Mari-Liis, as the Head of the Loan Department at Holm Bank, bears a significant responsibility. The bank's loan volume, quality, and customer satisfaction hinge on her decisions. From funding plans to resolving financial issues, she plays a crucial role in guiding the process. Moreover, she skillfully communicates explanations behind firm "no" responses when necessary.
"I've spent my entire career in the financial sector, predominantly focused on property-backed loans and mitigating risks through a range of solutions. Joining Holm Bank has given me the opportunity to work with both home loans and unsecured personal loans," explains Mari-Liis Sepp, who will be celebrating her first year at Holm this summer.
The role of the Loan Department Head as a balancing artist
Mari-Liis has a role that can be compared to that of a tightrope walker, delicately balancing her expertise and knowledge to navigate the challenges. She must skillfully maintain equilibrium, ensuring the bank's success in its operations while supporting customers in realizing their funding plans.
"One might think that a loan is just a loan, but in reality, home loans and personal loans are two quite distinct worlds united by the responsibility of making prudent decisions. When it comes to home loans, the amount of information reaching the bank for analysis is significantly larger. And rightfully so, as home loans involve considerably larger sums. To make well-considered decisions, the bank requires more information. Approximately a year ago, Holm started issuing home loans when the market turbulence associated with the rise in the Euribor rate was already anticipated. As a result, Holm thoroughly prepared and explained to its clients the implications of the 6-month Euribor, its potential fluctuations, and how it might affect loan repayments. Thanks to this approach, Holm's clients have been able to make well-informed decisions, and we haven't observed difficulties in repayment due to the current rise in Euribor. However, it doesn't mean that the consistent increase in Euribor and overall price hikes haven't made people's daily lives more challenging," acknowledges Mari-Liis. Nevertheless, she sees a silver lining in this situation, noting that people have become more cautious and thorough in their financial decision-making.
A catalyst for positive plans
"Holm is still a relatively small bank in terms of size, and the people who work here can engage in a wide range of topics and actively contribute to the bank's growth," says Mari-Liis. "It's truly a bank of good plans, where well-analyzed ideas are relatively easily given the green light. That's exciting," says Mari-Liis, whose mind is filled with good ideas waiting to be implemented. Recently, she took on a leadership role in launching a refinancing loan tailored to client needs. In her eyes, a refinancing loan makes life much simpler and more convenient for individuals. "A person may have several different loans, including hire purchase payments. Managing various loan schedules and remembering due dates can be quite hectic. But imagine if your bank can do the math, where 1+1+1 equals 1," laughs Mari-Liis. "By combining different loans and hire purchases into a single loan, it becomes easy to have an overview of your financial situation, and it's convenient to make just one loan payment," she explains, highlighting that clients can choose a repayment schedule of up to 10 years to suit their needs.
Diversity in life and work
Reflecting on the joys and challenges of her professional life, Mari-Liis primarily sees the joys. "In my work, I get to manage both people and processes, which makes my job diverse. I learn something new every day. I have the opportunity to contribute to various topics and projects. I can make a difference by simplifying and making processes more efficient, thereby enabling different departments to collaborate comfortably. Most importantly, it becomes increasingly convenient for customers," expresses Mari-Liis with contentment. "I am motivated when I see that the innovations and improvements we have implemented yield results, whether they are better solutions for customers, automated financing processes, or other successful initiatives," explains Mari-Liis. She believes that setting clear goals in life is essential and requires effort to achieve them. "Goals should be ambitious," says the confident Mari-Liis, who effortlessly combines work and family life as a young mother. Although Mari-Liis mostly works from home, she frequently finds her way to Holm's offices in Tallinn and Haapsalu to engage in face-to-face interactions with colleagues. This makes work life more vibrant, information flow smoother, and provides a refreshing change of pace. "Children, working from home, travelling to various cities, attending university, socialising, spending time with friends, brainstorming – it's all quite intense, and I don't see any room for more on this list," says Mari-Liis, content with the fast-paced rhythm of her life.
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