My business effectively covers the commercial and corporate segments across the UK, from Orkney and Shetland down to Devon and Cornwall and across to Northern Ireland. I have six regional managing directors who are very senior bankers in their territories. I spend a lot of time travelling around, trying to see what we’re doing well and what we could do better, how business is performing. Clearly, there are some big regional differences in terms of the makeup of the economy and prosperity. But we’re the market leader in most of the markets, and with that market share comes both opportunity and an obligation to support business.
I’m always interested in local dynamics and colour. I’ve got a very big business in Manchester, which has different needs to the North East or the South West of England, so I’m interested in the whole of the UK performing well. Aberdeen is having a tough time because of all the gas, and the Northern Irish economy is structurally quite different in terms of public sector and agriculture and food processing being the dominant elements. So you get some regional differences, but my business wants and needs to see business succeeding from Cornwall to Shetland and Orkney.
The South East is pretty resilient. Being so close to London has its downside, but on balance the access to a huge and vibrant market, and the trickle-down from that, is very helpful. You get the benefit from a highly educated population; it's a place to which people will happily migrate, either domestically or internationally, because the quality of life is good.