Hunters chairman Kevin Hollinrake reveals how firm was brought to its knees by toxic bank loan

Estate agent turned MP Kevin Hollinrake is launching a bid for one of the most powerful jobs in Parliament – to be chair of the Treasury Select Committee.

Hollinrake, chairman of Hunters, has revealed that he knows how it feels to face ruin at the hands of a bank.

He said that Hunters struggled to stay afloat during the recession, and believes it was mis-sold an expensive loan.

Hollinrake is now seeking compensation from Yorkshire Bank owner CYBG.

Speaking to the Mail on Sunday, Hollinrake said that at the height of the financial crisis he and his family were facing ruin and Hunters was on the brink of collapse.

He, his brother Keith and John Waterhouse founded Hunters which was outstandingly successful until it was hit hard – as so many agents were – by the financial crisis.

The company has of course since then rebounded and prospered, floating on the stock market and with a franchising model which has boosted its expansion nationally.

However, at the time, Hollinrake, his wife and their four children were forced to sell their car and house, and move into rental accommodation. He also took a “massive” cut in salary and “had to work all the hours God sent us to get through it”.

As Hunters struggled to stay afloat the interest rates on a loan from Yorkshire Bank were ramped up, Hollinrake told the Mail.

He said if they failed by their own hand, most businesspeople could live with that: “These things happen – economies are cyclical.

“I think it’s entire different when it happens at the hands of a bank you trust and expect will definitely want to make sure the business is being run well but would also be supportive and patient.

“And that’s what we didn’t see.”

Hollinrake spoke movingly about the stress endured at the time: “It’s not just your livelihood, your life – it’s about your family. It’s about your self-esteem. It’s about your standing in the local community.”

In June, Hollinrake was embroiled in a row when reports suggested he was under pressure to quit a group that is setting up a new service, the Dispute Resolution Scheme, to help small businesses win compensation from their banks.

The suggestion, dismissed by Hollinrake, was that there was a conflict of interest because of Hunters’ legal claim against CYBG.

If Hollinrake does succeed Nicky Morgan as chair of the Treasury Select Committee, he says he will ruffle the feathers of senior bankers and fight for those who have been “screwed” by their banks.

Hollinrake has been Tory MP for Thirsk and Malton in North Yorkshire since 2015.

Homesearch EOS

Email the story to a friend


  1. JonnyBanana43

    Problem is, whilst Kevin’s plight sounds genuinely out of his control, many other agents “cash flow” problems were self inflicted.  In 2007 many independent agents in York lived in Manor Houses or Halls and drove new Range Rovers or Maseratis.. No money was set aside for a rainy day and the pre-packs and bankruptcies hit the York agents hard.

    Having said that, the banks need to be held to account and someone who has run their own successful business, with the ups and downs that come with that, is the best man for the job!



  2. jeremy1960

    Yet it was okay for him to roll over play dead and support a government intent on ruining letting agents and landlords with more and more costly legislation and the ridiculous tenant fee ban?!

  3. LordElpus56

    I can back up Kevin Hollinrake 100%.
    This is not just about expensive loans. This is also about unfair break costs and the early withdrawal of those loans, meaning companies didn’t have the cash to trade.
    What he is talking about claimed thousands of UK businesses, and there are currently 2000 claimants going through a class action against CYBG, (and National Australia Bank who used to own then, then beat a hasty retreat from the UK when the sh*t hit the fan)

  4. RosBeck73

    Landlords and letting agents and anyone who cares about the housing sector should be hoping Kevin Hollinrake gets this position, not least because he is opposed to Section 24 which is currently wreaking havoc. He is also opposed to the scrapping of Section 21 and although the Treasury Select Committee’s remit doesn’t include this, it will put him in a more powerful position to be a voice against the insane attack on our sector.

    1. seenitall


      Anyone with a business background and who has actually worked in property has to be good and much better then they current sops we have had.

      in fact all MP’s should have held a proper job in the past would be a start.

  5. smile please

    I still struggle with businesses taking out loans to fund their business.


    I have lived by the rule, you cant afford it, don’t buy it. I always try and have 1 years working capital in the account and that is how i budget. If i want a new member of staff can i pay their wages (basic salary) for 12 months if i do not sell another property in that time.


    This is why i like a tighter market, greedy owners who take everything out of the business not putting money aside for a rainy day look to blame others.





    1. Hillofwad71

      Yes and pity the poor franchisees  at Ewemove who borrowed the £20k still struggling today ,deficts and annual creditors  increasing.
      Ignoring the ones  already that have hit the abbatoir
        I find it incredulous the attitude of Head Shepherd  and some of the  better trading  franchisees who dismiss all this under the  sweeper “Some don’t make it ,that’s business “Tough !!
      Ignoring the fact it reflects badly  on the business as a whole .Uncaring and unhelpful.Distinct lack of mentoring
      Short sighted policy
      Today on the Negotiater  the Head Shepherd  issuing a press release boasting about how well they are doing forgetting of course that  part of the increase in revenue has been fuelled by debts incurred by the franchisees
      Just last week one of the Home Counties franchisees posted her latest accounts who has been there since 2015  who appears to be  just ticking over on Zoopla
                                          2017                                          2018                                                 2019
      DEFICIT                       (20,902)                                        (£28,856)                                   (£42,098)
      CREDITORS 12 mths. 
                                          £11,.739                                     £25,129                                        £37,092   

  6. Property Poke In The Eye

    Having our own on the inside will only help our industry.

    1. PossessionFriendUK39

      or so you would hope ! see Jeremy 1960’s comment above about his lack of support over al of May’s assault on the PRS


You must be logged in to report this comment!

Comments are closed.

Thank you for signing up to our newsletter, we have sent you an email asking you to confirm your subscription. Additionally if you would like to create a free EYE account which allows you to comment on news stories and manage your email subscriptions please enter a password below.