Your 5 minutes with… the Insolvency Team
Following our first team interview where we spoke to Jenah and the rest of the Customer Relations team, we thought we’d spend 5 minutes with Andrew and Susie, who work on the insolvencies and recoveries of Funding Circle businesses.
A small proportion of businesses will be unable to maintain repayments on their loans and become insolvent so we thought it was important for you to meet some of the people who are dealing with these cases on your behalf.
Andrew is Head of Insolvency and Susie is our Insolvency Administrator. We are growing this team and expect a further two members to join them by the end of the year. Andrew started in the summer and Susie has been with us since November last year.
Day to day activities include:
Checking in on businesses that have fallen behind with repayments, working with borrowers and guarantors to establish a fair payment plan (if required) that protects the interests of investors, notifying investors of the status of late payments, ensuring that agreements with borrowers are in line with our internal policies (which may change from time to time), developing policies and using technology to optimise our activities.
What is your background?
Andrew: I’ve been a qualified solicitor for 9 years now. Initially I studied biology at Oxford, and then took conversion exams to become a solicitor. In my early legal career I worked for a charity, the Government, and the NHS and then in corporate restructuring. As the recession hit, I moved from solvent reorganisations to insolvent reorganisations, Blockbusters and Halliwells to name two.
Susie: I have a completely different background to Andrew, I actually came from a travel agency in London, where I was in customer relations and also worked as their internal auditor.
So why did Funding Circle appeal to you?
Susie: When I joined, there were half the number of people and probably half the number of businesses, but I could see Funding Circle was expanding rapidly so the opportunity for development was there. The company has also been very accommodating to flexible working, so that’s helped a lot.
Andrew: Funding Circle is an incredibly exciting and innovative business. My role at Funding Circle is also quite different to what I have done in the past. Previously, I was a solicitor with clients and now I am business manager with legal knowledge, which can be very helpful. When I instruct lawyers and insolvency practitioners, I know what they’re doing and I also know what to expect.
Why is what you do important for our customers?
Andrew: It’s important for investors to know that we work very hard to maximise recoveries for them, whilst also trying to be fair to businesses and to give them a chance to get back on their feet. We look at the same factors in every case and have the same requirements from businesses, the main requirements being transparency and regular communication. However, every case is unique. From a borrower’s perspective, it’s important for them to know that they are dealing with fair and reasonable individuals who want to work with them to get the best result for all.
Susie: Yes exactly, and each case is different. You’re working for the benefit of both investors and businesses. Whilst we want to secure the maximum recovery for investors, we also want to show empathy towards the borrowers and make the right decision for all parties involved.
There is risk with lending and inevitably a small proportion of businesses will struggle to keep up with their repayments, but what do you consider to be the best outcome if this happens?
Susie: It’s a good result when we have achieved a recovery that works for both parties; the investors get their money back and it is affordable for the borrower.
Andrew: The best outcome is 100% recovery and a surviving business! But other than that, a good outcome will only come from great communication with the borrower. When there’s two-way communication, you can really understand their position which gives us flexibility to find an affordable solution that meets everyone’s needs. Ideally this will also help the individuals carry on running their business, having come out of the financial difficulty they previously saw themselves in.
And what is your favourite thing about working at Funding Circle?
Susie: The buzz in the office; everybody is busy and it’s a great environment to work in. It gets you out of bed in the morning!
Andrew: The way that everyone is committed to not only making their own teams the leaders in their field, but that everyone shares the vision of where this business is going. It is very impressive and not something I’ve come across before in my working life.
And what is the most difficult part of your job?
Andrew: Leaving in the evening! Seriously though, sometimes we have to make very difficult decisions and it’s not easy when you think about the impact those decisions might have on people. Leaving those decisions in the office when I go home is the most difficult part of my job, but fortunately my wife is a good listener.
Susie: Speaking to business owners who have tried everything to turn their business around but are still unable to find the money to meet their repayments.
Yes, that definitely must be tough. On a lighter note, can you tell us an interesting fact about yourself?
Andrew: I was bitten by a seal in the Galapagos Islands. I’d been snorkelling and as I got back into the boat, a seal bit my knee. It didn’t hurt at all, it was a friendly nip!
Susie: As we’re talking about animals, I was stung by a hornet when I was younger and remains as one of my most vivid memories. The hornet was huge!
Ouch! That sounds nasty. And aside from run-ins with various mammals and insects, what other interests do you have?
Susie: I enjoy socialising with my friends, without my kids! I also enjoy running as it gives me time to process my thoughts.
Andrew: Illegal raves in Vauxhall… I wish. I’m quite boring really – I like cooking, reading and hanging out with my wife and two daughters.
From the Galapagos to Vauxhall, very interesting! We’ll finish on this one, do you have a favourite city?
Susie: London, without a doubt. You’re going to say something abstract aren’t you Andrew?
Andrew: St Petersburg! The Hermitage in St Petersburg is awesome, and they have a mini version of St Basil’s Cathedral down a little alleyway, which is very atmospheric.