Julie-Ann Haines, customer director for Principality Building Society, has been appointed chair of CML Cymru, which represents mortgage lenders and promotes sustainable housing finance in Wales, from today (May 13).

She will succeed Peter Hughes, managing director for Principality Commercial, who had been Cymru chair since 2009.

Julie-Ann said upon her appointment:

“I would like to thank Peter Hughes for his dedication as chair and providing a strong voice for the industry over the past seven years. I am excited to be the first female chair of CML Cymru and look forward to continuing Peter’s hard work, representing the voice of mortgage lenders in Wales.

“It is an important time for the industry with consumer confidence rising and more people having purchased homes in Wales last year than anytime after 2007. The improving economic conditions, aided by government schemes like Help to Buy, have seen first-time buyers be a key driver in this growth, which is most welcome. We will strive to nurture this growth and continue to work hard to help people realise their aspiration of owning a home that is right for them.”

Julie-Ann’s appointment coincides with CML Cymru’s annual lunch in Cardiff where 120 members of the Welsh mortgage market listened to CML director general Paul Smee deliver the keynote address highlighting the strong productive relationship the industry has had working alongside the Welsh government, and hopes for the future of the market under a new UK government.

Paul Smee, director general of the CML, said:

“Wales has been the perfect illustration of how positive engagement and working together can benefit our industry. Lenders alongside the Welsh government have worked hard to improve conditions for borrowers, and with affordability better than the UK average there should be optimism we will see further growth in 2015, and I look forward to working with Julie-Ann in addressing the challenges ahead”.