‘I’m conscious of being a good role model to my teenage daughter’

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Samantha Williamson Roma Finance

In our latest Five Minute Interview, Tony Sanchez speaks to Samantha Williamson, Bridging & Development specialist at Roma Finance.

Roma Finance provides property professionals and landlords with bridging loans, development finance and buy-to-let mortgages.

They offer first and second charge loans from £50k to £5m and have operated successfully in the buoyant UK bridging finance market for over ten years.

What is the best thing about being in the bridging and development finance business?

I’ve worked in various sectors of the finance and banking industry over the years but I think bridging and development finance is definitely my favourite and better suited to my nature and skillset.

It seems a much more diverse sector in terms of the people working in it, and the lenders are generally more flexible and “commercial” about deals, with a greater desire to help property investor and developers achieve their goals and make money.

What keeps you focused?

As I’ve got older it’s a constant evaluation of my work/life balance. I need to enjoy my work and find it fulfilling. Life’s too short to just be going through the motions.

I’m also conscious of being a good role model to my teenage daughter, and showing her that as a female she can achieve whatever she wants to if she works hard.

What qualities do you look for in your employees or colleagues?

Respect for each other, a willingness to listen, put forward opinions, share knowledge, and work collaboratively.

Are you an optimist or a pessimist?

An optimist – but a realist too (if that’s possible?)

What did you want to be as a child?

Besides shorter….a lead rock guitarist after my first AC/DC gig with my dad in Birmingham around the age of 13.

What will be the greatest challenge facing the bridging and development finance industry in the coming months?

Recruitment seems to be a huge challenge at the moment. There are many lenders coming into this space that don’t have the experience and track record of specialist or development lending behind them.

It really is a different skillset to someone just doing vanilla type loans – and finding suitably skilled underwriters is a problem at the moment, and I can’t see that changing any time soon.

With these types of loans you’re moving towards relationship style lending rather than transactional, with a more manual underwriting process. It’s not something that can be taught overnight.

Who or what makes you laugh?

That’s really tough……but things I’ve re-watched lately are Brassic and An Idiot Abroad. Karl Pilkington is so funny!

Do you dread Monday mornings?

No, I don’t dread work.  I’m not a fan of the school run though!

If you get to a point where you dread going to work then it’s time for a change in my opinion.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

My eyesight. I need glasses for reading now and I really don’t like wearing them.

With whom would you most like to have dinner?

My husband – at The Tides restaurant in Barbados (soppy I know!). We went there almost 15 years ago before our daughter was born, and I’d love to go back (hint hint if you’re reading this PW).