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.