Paragon has appointed Richard Rowntree, pictured, as Managing Director of Mortgages to spearhead growth across its mortgage businesses.
Richard joins from the Bank of Ireland, where he was Managing Director of UK Mortgages, and will be responsible for Paragon’s lending activities across buy-to-let, second charge and residential mortgages.
Richard takes over from John Heron, who retired this month after 34 years with Paragon. Richard has also held senior roles at RBS (Williams & Glyn), Santander, Lloyds TSB and Halifax, and was also the Chairman of UK Finance’s Mortgage Product Board in 2019.
Richard said he plans to further develop Paragon’s focus on portfolio landlords as demand for private rented property is forecast to grow.
Richard said: “Paragon has carved out an exceptional reputation in the buy-to-let market over the past 25 years under John’s guidance and I am excited to be able to take that forward. Buy-to-let is increasingly becoming the domain of the portfolio landlord and, with our experience of working with these customers, we are perfectly placed to meet their needs.
“We’ve introduced a number of initiatives over the past year to improve intermediary and customer experience, such as the launch of the Intermediary Portal, and we will introduce further changes in 2020 to build on that.”
Portfolio landlords accounted for 89% of Paragon’s new lending during its last financial year and last week it launched a refreshed range of products for this customer group. Richard believes it is this group that will spearhead growth and drive standards improvements in the private rented sector (PRS).
He said: “The PRS is an important component of the UK’s housing market catering for a diverse range of renters and the introduction of buy-to-let finance has led to significant improvements in housing standards in that sector over the past 25 years. Portfolio landlords have the greater propensity to purchase and it is this group that will increasingly add to the supply of decent homes in the PRS.”