“I didn’t think I was different, my manager’s feedback said I was”
By Laura Miller -
VIBE Specialist Finance is not paying me to say this, but it genuinely seems like a very decent place to work. Managing director Kim McGinley has made it her mission to walk the walk on the (research-backed, entirely business-savvy) decision to make the mental health of her staff as important as the firm’s bottom line.
What happens, it seems, when you do that as a boss is you get rewarded with people like Kelly Rule.
Rule joined VIBE in 2019 and became a fully fledged but crucially self-employed mortgage broker in 2020, just before that Covid thing you may have heard of hit and for months, before it was chosen to re-emerge, the property market entered stasis. Hard for any broker, but Rule was coming to the role fresh from a career largely spent on the other side of the fence.
“I started in mortgages back in 2002 working for The Abbey (now Santander) and that’s when I got the “property bug” so they say,” she says.
From that first role as a mortgage processor, Rule became a second charge adviser at MD Nationwide, to commercial mortgage underwriter at InterBay Commercial.
In an intriguing pivot she defected to sales in waste management for a while – proving she is clearly unafraid of embracing the new, and potentially that she is also part of the American-Italian mafia – before returning to her first love, property, at One Savings Bank, before arriving at VIBE.
The thread connecting all Rule’s career decisions, she says, is people: “In that first job with The Abbey I realised how much I enjoyed being customer facing and how natural it came to me to speak to people”.
She didn’t think she was any different in that, though anyone who has ever worked in any office, retail or service environment anywhere will have horror stories testifying why, in fact, people are the worst.
“After numerous feedback from clients and senior managers, I realised maybe I did have something different,” says Rule, “for me, as long as you don’t make any promises you can’t keep and always follow up when you promise, you won’t go wrong”.
According to VIBE Specialist Finance, Rule has “worked tirelessly” to ensure she made a name for herself within the specialist finance sector despite Covid.
One of her main aims was to have a London presence and no amount of chaos caused by a pandemic was going to stop her – she had an office set up by Summer 2020, securing high-level introducers and a good ‘bread and butter’ level of business.
“Covid and Brexit is all I’ve known since doing this job, it hasn’t stopped me building a clientele consisting of investors, developers and property clubs who introduce clients to me,” she says.
In the histories of people who succeed in harsh conditions, a decision to suck the life out of every opportunity to learn from those around them comes up again and again.
“When I started out in finance I was looking up to experienced mortgage brokers, underwriters and directors alike in awe of their knowledge of the industry, knowing I would do whatever it takes to be just like them when I’m older,” Rule says.
It is what has driven her to progress her career throughout the mortgage industry: “I wouldn’t let anybody get in my way of that”.
It is advice she wants to pass on to anyone thinking about joining the sector: “It will be quiet for you at first so use this time to speak to anyone and everyone that is happy to listen. They may not have a deal right now, but they will remember you and will come back to you one day.”
And as Covid has taught just about everyone, when the chips are down you need as many friends as you can get.
That and be organised. “Dealing with 65-70 lenders is not easy, you will need to multi task 24/7.
Keep detailed notes on clients, applications and follow up tasks – the last thing you want is a client chasing you!”
What I want is to put Rule on an open top bus with a megaphone and let her shout that outside the customer services department of every company I have to deal with. We can but dream.
Laura Miller is a freelance journalist who writes about money and business. She regularly appears in UK national and trade newspapers and magazines, and has previously worked for ITV News and the Telegraph among others. Find her on twitter @thatlaurawrites