Neil tells us a bit about himself and his role in the business...
Name: Neil Ballam
Role: Head of Underwriting
Length of time with business: Nearly five years
1. Briefly explain your role
I head up a team of six underwriters who deal with Broker introductions in both hard and soft asset sectors. Our role is to engage with our Brokers directly and structure proposals to ensure the best balance of outcomes for our stakeholders and Close Brothers Business Finance. I work closely with our central credit team on larger proposals that sit outside of our local mandate and I’m also responsible, with my head of credit and collections, Rob Richardson, for maintaining bad debt margins within budget and revising local credit policy to reflect ‘lessons learned’.
2. What do you enjoy most about your role?
The wide variety of proposals we receive makes the role very challenging and interesting at the same time. Unlike credit in most other organisations, we get the opportunity to go out and see customers with our Broker Development Managers. It’s always particularly satisfying getting to understand a customer’s business and requirements. Sometimes a proposal looks thin or challenging, or other lenders have no appetite, but when we are able to put together a proposal with a positive outcome, it is the ‘Close Brothers magic’ that differentiates us from our competition.
3. How would you describe your work ethic?
Work smart, lead by example, empower my team to deliver sector leading service levels. But also play just as hard (when the opportunity presents itself).
4. If you could be an animal what would you be and why?
Our cat Fred - he gets fed three times a day, sleeps for 18 hours, is spoilt rotten and as I’m often told by my wife and kids; sits one place above me in the food chain!
5. If you weren’t in work now, what would you be doing?
Probably being a taxi service for my kids by taking them to their various clubs and activities! When I do have some ‘me time’ I like to play Golf (badly), go and watch my beloved ‘Gooners’ (a painful experience of late!) and enjoy ‘escaping’ for a pint with the boys now and then.
6. Which of your colleagues would you like to nominate to feature next in meet the team and why?
Chris Harris, he is one of our most experienced BDMs and understands what it takes to succeed at Close Brothers Business Finance.