The North East is a unique and distinctive region. As such, its businesses require and deserve tailored support, which is something that Leigh Taylor, Regional Director for the North East at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, understands all too well.
Alongside his team of locally-based advisors, he has worked hard to enhance the bank’s expertise in business sectors with a strong foothold in the region, from agriculture to advanced manufacturing.
Leigh said: “It’s crucial that our relationship managers are properly equipped to serve the industries that make the North East so special. So we ensure our team’s breadth of expertise covers the issues and operational nuances of every sector in the region.
“An understanding of production techniques in an engineering business, or the working day of a farmer, is vital when offering relevant recommendations for future financing arrangements, or even just to talk on a level playing field about their business.”
The bank has developed five key specialisms, which were chosen to provide the best possible service to north east SMEs: agriculture, manufacturing, real estate, health and education.
Ultimately, all of Lloyds’ relationship managers will become fully trained and accredited specialists, enabling them to provide informed advice and support to their chosen sector.
And that support goes way beyond traditional day-to-day banking services.
It could include using Six Sigma analysis techniques to boost quality at a manufacturing business, applying lean management methods to achieve long-term efficiencies, advising local farmers on future land acquisitions or understanding rules and regulations of how a care home operates.
Lloyds’ aim is that a relationship manager will always be on hand to provide informed advice on the sector specific issues that are so important to our customers.
The ambition is to add value for every client in every interaction it has, with the ultimate aim of helping every customer, and the region, achieve its full potential.
That’s why Lloyds is investing so heavily in training, both financially and from a time perspective, and partnering with relevant bodies so our colleagues can earn proper accreditation.
All relationship managers must attend 40 hours of professional training every year to ensure their insight is up-to-date.
Leigh said: “We’ve gone out of our way to differentiate ourselves from other banks, so that our colleagues can support their customers with full knowledge of the issues that are important to them.
“We can sit down and provide informed, timely insight into the issues they need to be aware of, whether they be growth opportunities or potential headwinds.
“That’s how we add value to our relationships and go above and beyond the typical bank/customer relationship.”
Over the last few years, Lloyds has recruited an exceptional senior management team for the North East.
Most of them are born and bred in the region and Leigh emphasises that they take great pride in their SME customers’ achievements.
The current focus on further strengthening Lloyds’ support for North East SMEs is testament to the bank’s determination help write the region’s success story.