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One 2 One: Maeve Ward, Shawbrook

Brokers as the blood of the business, valuing people but embracing technology, and spending more time with your customers

As managing director of residential mortgages at Shawbrook, what is the biggest challenge you currently face?

The biggest challenge I face is time. Being part of a specialist bank there is always so much going on, always a product to be launched, or a process change to be made or a new piece of technology to be deployed, all with the aim of helping consumers and making their journey as streamlined as possible. It is exciting and exactly how it should be, but just having enough hours in the day is a challenge. It is a lovely problem to have, however, and being innovative is what sets us aside from the rest of the market. I am extremely proud to be the leader of this business and have an incredible team.

How important are mortgage brokers to the success of your business?

Extremely important. They are the blood of the business and without mortgage brokers we wouldn’t be where we are today. We believe that success is a partnership. You can’t have one without the other and this is why brokers are at the heart of our strategy moving forward.

What is the best aspect of your job?

Making a difference. No two days are the same for me and every day presents a new challenge. I love having the flexibility as a specialist bank to assess cases on their individual merits, as this is what sets us aside from the rest. Applying common-sense lending and providing outcomes that might otherwise not be available help customers to realise their dreams. Being part of this is something special.

As a woman working in finance, do you feel there is equality in the sector? Do you feel the number of females working in senior roles has improved?

There has definitely been a sea change. We are not quite there yet but it is more balanced, for sure.

What is the one thing you would like to achieve at Shawbrook over the next year or so?

I would like to deliver on the ambitious growth plans we have set out. This will be achieved through being innovative and entering new markets, all underpinned by the industry experts who work for us and provide an exceptional service.

If you had not chosen this career path, what else would you have liked to do?

I would have liked to be a journalist.

Who is your all-time hero, and why?

David Johnson (the former managing director of secured lending at Shawbrook). He believed in me when others would not.

Do you have any secret talents?

Loads, but some things are best kept secret.

What do you do in your spare time?

I love going out for dinner and having nice wine with the better half, family and friends.

What is the best advice you have received?

Be true to yourself and always follow your gut instinct.

If you were chancellor for a day, what would be your priorities?

Honestly, I am not sure I have the head space.

If you could change one thing about the mortgage market, what would it be?

For technology to be embraced. At Shawbrook we wholeheartedly believe in people and this is why we have a team of excellent underwriters ready to assess each case on its merits. However, there are many technological advances that can only enhance the service provided to customers.

For example, our E-Signature service has dramatically reduced cycle times. In some cases our shortest cycle time from application to binding mortgage offer was just one day, as there was no requirement for consent from the first charge mortgage lender and the criteria allowed an automated valuation decision as opposed to a physical site visit.

In 2018, PSD2 is another exciting development. This new legislation will enhance payment processes and procedures. Brokers should embrace any new developments that enable them to spend more time with their customers.

company profile

Year established: 2011

Headcount: Approximately 650

Address: Lutea House, Warley Hill Business Park, The Drive, Great Warley, Brentwood, Essex CM13 3BE

Tel: 0345 600 7681

Shawbrook is a specialist UK savings and lending bank founded in 2011. We offer savings accounts, personal loans, business finance, commercial and residential mortgages and consumer lending


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