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Senior mortgage industry successors will be marker of diversity progress – DIFF podcast

  • 10/01/2022
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Senior mortgage industry successors will be marker of diversity progress – DIFF podcast
The people who replace senior figures in the mortgage industry once they retire will verify how much progress has been made with diversity, Roland McCormack, mortgage distribution director at TSB has suggested.


Speaking on the Diversity and Inclusion Finance Forum (DIFF) podcast, McCormack said: “I guess the next five years are going to be key because we’re going to see a number of people of a certain age who are in senior positions across our industry retiring.  

“I think we’ll really see what changes have been embedded by how the leadership positions across the industry look after that happens. But I’m relatively optimistic if I think of who’s likely to replace me, then I think we’ll see diversity.” 

McCormack said a shift in the industry had already taken place across the rest of the employee chain and this was driven by the success and openness of the sector. 

He added: “It’s transformed from when I first started at the Bank of Ireland in 1994. It [the mortgage industry] was white, it was male, it was middle aged and basically it was all about whether you could play golf.”  

McCormack said part of the change had been “driven by the prosperity that the industry has experienced over the last 10 or 15 years.”  

“It’s a place where people with a good work ethic or the right attitude can get on, can make a decent living and they don’t necessarily have to have gone to university or have a certain amount of qualifications other than CeMAP. From that perspective, it’s very welcoming,” he added. 


Creating opportunities 

Recalling how a trainee position was created for McCormack when he unsuccessfully interviewed for a role at the Bank of Ireland, he said he now looked for people who did not fit the norm. 

“Anyone who comes into our intermediary business, I have half an hour with them. That’s partly to introduce them and explain our culture and how we do things, but more importantly it’s that first chance to start identifying talent.  

“If I look at my direct reports that I have today, three of the seven, I first got to know through that process and each time there was something about them that stood out.” 

He said it was important for people like him who had been given opportunities to extend that to others. 

Dev Malle, chief business development officer at Simplify, agreed and said it would almost be rude of him not to give others a similar chance that was given to him. 

Malle started his career at Nationwide as part of a graduate trainee scheme in 1990. He first worked at a cashier then worked with intermediaries in a selling role. He later moved onto the mutual’s specialist lending arm. 


Going the extra mile 

McCormack said for anyone coming from a “challenged background”, it was important to work hard and stand out. 

While working at Bank of Ireland, McCormack covered the south of England region while being based in Reading. This meant he often made journeys of over 100 miles to places like Norwich to fulfil his duties. 

“I would say to people listening thinking about how they can forge their careers is one of the hardest things to do especially in today’s world is to get noticed.  

“One of the ways you get noticed is by putting the effort in. I know there is dialogue at the moment about work life balance, but I do think for those of us who have come from maybe a more challenged background we do have to work harder.” 

Malle said he also saw this in the early days of his career, when his colleagues would complain about working as cashiers even though they had degrees at decent universities. 

Malle he focused on putting his head down and working and said his response to his colleagues at the time was just to “get on with it”. 


Listen to the podcast [29:53] below.

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