Katie Roberts – “I’m here to empower Northern businesses with tailored banking expertise.”

This week I joined Allica Bank as senior local relationship manager for the North. Having worked closely with small and medium-sized businesses for 21 years, I can’t tell you have excited I am to get out on the road to meet you all again when the pandemic restrictions have been lifted.

There’s something really special about getting to know a business owner. To sit down together and understand where you want your business to go and how you’re going to get there. I’ve missed it a lot.

I am especially looking forward to introducing Northern businesses to Allica Bank. Allica is offering business owners something I know they both want and need, but often aren’t getting anywhere else: the tailored, personal support of a relationship manager, backed up with smart technology.

But what does that really look like in practice? Let me tell you.

A trusted source of expertise

From Leeds, Manchester and Liverpool, through to Sheffield, Doncaster and York, business owners in the region are some of the most passionate and impressive people I have met. Whether you make dresses, run a pub, manufacture widgets or manage a store, you’re fantastic at what you do.

However, business owners are rarely experts on business finance. And understandably so! You have enough on your plate already without having to get your head around the terms of a hire purchase agreement, or the ins and outs of a commercial mortgage product spec.

As a relationship manager, my role will be to empower you with the information you need to make an informed choice at the time you need to make it. By building a real relationship with a business, I can tailor my expertise to make it relatable to you, your business, and your local community.

Most businesses will have a number of advisers and experts around them already – accountants, solicitors, financial planners, pension advisors etc. And, when you have a concern or idea, my aim is for you to see me as part of that go-to panel of experts, rather than someone that will simply try and sell to you.

I want to be there for a business owner throughout their growth journey and be a part of it. We can chat through on the phone or – restrictions permitting – sit over a coffee and talk through how a commercial mortgage or asset finance, say, could open doors for your business. By getting to know you and understanding your ambitions and challenges, I can bring solutions to the table that you’d perhaps never even considered.

Ultimately, I will see my success at Allica Bank as the success of my customers. And for you to be successful, you need to have the best, most relevant and relatable banking expertise available to you.

Transparency and speed

From my two decades of working with businesses, the number one frustration many have with their bank isn’t being told no, it’s not getting an answer. Or at least, not getting one quickly and clearly.

As an Allica Bank relationship manager, I will be an active point of contact for a business whenever they have a question. Should there be any quirks to the application, I will have direct access to the credit and underwriting teams, allowing me to explain the situation and make a case for it, saving any unnecessary back-and-forths with the customer.

Then, if ever the answer does come back as no, I can sit down with you and explain in detail why we came to that decision, and perhaps suggest some alternative options.

By combining relationship banking and best-in-class technology, Allica can turn an application round in weeks, not months (or perhaps even less). This kind of certainty can make a world of difference for a business owner, freeing you up to focus on what you do best.

Relationship managers – a rare breed

Small and medium-sized businesses are going to face a swathe of unprecedented challenges over the coming years, making access to the personal attention and local expertise of a relationship manager more crucial than ever. This is especially true for more established firms, whose complex needs Allica Bank is specifically designed to serve.

Despite this, though, if you run a business with between 5 and 100 employees, it’s getting less and less likely that your bank will offer you a relationship manager. Instead, more often than not, you can be expected to be bounced around a call centre, only to end up speaking to someone that may not even know your local area, let alone your business.

Allica Bank is doing things differently. They really understand the value that a relationship manager can add to a business, and so have built a bank to ensure that those business who want one can still have one. Instead of replacing relationships with technology, we’re using technology to make these relationships stronger than ever before. Whether it’s to improve communication, speed up decision-making, digitise the application process, or cut down on paperwork.

That’s why I am so excited to join the team here at Allica. We’re building something new – a bank that will take the time to understand Northern businesses, and give them the personal and tailored expertise they need to succeed.

If that sounds interesting, I’d love to get to know you and your business. Reach out to me directly at katie.roberts@allica.bank and we can arrange a time to chat. I look forward to speaking with you!

About Katie

Katie is a senior local relationship manager for Allica Bank in the North. She lives in Worksop with her husband, new-born son, and Winston, a black Labrador. A passionate traveller, one day she dreams of driving the length of Route 66 in a campervan.

Before joining Allica, Katie spent most of her time working for Lloyds Bank, supporting small and medium-sized businesses across the East Midlands and in Yorkshire. While there, she became Lloyds’ youngest female national area director, and launched its education banking offering. By the time she left, she had made Lloyds the largest provider by market share in the region for that sector.

When not speaking to business owners about their plans, Katie is also a die-hard Liverpool FC fan. When on the field herself, though, she prefers a hockey stick to football boots.

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