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Ex-FSA director and Stroud & Swindon chief join as Checkmate rebrands

Checkmate Mortgages has appointed former FSA director Ronnie Baird and ex-Stroud & Swindon chief executive David Hill to its board as it rebrands to Portillion.

The firm has also signalled its intention to collect retail deposits with the creation of a savings director role in a raft of new appointments to the company’s board.

Baird joins as senior non-executive director and chairman of the audit committee and was previously the FSA’s director of internal audit, leading a critical review of the regulator and the Treasury’s handling of the Equitable Life fiasco in 2001.

Hill, who joins as chief financial officer, stepped down as CEO and CFO of Stroud & Swindon Building Society in August 2009 after nine years at the mutual.

Hill’s resignation followed losses of £3.4m posted by the building society.

Philip Dearing, previously chief executive officer at Market Harborough Building Society, has been appointed savings director, Gerald Gregory, previously a director of Britannia Building Society has been appointed non-executive chairman and David Kindred, previously head of decision sciences at Lloyds Banking Group, has been appointed chief risk officer.

Stephen Knight, previously executive chairman at GMAC-RFC, remains chief executive officer.

The firm says the new name, which is derived from the French word “portillon”, meaning the security gate in front of a castle, is the result of extensive research carried out in the fourth quarter of 2009.

Portillion non-executive chairman Gerald Gregory says: “The board, management team and governance structure that has been put in place at Portillion is as good as I have seen anywhere in the industry.

“When the time is right to launch, I am sure we will improve choice and benefits for customers.”


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There are 7 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. A very interesting move. I think Stephen is trying to get ahead of the curve and can clearly see the way the market is changing.

  2. Not so very interesting move..... 22nd February 2010 at 10:06 am

    As it is not April 1st this news is really quite bizarre.

    A company which has yet to launch, that is burning cash with a huge infrastructure cost; is now ‘re-branding’ following “the result of extensive research carried out in the fourth quarter of 2009” Yep, and adding more costs!

    So does this all mean an imminent launch?

    Eh no, the time is “still not right”…….

    Anyway, can’t wait for the next rebrand company name in 6 months or so….

    I suggest Portillion a Fermé – ‘Gate Closed’?

  3. Former FSA director enters into a business enterprise called Checkmate. Hmmm ~ To have come up with a name like that, he must surely have been on the RDR team.

  4. Are we sure Portillion isn’t French for Bide a wee home for the terminally confused. What a line up!!

  5. Maybe I’ve missed the point here but it can only be positive news that a prospective intermediary based lender has hand picked a number of experienced and relevant executives who are in the final stages of applying for their FSA Authorisation.

    I for one find it very easy to be cynical with all that has happened over the past 3 years but we need people like Stephen Knight who believe, trust and support the intermediary sector as the central thrust of their distribution strategy.

    Good luck with your application and I look forward to road testing that fantastic technology of yours soon.

  6. I totally agree Rob, I am mystified why a lender fighting to come to market can receive so many negative comments for its efforts. There are many lenders and funders watching the market and it will only take one or two to encourage the others to take the big leap. I’m not saying that we will get back to the heady heights of 2007 quite yet but would be happy with a 2003/2004 trading stance.

    There are strong industry names linked with Portillion and if they have identified a route to market then surely we should be supporting them as their intention is to support the intermediary market.

    I for one would like to wish them every success and look forward to dealing with them in the not too distant future.

  7. Nice to see all these positive comments from Stephens friends about Stalemate , sorry checkmate mortgages name change.

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