One of the Black Country financial world’s best-known faces has just celebrated 40 years with the Tipton and Coseley Building Society.
Chris Martin, the Tipton’s chief executive originally joined as an administrative assistant in 1970 earning just £10 per week.
For Mr Martin, it was the promise of £20 per week that spurred him on to get his professional qualifications, which he was successful in achieving four years later.
Spells on the counter and in the mortgage department quickly followed and in 1976 he was appointed assistant general manager.
He became secretary of the society in 1982 and in 1987, aged just 35, he was appointed chief executive – the youngest chief executive in the building society sector.
He is now the longest-serving chief executive and although Mr Martin has seen the industry change during his 40 years at the Tipton, he has ensured the society’s traditional philosophy of putting people at the heart of the business remains.
“The financial industry has changed through the advent of technological developments, regulation and competition,” he said.
“However, one constant feature I am pleased still exists through the Tipton is its commitment to put customers first; the provision of a safe, secure home for members’ savings, helping them buy their own homes and treating them as individuals.”
“I believe the Tipton has a great future ahead of it.
“Generally speaking, people are fed up with big banks and big organisations - they want to speak to real people, both by telephone and in person.
“Our advertising slogan ‘talk to the Tipton’ sums this up nicely and the difference between us and most organisations is that we mean it.
“Our local franchise is as strong as ever and if anything, the financial crisis has led to people turning to safe and secure organisations such as our own.
“There are challenges and these are represented by competition from the nationalised banks that are still making losses and yet competing aggressively in our market place.
“Even so, we continue to write good business providing competitive savings and mortgage accounts through our branch offices, internet and postal services.”