Rising Star: Rebecca Hayes, Family Building Society

Rising Star: Rebecca Hayes, Family Building Society

 

What does your role entail and how long have you been doing it? 

My team and I look after the IT operations for the Family and support for the technology and systems. We deliver all technical change across the business, too.  

  

What attracted you to working in the mortgage sector? 

The Family caught my eye because of its innovative products. In a market that is typically very traditional and a little old fashioned, the Family offers products that allow parents to help their adult children to buy a home with a small deposit and lend to those coming up to and in retirement. 

When I did my homework, and going through the interview process, I found that the Family truly does things differently — in a world in which “computer says no,” is considered the norm.  

I was surprised to find that our underwriting is done manually, which means we are able to help people whose circumstances don’t fit the usual lending criteria. All of our customer service teams are based in our office in Epsom. In a context where many businesses have outsourced to overseas as much as possible, to cut costs, this is refreshing.  

  

What were you doing in the five years before starting here?  

I worked for an insurtech and then joined a property insurance company, as its’ first chief technical officer, where I looked after the full spectrum of IT functions, helped to re-structure the operating model and developed IT strategy.  

  

What personal talent/skill is most valuable in doing your job? 

Supporting and coaching my team. Any business is only as good as its people 

I am very fortunate to be working for an organisation that really values its staff. Many colleagues have been with us for decades. 

  

What personal talent/skill would you most like to improve on? 

Not laughing at inappropriate moments and not rolling my eyes.   

I am trying to get up to speed on the financial accounting side of our business. Our chief financial officer is patiently teaching me the intricacies of capital and liquidity, while I ask endless questions and he tries not to roll his eyes.  

  

How has the pandemic changed the way you approach your job? 

Like a lot of people, it’s made me re-evaluate my work life balance. I still enjoy being in the office and seeing my team, but I also enjoy the flexibility of working from home.  

  

Where do you see yourself in five years’ time? 

Our CEO asked me the same question in one of my interviews and I said: “in his job”. This is rather ambitious, but I certainly hope to stay at the Family for the long term. 

  

If you could go back in time and tell yourself something five years ago, what would it be? 

Don’t forget to take people with you. When you implement any sort of change in a business you must engage people. They need to have a say and feel part of the change, rather than feeling like change is being dictated to them. I learned this the hard way. 

  

What’s been your lockdown coping strategy? 

My Peloton exercise bike. It’s probably the best thing I have ever bought. 

  

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve tackled so far in your career? 

I have never taken a role that wasn’t challenging. That is where you can make the biggest difference and affect real change. It gets me out of bed in the morning. 

  

If you could have one superpower, what would it be? 

conversation I have had many times with my two boys.  

Being able to travel through time would be pretty cool, but then I wonder if I went back in time and tried to undo mistakes that I have made would I still be the same person? Probably not, so I’ll go with my boys and say Hulk strength. 

  

And finally, what’s the strangest question you’ve ever been asked? 

I was once asked in an interview how I would manage a male misogynistic pig. To which I replied: “Why do you employ someone you consider to be a male misogynistic pig?”

I didn’t get the job.