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July 27, 2021updated 29 Jul 2021 12:58pm

Don’t panic, look long and think it through, says Paragon’s MD about surviving Covid

By Alejandro Gonzalez

Lessons learned from 2008 should hold true for surviving the coronavirus pandemic, according to John Phillipou, the managing director of Paragon Bank, a UK-based commercial lender and asset finance provider. 

Phillipou says he can take “something positive” from the 2008 financial crisis – when he was MD at Deutsche Leasing (UK & Ireland) – it teaches you to “roll your sleeves up, work through your list of customers who aren’t paying and work out how you’re going to come through the other side.”

The key idea for surviving a downturn is not to panic, make decisions based on a longer time horizon than the immediate situation might suggest and think through the various options, the executive with over 25 years of experience in commercial lending and asset finance, intimated. 

However, the pandemic posed one “dichotomy” today which is different to 2008, namely the available liquidity in the market, “people have not gone on holiday, bought new cars or spent money [as they used to].”

Paragon Bank

As the economy gets back on its feet, the question will arise: “Are we going to have a Roaring 20s boom, is the money going to come through, or are the debts that people have built up, the loans taken out to support businesses, is that going to be matched in the economy?”

“The next 12 months is going to be telling,” he said.

Paragon Bank’s Phillipou, who is also the deputy chair of the Finance & Leasing Association’s Asset Finance Division and the UK board representative on the Leaseurope association, made the comments during a 30-minute interview with Lindsay Town, the CEO of IAA-Advisory, as part of a series of ‘fireside chats’ with UK leasing executives, to be streamed on 29 July at 1pm.

The pre-recorded chat is the fifth in a series of similar interviews that Lindsay Town will be hosting scheduled into July sponsored by LTi Technology Solutions, a US-based global provider of in-the-cloud asset finance technology.

Robert Taylor, UK country manager for LTi Technology Solutions, said: “Although LTi is a sponsor of this event, we wanted to hand the interviewing to a seasoned industry professional, so we’re proud to say that Lindsay Town, with at least 45-years’ experience under his belt in various leadership roles, agreed to do this for us.

“We know he’ll generate good debate and get the best out of the captains of industry we’ve lined up in the weeks ahead.” 

LTi Leasing Leaders Series

The ‘LTiConnections: Leasing Leader Series’ interviews are free to watch and will be followed by a live Q&A session with the interview guest and interviewer, alongside LTi’s Taylor. 

Registration is required.

The opening chat was with Sam Geneen, chairman of Start Asset Finance, followed by Neil Davies, CEO of Close Brothers’ commercial division, John Jenkins, CEO of Haydock Finance, Mike Randall, CEO of Simply Asset Finance and Kerry Howells of Tower Leasing. 

The next interview will feature Roy Royer, Head of Europe at Somerset Capital, on a date to be confirmed, organises said.

Taylor said: “Our series of talks have been structured to tackle the most pressing and current topics that our industry is facing today. The idea is to examine the key changes the industry has seen in the last year and to consider the challenges ahead.

“We want to appeal to new recruits in asset finance as well as explore the essence of being a leader in this industry,” said Taylor.

Click HERE to register for the Zoom Webinar.

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RLS benefits sustainability and innovation: Paragon Bank’s Phillipou

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