.
In terms of the UK market, Cambridge & Counties Bank recently announced it had seen total lending top £1 billion as part of its 10th anniversary celebrations in June this year. Over the past decade, it has grown into a significant competitor in its selected markets and business lines. Deposits have grown to more than £1 billion as at the end of 2021.
Originally focused on the local East Midlands region served through one branch, the Leicester-headquartered bank has seen staff numbers increase to more than 200, with major offices now in Sheffield, Bristol, London, and Glasgow.
The addition of Sophie and James means the bank now has 5 members of staff covering the West & Wales region.
Paul Howard, Regional Director – West & Wales at Cambridge & Counties Bank said:
“We’re delighted to be adding Sophie and James to our successful South West & Wales team. Both have extensive experience and a deep understanding of the needs of our clients and the brokers that support them and are joining us at a time of growth and expansion. The West & Wales area is a key market for the bank, and we will continue to invest in the local team.”