Ryan Davies joined the Welsh Financial Services Graduate Programme in 2015. Having secured a permanent placement at Hodge Bank whilst on placement there, he has since achieved multiple promotions and now sits on the Graduate Programme Advisory Board.
We caught up with him to find out how the Programme helped to shape his career in Financial Services.
Ryan, tell us about yourself and what you do…
I’m Ryan Davies and I’m the Interim Managing Director of Mortgages at Hodge Bank. Hodge are a specialist lender with ambitious plans to grow in both existing and new markets. My role is very much focused on leading the mortgages division, driving both the growth and innovation we need to achieve our business plans.
I began at Hodge in the Compliance and Risk team, on placement with the graduate programme. At the end of my placement, I was offered a permanent role working in the risk team. This was a great role for my development as it gave me exposure to a wide variety of areas within the bank.
In April 2017, I was promoted to Business Improvement Analyst, where I spent my time working closely with the operational teams on various improvement projects. Then in April 2019, I was promoted to Strategy & Change Manager for the Mortgage business where I worked closely with the Managing Director. Our focus was to develop a strategy to grow the bank’s mortgage business and better support our brokers and customers.
In March of this year, I was offered the opportunity to become Interim Managing Director for the division which is where I am now.
Wow, what a fantastic progression in such a short space of time. What did you have to do to get where you are today?
I feel incredibly fortunate to be where I am today.
I’ve have been lucky to have great mentors and leaders who have really supported me and helped me with my development.
I’ve also had some great roles that have allowed me to explore my strengths and passions.
Making the most of every opportunity to learn and develop, whether that’s from a team member or manager, taking on a new role or investing in my own personal development, has definitely been instrumental in getting me where I am today.
What responsibilities does your latest position entail?
As Director of Mortgages I’m responsible for five key areas: Product, Sales, Underwriting, Compliance and Credit Risk. My role varies from supporting my management team, to sitting on committees reviewing credit policies and products, to reporting into the Executive Board on how we are performing against our plan.
I love that no two days are ever the same and that I get to influence and shape how our business grows and develops. Most importantly, I get great job satisfaction from being able to use finance for good, helping people in the moments that truly matter to them.
What has been your career highlight?
Stepping in as Interim Managing Director in March of this year was daunting, especially in the midst of a pandemic. Whilst this period was very challenging for everyone, it brought us closer together as a team and allowed us think about things differently. I’m incredibly proud of the way we’ve adapted to working from home, continued to innovate and been able to support our brokers and customers, through these tough times.
You’re now a member of the Graduate Programme Advisory Board, how did this come about and what does this involve?
The graduate programme has played such a pivotal role in my career, when I heard there was an opportunity to join the advisory board, I jumped at it.
The scheme has so much to offer both businesses and graduates and having the ability to shape the programme utilising my first-hand experience with the aim of inspiring more graduates and businesses to take part, just felt like a great way to give back.
What are your goals for the future?
My career to date has facilitated a passion for developing customer centric products and services, that really make a difference and add value. I feel privileged to be in a role where I can really influence that value today.
My future goals are very much centred around this, leading a business and culture that is always looking ahead, developing new and existing products to meet either changing or unmet needs. Making a difference to the lives of our customers, shareholders and employees.
Do you have any advice for someone who is thinking of applying for the Programme?
There are a lot of people coming out of School or University that don’t really know what they want to do. They know they need to get a job but are unsure which path to go down in order to build a career.
As a graduate, I was exactly the same. I came out of University with a degree in Mathematics, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do or what I could offer a company. The graduate programme allowed me to go through a process to help me understand what I was interested in and where these opportunities were.
A huge congratulations to Ryan on what’s already been a highly impressive career! We’re delighted to have him on the Graduate Advisory Board and have no doubt that his story will inspire current and future graduates.