A chat with Outstanding Leader in Risk winner Augustine Gyapong

The Leadership Awards 22

Back in mid-March, the mcl finance team were in a celebratory mood. The pastries and Champagne were ordered in for the office breakfast and the balloons were blown up. The party was being thrown for our treasured Head of Risk and Operations, Augustine Gyapong, who has been named Outstanding Leader in Risk at the 2022 Credit Week Leadership Awards.

Augustine, known as Gus, isn’t the type of person who relishes attention. Speaking to me from his home office, he explains: “I don't really like all the attention, I’ll be honest about that. I can see I have a lot of messages of congratulations waiting for me, so I think I’ll wait until tomorrow and reply to them all at once.”

It speaks volumes that Gus’s team is so happy for him.

Each of Gus’ reports values him as a mentor and a friend, as well as a manager. Gus lights up when he talks about his team. “I like the way I can interact with them,” he explains. “When I think back to where I worked before if you had to speak to a manager, it was like a chore - they were considered demigods. That’s not how things work at mcl finance. It's a much more collaborative, supportive culture.”

Despite his reticence to wallow in his big win, Gus is more than happy to talk to me about the highlights of his career with mcl finance so far. After all, he very quickly proved himself as a valuable leader and innovator in his role as Senior Underwriter and was promoted to Head of Risk, and more recently to Head of Risk and Operations.

His cutting edge scoring system helped improve lending decision-making.

I ask him to take me through his cutting edge scoring system, which he introduced to help improve lending decision-making. He explains the difference between how a big bank would make lending decisions, and how we can personalise the entire process at mcl finance:

“If you look at a big bank, they are dealing with thousands of applications and it’s not possible to personalise the scoring system. So if there are 100 applications, they might be cut off at 30% through credit scoring alone. In reality, if you drill down into the remaining 70% and you look at them closely, with a bit of time, you’ll be able to pull out other qualified applicants.”

“From our perspective, it’s cost-effective to do it this way as you’re making the most of the applications you’re already receiving,” he added.

Gus’s scoring system means that mcl finance can apply a quantitative value to external factors, such as years of experience, support network, trading history and even levels of expertise, which means we offer loans to those who would be turned down by larger lenders, sometimes based on a single variable, such as credit score. “There’s always a story around anyone’s credit score”, explains Gus, “and our scoring model reflects this. And as we grow, the model improves.”

Gus’s highly nuanced scoring system has enabled mcl finance to rapidly increase lending while maintaining a missed payment rate of less than 8.5%.

Gus has also had a major impact on the mcl finance collections procedures.

He talks keenly about the mcl finance approach. “Most of the customers who find themselves with the collections team never intended to be there. For most people, their situation has changed from when they took out the loan.”

Gus has innovated new collections policies that have helped to improve our collections performance by 30%. These revolve around adapting the approach depending on the length of time the customer has been in default on their loan.

For those who are still unable to repay, the collections team do what they can to support the customer and find a solution. “Customer struggling to repay could be moved onto another of our innovative products, such as mcl finance Wave, which enabled them to pay less during slower times of the year, for example.”

Gus will no doubt be eager to get on with his job away from the spotlight once all the excitement about his award has died down. But when it comes to his team, our broker partners, the rest of the senior management team and, indeed, our customers, he’ll always be a star and an important advocate of mcl finance’s positive working culture.

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