By Adam Oldfield, Head of sales and account management at Phoebus Software Ltd. 

In December 2019, if someone had predicted that by April 2020 the world would be in lockdown, men in white coats would probably be wheeling them away.

Equally, in December 2020 had you said we could be entering 2022 and still have the spectre of yet another lockdown, again people would be raising their eyebrows.

This continued air of uncertainty remains 100% and as such I am falling short of making many predictions for what the new year might bring.

However, there is one exception that is a constant in our market, and that is our resilience. We continually find ways to rally together, to work with our broader value chains and ensure that we continue to serve our customer bases and nuance the way in which we do it.

Those who have had the most success in this quest have a broader ecosystem of relationships, partners and system providers. This has enabled them to sway with the times and adapt where required but, just as importantly, they have been able to innovate quickly to support new, almost instant requirements.

A perfect example of this was the government’s decision to allow a payment holiday to almost anyone who asked for it!

The impact was felt instantly and left many lenders scampering to consider how they would cater for the tidal wave of requests at the outset. But equally, how they would manage the aftermath of these requests downstream as those holiday periods came to an end.

The fact that many lenders were successful points firmly to their ability, as stated earlier, to work with their partners. Remember, this was carried out almost 100% remotely in order to deliver technological solutions to aid, in the first instance, hugely manual requirements.

As the spectre of yet another lockdown remains a distinct possibility in the new year, I don’t want to appear the doomsayer. We have certainly seen in the latter half of the year market confidence improving, volumes increasing, and innovation and investment in propositions continuing.

With an interest rate increase now confirmed, how long until the next one? What will this mean for the deposits side of the balance sheet? For a long time now with rates being so low, there has been little innovation or appetite for designing savings products.

Equally, with new entrants continuing to enter the specialist mortgage market, what will this added competition do for established lenders as well as the customer/member bases they serve?

I seem to almost every year describe the year to come as, “it’s going to be interesting” and I don’t see 2022 being any different. We’ve seen incumbents enhance their proposition and add further product lines to their offerings. They want to ensure that should the market be challenging for them, due to Covid, macro economics or increased competition, they are well equipped to weather the storm.

For those managing to do this, it is because they have partnerships that support them, irrespective of good times or bad. When we select our partners, don’t be fooled by the shiny button or clever marketing sales message. Good partners truly understand your market and can support you 100% with your own evolution.

Last but not least, have a good Christmas and I wish you a healthy and prosperous new year.