The Covid-19 pandemic has been an unprecedented time for many. Despite this, and that many businesses are struggling to get by, the fintech industry has proved itself to be particularly resilient this year, taking advantage of the opportunity to grow and prove itself as a vital sector. In light of this, The Fintech Power50 has conducted a survey of its members earlier in the year asking how their business was fairing during the pandemic to help support a community sentiment.
OakNorth is the next-generation credit platform that is redefining lending to lower mid-market businesses ($1-$25m loan size) globally. They provide data and technology-driven solutions to borrowers and lenders, enabling faster and smarter decision making across the loan lifecycle. Here Rishi Khosla, co-founder and CEO tells the Power50 about their 2020 experience.
What was the main challenge as a result of the pandemic for your company, and how did you work to overcome this?
As a fully cloud-hosted business, it was very easy for us to switch to remote working. We have colleagues all over the world, so are used to doing zoom calls and not necessarily meeting one another in person. However, for new joiners, the onboarding experience is obviously very different as we’re having to conduct interviews, assessments and welcome new joiners virtually, which is never as impactful as if you’re doing it in person. This will continue to be a challenge as long as we’re working remotely, but we continue learn and improve the process week by week. Ensuring that new joiners are able to attend virtual social events is very important as this gives them the opportunity to meet members of the team.
What measures have you put in place to ensure the safety of your staff?
Currently, our global team is working remotely. In markets where lockdown restrictions have eased, we are giving members of the team the option to return to the office if they wish, but are following the government guidelines in regards to number of people per floor, mask-wearing, hand sanitiser, social distancing, and deep cleaning of office space. We continue to monitor the situation daily, so will make changes as and when necessary.
What was your main focus when navigating through these uncertain times?
In the UK, our main focus was to ensure we could continue supporting growth businesses through this extremely difficult time, either directly or through Government funding schemes such as CBILS and CLBILS. Since March, we’ve held around 200 Credit Committees, approving around £150m in new loans every month, including c.£230m of CBILS and CLBILS loans.
Outside of the UK, our focus has been on supporting bank partners around the world with managing their portfolio risk resulting from Covid-19. We have been particularly focused on the US market, announcing partnerships with small banks (sub-$5bn of assets) up to some of the top-10 largest institutions in the country.
What are your plans moving forward to ensure a successful operation as the pandemic continues?
Given that we have now been in this situation for several months, we have learned what practices / processes work well and which ones need improving. We will continue to develop these as time goes on to ensure that we remain productive, motivated and positive!
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