What does a typical day in your role entail?
There isn’t one! I could be reviewing an existing customer loan or working on a new loan proposal, joining a video conference or online webinar or writing a sector paper. At the moment I am kept busy working on loans under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme to support both new and existing customers, plus working on new affordable housing projects. It really varies depending on what comes in.
Tell us about some of the projects and entrepreneurs that you’ve been working with recently.
Most of my current work is in housing. I’m helping three different groups – all community land trusts – who are looking for finance to build or purchase units for affordable housing. Between the three projects they’ll create 43 affordable homes and one shared space; increasing housing options for people in the ‘squeezed middle’ – those who are not able to access social housing but cannot afford to rent or buy under normal circumstances.
Community housing projects involve lots of stakeholders, and so often take a long time to come to fruition. I have been supporting one of the groups that I’m working with at the moment since 2012, for example. It's satisfying to grow these relationships over time and to help these groups to realise their visions.
What are the best things about working for Triodos?
Variety is the big thing. No project is the same; each one is interesting and challenging in different ways. Aside from the positive impact for communities, it’s also exciting to see the eco-building standards improving and changing as technology develops.
What developments have you seen in the sectors that you work in?
I've seen a growth in both ambition in the sector, and acceptance of new models.
Community housing has really gathered pace in the past two to three years, partly because of government support. Projects are much more ambitious than they were; not only in scale - the number of homes built - but in their eco-standards too.
The idea of community housing is also more accepted by local authorities than it was. Now it’s seen as a model that works well and can deliver great results.
…and where do you see developments heading?
Housing in the UK is broken, with too many people unable to afford to rent or buy. Moving forward, sustainable homes and commercial real estate need to be created by communities, for communities. With buy-in on a local level, projects will be fit for purpose and more likely to succeed.
In the wider sense I think there will be a greening of construction techniques for affordable housing and that these will become more mainstream, as the homes built today need to be fit to meet our 2050 net zero objective. New technologies have and will continue to improve ecological building standards and ultimately, as supply chains adapt, these technologies will also make retro-fitting a viable option for more homes.
Find out more
Visit our housing lending page to find out more about how Triodos Bank finances housing businesses committed to sustainability and social change.