Chris Newman joined Avamore as Senior Underwriter amidst the COVID-19 lockdown.
We had a virtual catch-up with him to find out how he’s been settling in and what it’s been like joining the company during unprecedented times.
- What has it been like starting a new position amidst the COVID-19 lockdown?
In a word – strange! But now that the office has re-opened, it has certainly helped! Being able to actually go to work and finally meeting some of my colleagues face to face has been great. It’s made it all feel a bit more ‘real’.
- How are you settling in at Avamore?
Really well. It’s clear that everyone who works for Avamore has an in-depth knowledge of property, and the whole team is friendly and approachable. I’m looking forward to gradually returning to a sense of normality, with more days working in the office, and seeing how quickly we can return to or surpass pre-COVID lending levels.
- If you could work in any other profession, what would it be and why?
A Top Gear presenter (Jeremy Clarkson era). Being paid to travel the world, drive the latest cars, and having fun with your mates seems to be the ultimate job.
- Where did your interest in the property development industry start?
It first started when I was around 10 years old, playing The Sims and Rollercoaster tycoon! I think it was the creation of something from nothing. As daft as it sounds, it was probably the reason I chose a Construction focused course after leaving school.
- Describe yourself in 3 words.
Ambitious, night-owl, coffee-addict.
- What do you look forward to achieving in the remainder of 2020?
Generally, I look forward to achieving our projected lending figures for 2020-2021 set before COVID struck. Whilst optimistic, I believe there will be a significant bounce back in the market, and I think we’re perfectly placed with our product offering (especially our Finish & Exit for part-complete schemes) to achieve our ambitions for the year.
- If you could learn one skill, what would it be and why?
To learn Spanish fluently. I’m trying to learn at the moment, and it’s not going well!
- How would you define success?
Professionally speaking, success for me is achieving more than you thought you were capable of, working harder than you thought you could and naturally becoming the best at what you do because of this.
I should probably put this into practice with my goal of learning Spanish!
- What were your initial thoughts of Avamore as a company?
From the offset, I was impressed by the volume and the standard of their lending. After starting with Avamore, it was made it evident that these were high-quality loans (we all see the cliché it’s easy to lend, but not so easy to be repaid). I think it’s fair to say that in times like this, a robust loan book at sensible leverages with thorough underwriting is key to ensuring losses don’t occur. I’m confident that we’re in a positive position.
- What is your greatest professional highlight?
Moving up from the retail arm of Nationwide to the Commercial Real Estate division. After three consecutive quarters of outperforming all KPI’s (I was the top-performing mortgage advisor for Central London), I was lucky enough to get promoted. This was my intention for a number of years and when it finally happened, I knew it would act as a springboard to lots of opportunities. I probably wouldn’t be in the job I am in today if it wasn’t for that move.