Fraud, Recessions and Covid–19
No business floats through 21 years of trading without interruption. What are the challenges Reality Finance faced?
With the recession in 2008, a huge number of lenders pulled out of the market – overnight credit lines were pulled and businesses were unable to get access to funds when they needed it the most. It was a horrendous time and we had to work twice as hard to get funding for our customers.
With the smaller pool of funders available we were left with an increase in demand for funding without the banks to accommodate it – so what did we do? We took a deep breath and set up our own funding lines to lend directly to customers on our own book. This was the beginning of becoming a Lender in our own right.
In subsequent years business improved year on year up until we were hit in 2017 by a £400,000 fraud case. That hurt. Unfortunately spotting and preventing fraud is part and parcel of the job for all of us in the finance industry and anyone in the industry will tell you that you will never catch every case. Because of this incident, we have reviewed and strengthened our internal procedures which protect not only Reality as a business but our lending panel, customers, and staff. And, yes, we have spotted potential fraud cases since, stopping them in their tracks.
Oh, and COVID-19….
Like most businesses out there, COVID hit us very hard. Overnight we changed from being primarily an asset finance brokerage to providing CBILS loans and arranging payment holidays for our customers. Trying to keep a business running with everyone working from home was, as it was for everyone, a challenge to begin with. We are very sociable people at Reality Finance, and no one liked being isolated at home! However, with the use of Microsoft Teams, we got into a rhythm and swiftly adapted to our new working environments. The team now enjoys a better work life balance, with the office being open 2-3 days a week and the staff working from home the rest of the time.