Back in 2006, when Paul Sheriff had only recently been named group financial director for a midsize banking business based in the United Kingdom, his team noticed that the profit margins of a certain banking product were experiencing a steady decline.
What’s more, the customers being drawn to the product were deemed to be at “higher risk” than the bank’s other customers.
While Sheriff tells us that he helped to put an end to the product’s life, he also wants us to know that the numbers behind the problematic product appeared to be hidden in the bank’s overall financial statements.Read More
“The numbers from the backward-looking book of customers were dwarfing those of new customers such that everything looked okay,” explains Sheriff, who notes that an effort to study the bank’s new customer data separately was what suddenly flagged the troubling trend.
Sheriff relates that once the numbers made clear that the product was not sustainable for the business in the long run, canceling the product ultimately prevented the bank from suffering significant losses when the financial crisis arrived 18 months later.
“The real takeaway for me was to always delve into the details behind the data,” he observes. “The overall position may look good, but there will likely be nuggets that look not so good and signal something else.”
When asked about how he was able to put the brakes on the product line, Sheriff emphasizes the importance of taking people on the journey and building consensus. He advises not to make snap decisions and to allow time for reflection and consensus-building.
Sheriff first began acquiring consensus-building skills early in his career when he managed different teams. He started with a small team of three people and then gradually progressed to managing a team of 300. He emphasizes that the tools and techniques that he developed while managing bigger teams have helped him in his current role as CFO of NewDay.
“Managing upward is a key skill for inspiring confidence at all stages of your career.” –Paul Sheriff, CFO, NewDay
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CFOTL: Tell us about NewDay … what does this company do, and what are its offerings today?
Sheriff: NewDay is a UK consumer credit company that provides products to around 5 million customers with access to credit. Our broader credit offering spans credit cards; installment finance; zero-percent finance; buy now, pay later; and digital revolving credit. We take these to market through a number of direct-to-consumer products and brands and a range of credit programs. We certainly have some of the most popular brands in the UK.
Last year we started taking on the John Lewis program, which folks in the UK will definitely recognize as a large loyalty rewards operation, and we also provide consumer credit services for one of the UK’s largest electrical and appliance retailers, AO.com.Read More
NewDay is very much a digital-first business. Our customer interactions are all predominantly mobile-based, and these are all underpinned by a great deal of digital investment and development and an innovative culture. Over the 7 years or so that I’ve been here, we’ve pretty much tripled any of the measures that you could care to mention.
In summary, we’re an inclusive lender in the UK that is striving to help customers to responsibly make the most of the credit offerings that we give them as the overall credit situation hopefully improves toward some point in the second half of this year.
NewDay | www.newday.co.uk | London