2018 highlights and the year ahead – by Nick Smith

I have once again been given the task of the December blog which inevitably turns into a year-end review and generally involves collating a very long list of positives from the last 12 months. I then remember that I am writing a blog and not a book!

On the business side, Reward has made great progress in both the Leeds and Manchester offices, delivering over 170 deals and providing funding of over £50m into the SME marketplace – a significant increase from 2017. As I said last year, the North West has been a key focus for Reward and our presence in this region is growing by the day – we will share our exciting plans for 2019 with you in the New Year. In Yorkshire we continue to deliver Reward’s core values of reliability, transparency, bespoke solutions and speed of delivery to our well-established clients and introducers.

We pride ourselves on being a people business – real people working to understand the needs of businesses, in order for us to provide the most suitable product offering, and we have invested heavily into this core resource for Reward. It was interesting at last week’s Reward Team Christmas party when Dave Jones said to the team “stand up if this is your first Reward Christmas do”. Half of the people around the table stood up which is an amazing testament to the growth of our business – a 50% increase in our headcount over the last year!

Away from the office, the England football team appear to be making some headway (at last), although I think the World Cup Semi Final flattered them a little and I am avoiding the car crash that is Brexit, because it will have changed again before this is published and no-one has a clue what is going on anyway. Prince Harry got married, the other Harry won the jungle, Thomas won SPOTY and anybody with young children went Baby Shark mad!

So, what does 2019 bring? We are well placed, well capitalised, have a great team, rock solid foundations and are sticking to our core offering which has stood us in great stead for eight years and I can’t see that changing now. As a lender it’s important that people understand what your offering is, how you deliver it and that you can provide your clients with certainty – and this will be more important in 2019 than ever before.

Predictions away from the office… As a sports fan, Tiger will win a major and Leeds United will get promoted back to the Premiership. As for politics who knows – perhaps Theresa will still be hanging on next Christmas, she’s got some determination!

From the Reward Team and myself we wish you all a Merry Christmas and look forward to working with those of you that may be new to us and those of you we continue to work with.