Direct access to over 200 lenders.

Our Experts

At Commercial Expert Ltd we work with you, understanding your plans and objectives, preparing and presenting your requirements in order to source the right commercial finance, or business funding solution for you.

We understand the lenders – their funding criteria and their lending preferences.
This allows us to choose specific commercial lenders suited to your type of business.

Meet the Team

Michael Coates

Managing Director

Mike’s career in business was sparked by his entrepreneurial spirit in childhood when, at the age of 12, he used his first weekly wage of £6.30 from delivering newspapers to buy ingredients to bake cakes and biscuits, which he sold from his front garden.

Mike’s business acumen (and love for fine foods) continued to develop working for the family delicatessen business, which he managed for 4 years. He later went on to set up Chestnut Finance Ltd mortgage brokers in 2004, and a few years later saw a move to commercial lending and the current business was born.

Mike is very keen to ensure the high levels of ethics and values with which he was brought up are reflected in his company’s business practices. He is proud to say that every client receives the same high level of care and service regardless of deal size or case complexity.

As might be expected, Mike has retained his interest in fine food and wine and now looks on cooking and baking as a way to relax on an evening.

Daniel Brown

Senior Business Manager

Dan became AAT qualified in 2005, completed CeMAP the following year and became CECM qualified in 2009. He has completed hundreds of buy to let and commercial mortgages over the years, giving him vast experience in matching client needs with the financial services available.

He excels in using his technical skills and financial expertise, assessing a wide range of propositions, presenting to lenders and seeing through to drawdown.

Dan has an extremely strong client service ethic and works tirelessly on the client’s behalf, exploring every possible option to ensure the best possible outcome is achieved.

A true team player, both in and out of the office, Dan is an accomplished goalkeeper, playing in a Sunday league football team.

Tracey Barnes

Business Manager

Tracey joined Barclays Bank straight from school and spent 18 years in a wide range of roles. Working up from ‘back office’ roles to customer service roles in North-East branches, Tracey then joined the training team and implemented the roll out and training for the first counter terminals in the area. She then moved into Premier banking, followed by small business and finally corporate banking, providing an excellent relationship service for the Bank’s customers; something Tracey is passionate about.

After having her two children, in 2003, Tracey took a career break and decided to embark on a new challenge as a teaching assistant. She became a Higher Level Teaching Assistant and went on to teach primary children of all ages in all subjects. Although it was a job she loved, after 12 years, Tracey felt it was time for a new direction.

Located in Darlington, Tracey enjoys countryside walks with her dog, usually with a local hostelry at the end! Keen to keep fit, Tracey enjoys the gym and dance lessons and, having two daughters, shopping is also a favourite pastime.

Tracey successfully completed her CeMap exams, in May 2018, within 7 months of joining us. Well Done Tracey!!

David Hodgson

Business Manager

David joined Lloyds Bank straight from school in 1977, working his way through various roles and achieving his ambition to be appointed as Branch Manager in Hartlepool in 1987. The same year saw David qualify as an Associate of the Chartered Institute of Bankers (ACIB).

With 32 years of front line banking experience, it is not surprising that David is very approachable and forges excellent relationships with his clients.

David extends the services we offer, making site visits and attending client meetings to allow him to get under the skin of the client’s business and establish the best way to structure deals.

Despite his advancing age, David still manages to don the whites and turn out regularly as a wicket keeper (he doesn’t have to move too much!) for his local cricket team.

Abigail Taylor

Business Administrator

Abigail commenced her financial services career with Abbey National and over her 20 years or so in the industry has gained extensive knowledge of all areas of lending. Abigail has a natural, friendly approach and a very strong customer service ethic.

Her role with Commercial Expert sees her supporting the Senior Business Manager on more complex deals and assisting in driving all business within the office through to satisfactory and timely completion.

Most weekends will find Abigail at the side of a football pitch cheering on her two sons. She is also a keep fit enthusiast, and enjoys running and walking. Any further spare time would see her creating something delicious in the kitchen!

Paul Robinson

Business Manager

Paul has had a varied career path over the years, a large part of which was with the Ministry of Defence. He has also founded and run his own business initially in cleaning services and then accident investigation. More recently, he has undertaken a couple of significant project management roles.

Paul’s ability to reinvent himself and diversify his skills base has now seen him turn to the financial services sector where his communication and influencing experience will hold him in good stead. He is studying for his CeMap qualification and expects to complete this in short order.

In his spare time, Paul enjoys long walks stopping off to pursue his hobby of photography on the way. He is also a keen follower of rugby union from grass roots to internationals.

Bethany White

Administration Assistant

Bethany studied for both her GCSEs and BTEC in Business Studies, for which she was awarded an A grade, before working in several customer facing roles. A longer term role at Rockliffe Hall Hotel followed, before she combined her customer service experience and business qualification by taking a role as an Apprenticeship Business Administrator.

Her proactive nature and desire for progression has led her into the world of finance and the Commercial Expert team.

A compassionate and conscientious worker, Bethany assists all managers and brings her experience to the more stressful parts of the job.

Outside of the office, Bethany enjoys travelling and cleaning – shamelessly part of the Instagram cleaning tips craze!

Mark Whitaker

Advisory Board Member

Mark, a lifelong Banker, joined Yorkshire Bank in 1981 and undertook a wide variety of front line roles including traditional Branch Manager positions in Yorkshire and Oxfordshire. His career culminated in heading up the Bank’s flagship corporate business centre in Leeds. Mark also undertook a range of strategic projects for the parent company, National Australia Bank.

More recently, he headed up Santander’s commercial business centre in West Yorkshire and worked for Begbies Traynor coordinating business development activity and providing Banking advice and support for the benefit of clients of key business introducers.

Mark currently provides advisory services to a number of businesses in Yorkshire and the North East.

He is a keen golfer, playing off a handicap of 18, and shares Mike’s love of good food and wine.

Colin Coates

Accounts & Estate Planning

Colin has spent 40 years of his working life at the sharp end of manufacturing industry. An experienced procurement and materials management professional, he has held senior positions with Samsung, Zanussi and Dana Group.

He opened Samsung’s first manufacturing site in the UK and was responsible for total sourcing of European products and imports from Korea.

Colin is a qualified counsellor and now advises clients on Estate Planning and provides a Will writing service on behalf of Commercial Expert Ltd.

Socially, Colin is a keen guitarist and vocalist in a rock band, he also enjoys quality time with his wife, including his five grandchildren.

He is a dedicated supporter of Commercial Expert Ltd.’s ethics and values.

Rod Dales

Appointed Representative

Rod joins us with extensive experience in Commercial Banking – having been with the RBS Group since 1981.

Joining on the graduate training scheme, he worked through various branch roles, becoming Assistant Manager in 1988. He then moved into Commercial Banking as a Relationship Manager in the mid 1990’s – and over the past 20 years or so has looked after the interests of a vast range of business customers – from the smallest start up, to some very large local concerns.

Throughout that time he has built up a first rate knowledge of business and their financial requirements – together with an unswerving determination to provide the very highest standards of care and customer service – earning a glowing reputation both within the Bank, and also with the wider business community.

Rod is a very keen sportsman – running, gym, golf, and football – and on top of that has also managed to teach himself Greek!

James Gwynne

Appointed Representative

James joined Yorkshire bank straight from college rapidly progressing and undertaking a variety of roles in Retail, Commercial and Corporate banking. In 2006 he took the opportunity to join NatWest as a portfolio manager, looking after around 250 clients.

In 2013 he diversified into general insurance taking up a role as Key Account Manager for NIG, with responsibility for more than £60m annual policy premium. James is now using his in depth understanding of how businesses work to support their funding requirements through his role as appointed representative to Commercial Expert.

He also provides advisory services to a number of businesses throughout Yorkshire.
He is father to two young boys and, when gets time, is a keen golfer and, also a close Formula1 follower.