Contact Chris or subscribe to updates for free - here

Week 20: End of Staycation

The weather held, which really has been great news for all of us taking staycations… even when WFH, with the shorter commute, it has been easier to make more of the weather, which has been a real advantage too… observations for this week.

  • With getting out for holidays, I finally made it to a Starbucks… a very strange social distanced experience… literally no one there… felt more like a wild west film than the M6 services… (coffee the same… although still not made it to Prêt a Manager!)
  • I realized my main obstacle to wearing a mask had been my fear of looking silly… once got over myself was really no problem and of course, it is important we do
  • Workwise, with more localized lockdown restrictions, have been thinking about how the ongoing impact will become increasingly complicated. Some people and businesses will be affected, others not… with all the permutations in-between. Flexibility is going to become more important

With another week about to start, have a good one everybody… @chris_w_tweet

Posted in Blog | Leave a comment

Start of August: Weekly roundup 31 July 2020

This week continued to feel a quieter week and being the last week of July, the news cycle slowed somewhat. Here are the key stories this week.

It has been reporting week for the banks and most have posted significant increases in reserves for losses due to loan arrears and write-offs. At Lloyds was an eye-watering £3.8 billion however, the pattern was also replicated at Barclays and Santander. Interestingly it also appears 65% of payment holiday arrangements have been rolled over too. All is this is an indication of yet more difficult times to come for many customers and pointing to a wave of volumes of customers in arrears. (the increase in rent arrears advice also an early indicator)

With the furlough scheme due to end in October and covering 9m people, reported projections are pointing to a 10% unemployment rate when it finishes. It is looking increasingly likely regional lockdowns will complicate the picture will be further too, with more restrictions in and around Manchester on Friday.

Different views on when and how to return to the office are clearly starting to emerge. RBS is saying stay at home, with Barclays wanting people back. Undoubtedly real estate is being looked with some of us clearly happy to continue to work at home. It is however not for everyone with many people desperate to return to the office for some respite (always worth remembering).

Ofcom this week released their guidance on vulnerable customers. It is interesting how the various industries are starting to align, and at increasing speed too.

The pressure on fin-tech, noted before, crystallized a little with a note of concern from Monzo on how COVID has impacted their business model and revenue streams. This is not a great headline for all account holders. Monzo likely need to be very careful with the headlines, consumers funds are largely protected as a bank, but customers becoming uncertain and moving money really will not help either. (on an entirely unrelated thought… think how quickly a bank run could happen online)

We have been having a discussion on the impact of COVID on predictive credit risk models (including credit bureau scores etc) for a while, however we are not alone. In the financial markets, where sophistication is greater and AI is more widely used, they are having trouble keeping up too. History is not a good predictor of the future when you have unique black swan events happening it seems..!

Lastly a couple of other interesting stories

Some things to think about this week. Have a good weekend everyone…. @chris_w_tweet

Posted in Blog | Leave a comment

Week 19 lockdown: Taking a break

It was a little different this week with the first week of summer vacation and some really nice weather in the UK… good thing is I have been able to get out and about a little more… some observations for the week.

  • There seem to be definite groupings regarding adherence to social distancing and wearing masks… some people were strictly following the guidance, with others very relaxed… and very much the same where ever I went… ‘tutto il mondo è paese’
  • Indeed, sometimes is was easy to forget there ever was a lockdown, people were outside and life really seemed almost as normal… definitely some danger of forgetting and I had to check myself a few times…! (especially in the face of increasing rates elsewhere too)
  • Work wise, taking a break has been important… it is a good opportunity for us all to use this time in lockdown to refresh a little…

Another week, hopefully the weather holds… have a good one everyone… @chris_w_tweet

Posted in Blog | Leave a comment