Tell us about what you do here at Allica
There’s no such thing as an average day, that’s why I love this job! Depending on what’s going on, I might be working with a broker, exploring whether we can support their client with asset finance. Or I could be making a case to the credit team on behalf of a broker and their client as they look over an application. Or I could be working with our operations team, helping move an application through to completion.
The one constant here is doing what I can to help brokers find the right solution for their client, and getting it done quickly. They’re the lifeblood of my work – bringing in new clients and helping me understand their funding needs. It’s great because on any given day I could be working with a broker I’ve known for years, or I could be speaking to a new broker, championing Allica Bank and why they should want to join our panel.
How well connected are you to the Midlands and East Anglian business communities?
I’ve lived in the area all my life – I’m a Nottingham boy, born and bred. I’ve been involved in the East Midlands Chamber of Commerce and Generation Next for years, and regularly meet up with my network of solicitors and accountants. At least, I did before Covid hit.
I’ve lost count of the number of local businesses I’ve been lucky to help fund over the years. Everything from car hire fleets to medical packaging firms. I helped provide plant machinery for HS2 and the equipment that built the Aberdeen Bypass and Merseyside Gateway.
What is it you enjoy about working with SMEs?
The best thing about it is providing tailored support directly with key decision-makers, who are often the business owners. Over time, you see how your funding has helped shape and support their future. I love how we’re on a journey together, helping them get closer to their end goal. And of course, if their company succeeds, it benefits the local community.
I also love that we’re dealing with real people. I was on my way to a construction site the other day when a broker asked me to visit their customer. Before I left, the owner called me himself to make sure I didn’t wear a suit as he didn’t want it to get muddy!
How important are the broker community?
They’re absolutely critical. They allow a new bank like us to scale fast and offer funding to companies up and down the country. Brokers offer us a degree of security, because they are experts on the business finance landscape, so won’t typically bring us deals that aren’t right. They allow us to grow our book in a safe, sustainable way.
More importantly, they offer an essential service to SMEs. They’re able to spend time with the customer, understand their business and offer funding options that serve their unique needs.
What made you decide to join Allica Bank?
There were two reasons. First, I knew Richard Cameron and Brandon Hall from our time together at Lombard Asset Finance. I therefore had a good idea of the kind of people I’d be joining here, and the fact they thought it was a good move gave me a lot of peace of mind.
Second, I’d already helped another bank grow its asset finance proposition from scratch. I loved that experience, but by the end the job it had become a little repetitive. I jumped at the chance to help another new player in the market, this time sharing some learnings and maybe helping accelerate Allica’s growth.
What’s something you’re most proud of?
Thanks to my contacts, I’ve been able to bring a large number of local brokers onto Allica’s panel in a short space of time. That will no doubt help to grow the bank’s book and build relationships with businesses in the Midlands and East Anglia.
I was also privileged to have been involved with the single largest asset finance transaction in Allica’s history. This was a civil engineering firm I’ve been helping – we paid out the loan in June.
Tell us more about the team
We each bring a lot of experience to the table, which is fundamental when launching a new product. There are colleagues who used to be brokers, or work in operations, so understand the process.
Though we’re a diverse team, full of different characters, we’re focussed on one common goal. It’s all about getting a deal that works to the benefit of the customer, the broker and the bank.
And we work really well together and get on great too. If anyone’s struggling or needs anything urgently another team member is never more than a phone call away.
How was your experience of joining Allica during lockdown?
It was impressively seamless! A couple of days before my start date, I received my laptop, phone and home office equipment. On day one the IT team called me first thing to get me up and running. I already had a full diary of meetings arranged with team members who wanted to introduce themselves and let me know they were there if I needed them.
Beyond that, it was obviously a bit odd. The team got together for the first time recently and I did a double take as I realised there’s one guy who’s 6’ 4”, another who’s 6’ 6”. They’d all just been faces on a screen up to that point!
Anything you’re looking forward to next year?
Getting out and about and away from video calls will be a great start. I can’t wait to visit my broker colleagues and see them face-to-face. I’m planning a series of networking and social events so we can reconnect in person.
What job did you want to have when you were growing up?
I always wanted to be a pilot. I studied engineering at university and am fascinated with planes.
You’re given a week off and can do whatever you want. What are you doing?
Unsurprisingly – given I wanted to be a pilot – I love to travel. So I’d spend a week travelling around South America. My biggest regret is not making it out to the World Cup in Brazil!
Fancy joining the Allica Bank team? We'd love to hear from you! Check out our careers page to find out how.