Could people be the barrier to success in your organisation?

Melissa Christy is no stranger to delivering successful and innovative loan products to the market. The 86 400 lending product lead has made a name for herself since taking on “Project Sparkle” a few years ago and creating home loan solutions for the smart bank from scratch. But, before she rose to fintech fame Christy worked for both start-ups and major banks in the UK, giving her some keen insights into the way the people and culture of an institution can impact success.

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In one role she was contracted by a lender to find out why its new home loan product wasn’t selling.

“I came in to review it and work out how we could get sales moving on this new product,” she said.

She soon found out that while the features of the product were attractive, the way it was marketed was anything but ideal.

“I looked at everything, all the documentation and everything that they were giving to customers and brokers, and I realised that it was very difficult for someone to understand,” she said. “They were selling it to brokers and customers like they were describing a system.”

She undertook the job of rewriting the way the products of the lender were positioned to brokers and consumers but was met with much resistance from its legal department.

“Everything that was written down, they said it was factually correct and that this is how we need to describe it, but given no-one could understand it, it was useless,” she said.

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It took about three months of liaising with the legal and compliance team, as well as retraining the lender’s staff on the product in order for them to think about it in a new way. Once the changes had been implemented, sales went up and the product was rated a success.

“The legal and compliance teams were a massive barrier for them achieving their sales,” she said. “All the new material went out and it was repositioned so the staff knew how to sell it and people could understand it. It was just simply that the people didn’t have the expertise in how to position things properly and how to explain the benefits.

“I find often that it’s people that are the barriers in organisations to get things done.”