… and the orchestra plays on

From on ro-ar.com

What is up in the second charge mortgage and car finance market?

New figures from the FLA this week show new business fell by 40% YOY in January and t was a similar situation in the consumer car finance market, 35% down. Even in mortgages more generally, households seem to be paying down by record amounts too.

With the pandemic situation now passing a year, it really does appears as if this latest lockdown has been different. It has certainly felt different, but now the data is showing how were are normalizing this more and more.

A good example is car sales. In the first lockdown, sales were up. We all seemed to need cars to avoid public transport. Many people also took advantage of stamp duty holidays, moving out of the city partly to avoid COVID, driving the property market too.

This time around on lockdown, there is less need for change. In fact, for many, it clearly seems a good opportunity to pay down debt.

However, government economic support is also starting to recede. What about those who are more impacted and find themselves at risk of financial difficulty? We seem to hear less about this recently too.

Employment in fact has started to tickup (currently 5.1%), albeit less than previous peaks in the last financial crisis, the 80’s and 90’s.

With 4.7million people still on furlough support in the UK, you wonder how much this support is helping with these figures. Without furlough another 7+% could quickly be added to the unemployment rate, taking it to historic highs. (Indeed the unemployment rate does appear to have trended up the last few months).

With the furlough scheme now extended until July and September, we still have some time, and hopefully the economy will roar back to life as quickly as lockdown started.

However, I cannot shake a sense of us seemingly slowly, having to pick our way through an increasingly dense iceberg field in the fog. Silent but dangerous, all may seem quiet but still time to prepare and get ready.

Other stories of interest this week

Have a good week everyone.

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The work-life-school balance

With many schools in the UK restarting last week, this week marks a big step for many parents… the end of homeschooling.

Hopefully a change in the right direction for all of us. Some quick observations so far.

  • Time seemed to change in nature with the week passing at a different rate as the structure of the day changed… not sure if this is good or not yet!
  • The was change was felt by the kids too, with a comment that is maybe a portent for our own return to the office… “too many people, all day, it is exhausting”!
  • Lastly, workwise, I also heard several discussions, let’s say, take a jovial, yet more relaxed tone last week… a bit more of the office banter returned.

We will get used to it, just hope we can keep this going. Have a good week everyone…

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Creatively creating time. Time to think and to get stuff done.

From on ro-ar.com

An odd week this week. It seemed like there was not a lot going on however news-wise, in Collections and Recoveries that is! Maybe this was just more of a function of attention being elsewhere, rather than it being quiet. However, there were a couple of interesting themes and discussions.

The conversation regarding a return to the office is starting to get more and more nuanced, almost in anticipation of it starting. This was nicely illustrated in an informal online coffee session this week.

On one hand, working remotely has been a tremendous boom for productivity. We have all been able to concentrate to get things done. It is not just the quiet. With video calls are you able to fit more in the day, back to back. Exhausting yes, but productive too.

Then there is also the factor of travel time, now large eliminated allows more time for more meetings, finishing things off, exercise, spending time with family or walking the dog… take your pick!

On the other hand, there is a more eloquent discussion now starting on what exactly we miss. It is not just about it be able to be more social in the office or finding the environment more pleasant. The argument is now being explained in terms of how missing that random conversation, the casual comment, misses a spark that can create an idea and enable creativity.

I agree. Sometimes it is not the intense three-day workshop that creates a new direction, but the throw-away comment, made in passing, over lunch that creates a spark, that leads to innovation.

Yes, we may need the workshop to make it happen, work through the details, but an idea is in the moment. Maybe these moments are just not happening as much in our hyper-structured lockdown world.

The other interesting question is what happens when we do return to the office. Travel will restart and all of a sudden it may not be possible to make the same number of calls, write the same number of proposals or turn around the same number reports in the speedy timeframes we have got used to over the last year… will we need to reset our expectations too? Maybe, or maybe we will once again need to reach a new balance.

So as we start to approach more yet change, we need think about how we structure our time to build in the creativity and preserve some of the productive time going forward…. Busy but creative and fun I think, or maybe hope.

Other stories this week

Have a good weekend everyone….

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