Caroline, what excites you about working for the Society?
Everything! The Society launched an exciting and ambitious 5 year strategy in 2021 that puts our members, communities and colleagues at the heart of everything we do. Through innovating and adopting the use of Robotics we’re able to reduce the time spent on important but manual tasks and increase our capacity for colleagues to provide our members and customers with a personalised service.
I’m excited to be part of a team that is working to deliver further improvements that will keep the Society relevant in an ever changing market. Our resilience and capacity to respond to change will keep us strong for present and future members. We’ve certainly had to do this over the past 2 years as a result of Covid!
The pandemic definitely brought challenges, how did they impact Monmouthshire for Intermediaries?
I’ve seen many highs and lows during my 30 year career in financial services, including the crash of 2008, but last year presented a unique set of challenges. Following a short halt to business the mortgage market was extremely buoyant and with staff working remotely, many for the first time in their careers, it was tough to keep colleagues and brokers connected in every sense of the word! I found it incredible how the whole team rose to the challenge to support each other, our members and our brokers without interruption to service.
What’s your vision for the Business Development team?
Simply put, to continue providing an outstanding service to our broker network.
The intermediary channel is responsible for 85% of the Society’s mortgage business so supporting and growing our broker network is essential if we’re to deliver on our objectives. And we can’t do that alone. Collaborating with colleagues who are specialists in their field will help us understand and improve the customer experience for our brokers, from providing relevant products to delivering an efficient and personalised service.
We’re working as one Society and my vision is to continue this journey so that the Business Development team can support brokers with new and often complex enquiries as well as retaining existing borrowers when their mortgage deals mature.
What would you say to brokers who have never worked with the Society before?
Whether you’re a broker in Wales or England*, we’re here for you. Many brokers assume that because we’re a regional building society we’re restricted to Welsh business only. We’re not. We have a whole range of products that could be right for you and your clients, even if they differ from your typical lender, including self-employed lenders with 2 years accounts and older borrowers up to age 85. If you’re an FCA approved broker I’d say, register with us and begin your journey with the Society.
And finally Caroline, what do you do to chill out?
I took up cold water swimming last November with no wetsuit. It’s completely exhilarating and definitely clears the mind, I’m very ‘chill’ afterwards. At weekends and on holiday I go for long walks to secluded waterfalls or beaches, away from the crowds, to get the true feeling of wild swimming which is great fun! If anyone is thinking of making a splash I’d recommend doing some research before diving in. While its great fun, cold water swimming needs to be respected and understood to be safe. I’m also quite partial to a Netflix binge and absolutely loved The Crown.
Caroline leads the Business Development team at the Monmouthshire Building Society.
*Excludes Scilly Isles, Isle of Man and Channel Islands