Our people | Meet Jonathan Rowland & Gary Wilkinson

28/08/2019 12:00:00
News Our people
Our people are firmly at the heart of everything we do. We understand that when you, our customers, work with us, you want a personal relationship to enable quick decision making and flexible solutions.


Jonathan Rowland, Non-Executive Director and Co-Founder and Gary Wilkinson, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder

Our story started in 2015 when our Co-Founders, Jonathan Rowland and Gary Wilkinson, met and developed a simple but compelling business proposition to build a brand new flexible and personable British business bank. This is why we’ve taken some time out to speak to both Jonathan and Gary; the Co-Founders with a shared vision, who came together to successfully launch and then grow Redwood Bank.

What gets you out of bed in the morning?

Gary: Being based in the Redwood Head Office, the anticipation and excitement of what the day at Redwood will bring is what gets me out of bed. Each day is different. If I wasn’t doing this, I’d be very bored!

What has been your proudest achievement with Redwood to date?


Jonathan: Obtaining our Banking Licence (restricted) in April 2017.
Gary: Agreed! And we then subsequently completed a “Mobilisation” phase, resulting in the banking licence’s restrictions being removed in August 2017. We then proudly opened our doors for business.

Tell us more about the first two years of Redwood Bank and how you see it developing in the future.

Jonathan: It’s been a fantastic two years. We’ve had great feedback from customers in that time, and the two things that come up the most are the importance of speed of execution and demonstrating a thorough understanding of the customers’ needs. They will be two things we will keep focusing on as we grow. In the same way as for the last two years, we will keep building the business, putting the customer first and not taking unnecessary risks.
Gary: I am very proud of Redwood and all that we have achieved to date. Our customers really do value the close, personal relationship with the Bank. Looking to the future, we will work hard to build on the solid base we have now established and will continue to develop and grow in a controlled, measured and careful manner.

What advice would you give to someone starting a career in banking?

Jonathan: Look at the future of banking, don’t reference the past. Open banking will change how banks operate and offer products and services to customers – that’s an area people looking to get into the industry need to be aware of.

What should we watch out for in the wider industry in the next two years?

Gary: Maybe nothing that hasn’t been said very often recently - but the impact of Brexit on the economy and the banking market generally. There is likely to be fewer new challenger banks able to get banking licences than originally anticipated, so the landscape and the competition in the industry will be different to how was previously imagined. We need to make sure we are never complacent and to always expect the unexpected.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

Jonathan: The best piece of advice is ‘never give up’. If you believe in something you will find a way to make it happen. We believed in Redwood and receiving our banking licence in 2017 remains my proudest achievement to date, it made all the hard work worthwhile.

Tell us something about you we don’t know?

Jonathan: If I wasn’t doing this, I always wanted to own a Starbucks franchise or a book shop so maybe that would be my role in life.

Gary: In 1986 I won a “Magic Mexico” competition by buying a pair of jeans from Top Man and got to see a World Cup Semi Final and Final in Mexico. I was lucky enough to see Diego Maradona and Argentina lift the World Cup! As one of the very few Oldham Athletic fans that exist, it was an incredible experience.

And finally, who are your ultimate dinner party guests?

Jonathan: Steve Jobs, Winston Churchill and my father.

Gary: Muhammad Ali, Nelson Mandela and Winston Churchill.