At Redwood Bank, our people are firmly at the heart of everything we do. We understand that when you, our customers, work with us, you want and expect a personal relationship to enable quick decision making and flexible solutions. This is why we’ve taken some time out to speak to the people that power Redwood Bank.
Louise Jackson, Head of Portfolio Management
Most people who work with Louise will attest to her upbeat and positive outlook on life. She starts her day early so she can fit in her workout routine and then heads off to work, full of energy and ambition. Redwood’s Head of Portfolio Management talks us through her career highs and… highs.
What gets you out of bed in the morning?
My alarm clock. I like to exercise and meditate first thing in the morning, as it sets me up for a busy day. I get up around 5.30am so that I can fit both into my daily schedule.
As Head of Portfolio Management, what does your job involve?
I’m responsible for what happens lending-wise on a customer’s account once the Credit Operations team have drawn down the loan. That could range from undertaking an initial file check, to annual reviews and general loan account servicing, and to dealing with any customers who are in the difficult position of being unable to meet their loan repayments.
How long have you been in the job?
I joined Redwood in August 2019 as Head of Credit and earlier this year moved over to Portfolio Management. My key objective within this role was to lead, grow and develop a team that provides comprehensive support for our lending customers.
What did you do prior to this?
Apart from a short stint in Retail Management back in 1997, I’ve worked in banking for my entire career and have been lucky enough to see different aspects of the industry at different sizes of institutions. Immediately before joining Redwood I worked for one of the big four banks, and I can definitely confirm that working in a smaller, nimbler bank is better.
What are the main aims and objectives of the Portfolio Management team?
My team falls into two distinct halves, one half deals with our customers who are in a good place from a payments point of view and who deals with ongoing customer relationships, and the other half is the team that steps in to help when things don’t go quite to plan.
Our main aim at all times, is to work in the best interests of the customer and the Bank and react quickly to the customer’s needs.
If you were not doing this what would you be doing instead?
There are so many things I’d like to be doing but I think I’ll always be looking to use my knowledge, built up over the years, to help businesses thrive.
When I first started out, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do, apart from journalism. I was lucky enough to try it and be able to say that career just wasn’t for me. I already had held a job in banking before I had this opportunity, so I went back to it and started to take it more seriously.
What’s the best part of your job?
It’s a cliché I know, but having the satisfaction of a job well done, is the best part for me, but I can only say that because I’ve got a great team behind me.
What has been your proudest achievement with Redwood to date?
It’s been such a whirlwind of activity this year that it’s hard to pick anything out but there are two things. The first one was the call from Gary, our CEO, asking me if I would take the Portfolio Management job, which meant that things had gone well so far. Secondly, when we started to build up the team on a permanent basis, it was the sheer level of interest from my colleagues within the Bank who were interested in joining the department, which was a massive bonus.
How do you see Redwood evolving in the next two years?
I think we will go from strength to strength as we’ve grown despite all the issues of COVID-19 and Brexit in the background. We’ll add new products and build new partnerships and it will continue to be a great place to work.
What keeps you up at night/anything on your mind?
It’s the "what happens next" thought. It’s been a tough economic ride this year and I think that’s only likely to get worse into 2021 as the furlough scheme comes to an end.
However, no one knows what the future holds, which I guess is also what makes life so exciting. I can see there will be some fundamental changes to the UK economy which we’ll need to anticipate and react to as quickly as we can, but we will embrace both the challenges and finding the solutions to overcome them.
What three people, dead or alive, would you invite to your ultimate dinner party?
That’s a tough one! I’d obviously want to have one more chance to have dinner with special family members who are no longer here, but I’d also like to get three inspirational women round the table so maybe Golda Meir, Margaret Thatcher and Tanni Grey-Thompson.