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“2020 was relentless. But it gave us time to think.”

Despite the challenges we faced last year, the pandemic and its impact on our industry provided a chance to review working practices and implement much-needed innovation, according to leaders across the mortgage market.

In the latest Growth Series podcast, Jane Benjamin from Sesame Bankhall Group, Danny Belton at L&G Mortgage Club, Martin Reynolds of SimplyBiz and Seb Murphy at JLM Mortgages shared what they had learned about themselves over the last 12 months and what they were most looking forward to in 2021.

Everyone admitted to having to overcome personal hurdles, such as home schooling and being separated from family and friends, but all were in agreement that the industry had pulled together in an impressive show of solidarity and that huge steps forward had been made to improve productivity, technology and processes including streamlining the identification and verification of applicants.

Seb Murphy said:

I think we can all agree that our industry has been lagging behind for the past 10 years, so the fact we’ve seen such a big step forward is great. We need to keep adopting technology to make the customer journey much better and make brokers more efficient. It will be a really exciting place to be and if you’re keen to embrace it, you’re going to do well.

The guests were also optimistic about business in 2021 with Jane Benjamin and Martin Reynolds specifically calling out the value of advice in a year which will see more customers find themselves with complex financial situations. Martin commented: "Advice is key. We need to be proud of what we do." Jane added: "There’s a huge product transfer opportunity of £250billion next year. How can we all help them (customers) to find us (advisers)?"

Whilst Danny Belton had enjoyed the flexibility of working from home and the improved work-life balance it had allowed, he acknowledged that as a ‘”relationship business” a return to face-to-face meetings would be welcome for certain projects and partnerships. Seb Murphy highlighted how much he has missed the office environment and how "important it is to have people you respect and trust around you and how important it is to look after the people you work with."

Iain Cunningham, Accord Mortgages corporate account manager, who hosted the podcast said:

Regardless of your circumstances, the last 10 months have had a huge impact on all of us, so it was a privilege to hear everyone’s personal journey and what coping mechanisms they have employed.

As Jane commented, 2020 was relentless. But it did give us time to think, a chance to reset and re-evaluate what’s important to us, both professionally and personally which can only benefit us longer term. I also think there is a real sense of achievement at what has been delivered during these exceptional times. And, whilst uncertainty looks set to continue for the first half of this year at least, we should all take reassurance and comfort that as an industry we are resilient, innovative and are there for each other to deal with whatever 2021 may hold.

To listen to this podcast click here .

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