My slice of lockdown life – but no baking banana bread please!
We talk to Heather Pollard our head of credit policy, risk and underwriting about her experiences working from home, business as (un)usual at Tower Street Finance and why she’s got better things to do than bake banana bread…
How are you finding lockdown part 3?
I’m back home schooling a six-year-old – which, as most parents will know, is perhaps the most challenging part of this latest lockdown.
When I was at school and considering what I was going to be when I grew up I did once think about becoming a teacher. Now, after lockdown, I’m really pleased I went into financial services instead!
But from a service point of view it’s very much business as usual at Tower Street Finance. The business was set up in a way that means the team can work remotely without any down time. There has been no disruption to our services levels and customers and partners haven’t been impacted at all.
All the documentation we need can be processed digitally, administrators are working from home too, and for those customers who still prefer hard copies in the post it’s not a problem to post them.
And we’ve been busy. My days are full. We’re seeing a lot of interest from customers, especially for our Inheritance Advance product.
Have you noticed any customer trends during the lockdowns?
We’ve had number of customers who want to use Inheritance Advance to pay for home improvements, but aside from that not really. There really isn’t a typical customer.
We have seen increased interest in our latest product, our Inheritance Tax Loan, which helps executors (or personal representatives if there’s no will) with estates where there is an IHT liability but no funds to pay it so the legal process is being held up.
But that’s less about lockdown and more about it being such a unique product that’s entirely new to the market.
You’re a tight knit team, how has it been working remotely?
I’ve known some of the team for over 10 years so we know how one another likes to work and we have a fair amount of banter – whether that’s in the office or working remotely.
Work has been great at providing support, from just checking in to make sure we’re ok to offering flexible working that fits around the challenges of home schooling – and whatever else lockdown has thrown at us.
What’s great about working at Tower Street Finance is that there is mutual respect. We’re all trusted to do our jobs well, but the business also takes into consideration that we all have lives and sometimes that means our working days need to be flexible.
Working from home was new to me before lockdown and although it took a while to adjust, when the schools reopened, I started to enjoy it.
I found that although I still had the same amount of work, if not more to be honest, I made time for a bit more balance. I went running, did online workouts from the gym and the time I would ordinarily spend commuting to work I went on dog walks with my lovely Flo.
I will not be baking banana bread any time soon though. I know lots of people have learnt a new skill during lockdown, but I think just getting through it is more than enough for me.