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Paul Lynam, CEO, Secure Trust Bank

Paul Lynam

Paul Lynam joined Secure Trust Bank as Chief Executive Officer in September 2010, having spent 22 years working for NatWest and RBS. Prior to leaving RBS, Paul was the Managing Director, Banking, for RBS/NatWest’s SME banking business across the UK. Before that Paul spent four years as the Managing Director of Lombard North Central PLC.

During his career, Paul has undertaken roles in branch banking, business banking, corporate and commercial banking, strategy, performance management, lending and central head office functions. Paul is a member of the board of UK Finance and he chairs the Specialist Bank Strategic Advisory Committee for UK Finance. He is a Fellow of the IFS University College as well as having served as a governor and trustee of IFS University College.

Paul is also an Associate of the Chartered Institute of Bankers and the Association of Corporate Treasurers. Paul chairs the ALCO and is a member of the Risk Committee. Paul is a director of Arbuthnot Banking Group.

A two-minute interview with PAUL 

Why are you an everywoman Advocate?

I believe that people’s career achievements should be determined by their attitude, ambition and ability, and not where they came from, what they look like or what sex they are.

What would people be surprised to KNOW about you?

I was once a very fit footballer.

cite three pivotal things in your life.

Leaving Ireland to pursue a career. Becoming a father.  Taking a risk to move from the world of big business to become the CEO of a small bank during the depths of the global financial crisis.

what was your biggest career challenge?

Taking Secure Trust Bank PLC through an IPO in 2011 at the height of a crisis of confidence in the stability of the European financial markets. I was able to convince fund managers that as a very small UK only bank STB would not be negatively impacted by events in the EU and could actually benefit from the travails of the larger banks. The IPO share price was £7.20 and has risen to nearly £20 since.

What would you change about your career?

I don’t think I’d change anything. I’ve had a good run and for the most part thoroughly enjoyed myself so far.

What do you wish you knew in your early career?

How to be better distinguished between talkers and walkers.

what ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE SOMEONE looking to BE ON AN EXECUTIVE BOARD?

  1. Set yourself up to be successful by having relevant skills and experiences.
  2. Use a mentor.
  3. You don’t have to be great to start but you have to start to be great.

Name three characteristics you look for in an executive team member.

  1. Attitude
  2. Ambition
  3. Ability

What are the three most challenging things in your role?

  1. Making the time to get everything done.
  2. Trying to get the politicians and regulators to create a truly level competitive playing field in UK banking.
  3. Trying to work out where the UK economy is going and then positioning our strategy and risk appetites accordingly.

Tell us about the next big thing in your sector.

High St banking is likely to fundamentally change over the next decade, especially if the likes of Apple, Amazon, Facebook etc come into the payments market. This creates major threats to the dominant incumbent banks and potential opportunities for smaller, more agile internet based banks like Secure Trust Bank PLC.

Gender Diversity

Are you involved in programmes or initiatives that support gender balance?

STB has specific initiatives to support the development of our broad diversity agenda which by definition supports the development of women in the workforce.

What is the biggest and most pressing issue for women in business today?

Maximising the opportunities available.

What value do you believe gender diversity brings to the workplace?

I have a daughter and a son. I treat them both equally and value their opinions equally. It stands to reason that all other things being equal it is better to have a diverse workforce that reflects the diverse customer basis we serve and the multi-cultural society we live in.

What steps can organisations take to close the gender pay gap?

Ultimately the GPG is a function of the difference in the number of men and women in the more senior and thus higher paid roles in an organisation. Addressing this is going to take a long-term commitment to equip women with the skills to undertake more of the senior roles and obviously to make these opportunities available to women. 

communication

What is the most memorable thing someone has said to you?

When it comes to judging people largely ignore what they say and judge them on how they behave and what they actually do.

What makes a powerful communicator?

Confidence, clarity, candour and humour.

Who would you say was a powerful communicator?

John F Kennedy.

What is the one thing you do to get people to listen to you?

Ask them questions to engage them, confirm their understanding and keep them on their toes.