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    What a difference a day makes – or should I say 100 days make

    Louisa Sedgwick - Managing Director Mortgages

     

    When I was asked to take on the role of Managing Director – Mortgages, I was absolutely ecstatic.

    I was excited to see what the immediate future held and how we could drive forward new and improved solutions for our intermediary partners and their customers. After a buoyant even record breaking first 2 months, the world literally changed beyond recognition and my excitement needed a change of direction, fast!.

    So what have I learned in my first 100 days? ………Be quick to adapt to change!

    We had started 2020 in an excellent position, with an amazing first two months in terms of lending, our internal projects well underway and we had a fresh vision from our new CEO Anth Mooney. However, it soon became apparent that my focus needed to change PDQ!

    It’s all about liquidity

    I used to think it was all about margin and that the race to the bottom wasn’t always the best one to win, in particular when it came to pricing specialist mortgage products. Little did I know that a downturn in the global economy could have such a catastrophic effect on wholesale non-bank funding and their ability to lend.  Non-banks like Vida rely on the securitisation market, and the timing of a Securitisation couldn’t be more key.

    In a matter of days, the Sales & Marketing team found themselves doing a complete u-turn in terms of their usual day to day focus. The amazing Sales team for example, went from going out visiting intermediaries and promoting new applications, to working with brokers to manage existing cases rather than placing business, quite a transition in such a short space of time. 

    The Product Team had to quickly pull the Vida product range from sale, and the Marketing team had to immediately start thinking about how we manage expectations in terms of communicating such a potentially negative message to the market – especially as we were the first to act, and to start supporting those customers requesting payment holidays. In a matter of days there was simply no visibility of how or when we might be able to offer mortgages to customers. In amongst all this, we also had to adapt very quickly from working alongside each other, to, by now, working full time from home and embracing new technology.

    Bouncebackability

    After what felt like weeks of crisis management (I am always one to exaggerate), the dust settled and as a team and indeed a business it gave us time to reflect on what comes next. The first thing is to protect the business, its customers and our colleagues, so we have to be the right size and have people in the right place, for today and the immediate future. This has meant taking advantage of the Governments Furlough scheme, and all colleagues effected by this have been phenomenal. I have seen some amazing pictures of fabulous gardens, but enviously lots of wine glasses too.

    What I need to concentrate on now, is pretty much back to where I started my new journey three months ago, how can we be the very best at what we do – and so to that end, this is where I will be focusing my next 100 days and beyond……

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