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Correspondent&#39s week

The week promised to be an interesting one as Platform was officially launched as the intermediary lending arm of Britannia Building Society. This week would be the culmination of many months of hard work which had seen a huge influx of new business and a recruitment drive in response. I was one of the new recruits, joining Platform in September 2002, from my native home, Down Under in Australia!

Launch day, Monday, saw my colleagues and I dressed in the new corporate colours – green and blue. It also saw me suffering from my first British cold which made for a great start.

The team and I were in early in anticipation of the flood of new business and the inevitable teething problems associated with the launch of a new company. A little celebration of champagne and nibbles in the afternoon was much appreciated and well deserved.

We held the first of our afternoon meetings, where members of the new business teams meet to highlight any new challenges and make sure we are all up to date on any changes.

Overall, the day went smoothly, a testament to the training and overall effort of the new business area (and, of course, the champagne helped a little too).

By Tuesday, my cold had progressively worsened, so much so that I felt the need to ring my mum in Australia to give me the surefire cure.

Many more applications received today and so the test of our hard work in developing systems and processes starts here. A few minor problems surface but nothing that our IT department cannot resolve. From early on, it is clear that we are seeing a new type of borrower -a conforming client who is looking to borrow more and from a lender that can be flexible.

I am in the office nice and early on Wednesday for our first cascade deal. One of the unique aspects of Platform is cascade underwriting.

This means that if a client does not fit one product we will find another product within our range which is not only suitable but competitive – and all without the client having to complete another application form.

This also means the client does not have to shop around to find an alternative lender.

After a long chat with the case manager, business development manager and the broker, we were able to get the offer out and save the deal. The system had a slight hiccup but without downtime.

As with all mums around the world, the remedy for the cold has done the trick, so much so, that I was able to take my place in a five-a-side game tonight.

Woke up on Thursday pleased with our football win – I even scored although it was disallowed (something about being Australian).

Thursday saw me on my way to Birmingham with some colleagues for a roadshow. These events were organised across the country as opportunities for new business and sales teams to work together in promoting Platform, its products and services. The salespeople were able to discuss the new products and people like myself were on hand to explain the cascade process and highlight the exceptional standards of service that our clients can expect.

The roadshow evening featured a fun casino followed by an auction where bidding was interesting to say the least.

I had a slower start on Friday than usual (due to my cold). The trip back was spent on the phone talking to packagers and brokers about what we could do to assist them – never off duty. Back in London, the team had a higher volume of deals in, including some buy-to-let business, which was one of the new products launched.

The afternoon saw our usual meeting before adjourning to the local pub for our weekly update.

Paul Bishop is team leader at Platform


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