Welcome to this week’s Sponsor Spotlight. In this edition we’re learning more about Together, and we caught up with Andrew Charnley for a chat.
If you could sum up your business in a tweet (280 characters), what would you say?
We’re a leading specialist lender, and have provided finance to personal and commercial borrowers for over 45 years. Our range of products includes bridging loans, property auction finance, secured homeowner loans, and residential, buy-to-let, and commercial mortgages.
Who’s your favourite Sharks player, past and present, and why?
Past is easily Jason Robinson. I used to play a lot of rugby league so I appreciate how he made the leap across codes, representing England and the Lions. And despite all his success, he remains incredibly humble. Amazing player!
Present…other than Faf – he’s our sponsored player and for good reason! But honestly, Tom Curry. I love how excited he was to be back on the pitch with his Sharks team-mates recently. He really leads by example and has the potential to be one of the best in the world for years to come. He must be a shoo-in for the Lions’ tour.
How did you end up in the finance industry, and can you describe your current role?
I’ve worked in finance ever since I left uni, which was… let’s say more than 25 years ago. Together was a business I knew about in the wider market plus I knew some of the key people through my time working in the industry. I joined the business in Nov 2018 and the rest is history!
I’m about to start in a new role with Together, as Director of Credit for our Commercial Finance business. This means I’m for responsible for ensuring the quality of our new lending, protecting our business from un-necessary risks and helping manage important relationships with our existing customers and introducers.
What’s your top sporting memory?
There are countless, but I will go with the one that always makes me smile…….the Lions’ tour of South Africa in 1997. Beating the Springboks on home turf for the first time in years… Jeremy Guscott’s drop goal for the lead in the second test that won the tour… magic.
What gets you out of bed in the morning?
Other than my two young dogs? I’d sum it up as ‘opportunity’; I love waking up knowing that good things will happen, for both Together and the people we help.
Naturally this means helping new borrowers to achieve their goals, but much of my role also involves supporting existing customers and our colleagues alike. The pandemic has meant this has been a full on task over the past year and I am hugely proud of all we have achieved as a team.
Tell us about your team at your business. How many people work there?
Currently, we have over 550 colleagues in the business but we’re recruiting and always on the look out for new talent! Most of them are based at our headquarters in Cheadle, but we also have some field-based colleagues out on the road.
Everyone is committed to helping us do what we do best: secured lending against commercial and residential property. Whether you’re a landlord adding to your buy-to-let portfolio, or a self-employed person trying to get onto the property ladder – if you find you’re being let down by the big names and high street lenders, we are happy to listen and see if we can support you
How do you measure success as a team?
We have five key objectives as a business. Firstly, we look at how we’re supporting our existing customers – are we helping them to achieve their ambitions? Are we making things less stressful for them? How can we help ensure they’re on a strong financial footing?
Secondly, we have a keen focus on the quality of our new lending. Thirdly, we look at whether we’re meeting our regulatory requirements. Are we treating customers fairly? Are we ensuring they get sound financial advice? Are we giving them all the information they need?
Next, we’re on a long journey of transforming our business by investing in innovative technology and modernising our systems and processes. This was something we’d already started and mapped out before the pandemic, and the last year has put turbochargers on our plans.
Lastly, are we doing right by our colleagues? Are they happy? Are they developing new skills? Are they able to bring their whole self to work? As you can imagine, this is something that’s taken on additional importance in the last year.
What attracted you most to partnering with Sale Sharks?
Putting my ‘marketing’ hat on, the Sharks are a prominent local business with a national reach and influence – partnering with Sharks helps us to showcase our brand to a huge audience.
But having partnered with Sharks for some time now, there are some real synergies between us and the organisation – our values, our ambition & our community focus. We have these things in common…..and of course the combined enjoyment of the rugby and socialising!
When we get back to watching games again, what will be your drink of choice?
Hopefully it’ll be sooner rather than later, so probably a non-alcoholic beer as I’m doing a “Dry 2021 challenge” to raise money and awareness for Dementia UK and the MND Association. I was inspired in part by Kevin Sinfield’s seven marathons in seven days to fundraise following Rob Burrows’s motor neurone disease diagnosis. Rob was one of the best half-backs I have ever seen play the game and one of the nicest people you could ever meet.
Dementia is a topic close to my heart after I lost my Dad to it in 2017. I felt now was the time to take on some kind of ‘wellbeing’ challenge in support of the fight against this terrible disease. So far, I’ve raised about £1,400 towards my original goal of £2,000.
My drink of choice when that magic moment arrives on 1st Jan 2022 will be a cold Guinness!
And finally, if you had one piece of advice for someone starting out in your sector, what would it be?
Work hard, grasp opportunities, listen and treat everyone with respect.