Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking has strengthened its support for the north east real estate sector with the appointment of a new head of property for the region.

Paul Varley will lead one of Lloyds Bank’s largest regional real estate teams and has considerable experience in the commercial banking sector, having been with the group for nearly 30 years.

His will lead a team of relationship directors, who are based across the region, in developing fresh opportunities to support clients in buying, refinancing and developing commercial and residential investment properties.

Paul said: “The real estate sector is integral to the north east economy and Lloyds Bank has a dedicated team of experienced relationship directors who are committed to supporting firms with the kind of specialised expertise and tailored finance they need to grow.

“We invest time in understanding our clients’ business and commit to building strong relationships that are focused on helping them achieve their ambitions.

“I’m confident that my experience will enable me to lead the team to build on its success and continue supporting new and existing clients in making the most of the opportunities they face.”

To further support the real estate sector, Lloyds Banking Group and the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) have recently launched a professional training and assessment programme.

The bank is the first organisation to put 120 employees through the RICS certification where trainees will develop their understanding of the real estate market as well as support the nation’s housebuilders, developers and housing associations to navigate often complex issues.

On Paul’s appointment, Leigh Taylor, regional director, SME banking in the north east, said: “This latest appointment will serve to strengthen our north east team and add depth to our real estate expertise.

“With the real estate sector being a significant contributor to the north east economy, Paul and his team will play a pivotal role in supporting our real estate clients across the region, providing the kind of specialist expertise they need to achieve their long-term growth plans.”

As part of Lloyds Bank’s Helping Britain Prosper plan, the government has matched a £50 million investment from the bank to create the £100 million Housing Growth Partnership.

The Housing Growth Partnership scheme is a dedicated joint venture between the Government and Lloyds Banking Group which invests between £500,000 and £5 million in housing developments alongside smaller builders.

The scheme was put in place to help address housing affordability by providing support to the regional residential development community to increase the number of new homes built in the UK.