An executive with a wealth of experience has been appointed to a newly created senior role in a recent restructure at a North-East building society.

Sarah Horley is to become Darlington Building Society’s first Credit Director, moving from her current role as Director of Service Excellence.

The new role has been introduced to give greater focus and stronger leadership to the area of credit risk at a time of national economic uncertainty resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Sarah started her career on a Youth Training Scheme with Darlington Borough Council, working in the rates department, before joining Darlington Building Society 24 years ago as an internal auditor.

After being placed on a management trainee programme with the Society, she took on her first management position as an Assistant Mortgage Manager and has gone on to fill a range of senior roles.

Sarah, who was born in York but has lived in Darlington since she was eight, said: “I have been so lucky to grow with the Society, gaining experience in a number of areas of the business. I love to take on new challenges and this is another exciting opportunity.

“I’m proud to be asked to take on such an important new role, and I’m looking forward to developing a team to help the Society manage risk during these difficult times, and to support members by building on the strong safeguards that are already in place.”

The day to day management of credit had previously been spread across a number of teams, but the decision was taken to co-ordinate it through the creation of a new, focussed leadership role.

As well as overseeing credit risk, Sarah will retain responsibility for lending policy, underwriting, mortgage processing, and financial support. In addition, she will assume responsibility for the commercial portfolio and the Society’s subsidiary Darlington Homes Ltd.

Sarah’s existing responsibilities in Service Excellence and Operations will move to Chris Hunter in his role as Chief Operating Officer.

The Society’s Chief Executive, Andrew Craddock, said: “In the light of the increased financial challenges facing people as a result of Covid-19, and the ongoing mortgage deferrals work we are doing, it has become more important to apply additional focus and strong leadership in these areas.

“Sarah is a shining example of the Society’s strategy of growing its own talent, and she brings a huge breadth of experience to this important new role.”