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  1. Is Work-Life Balance REALLY Achievable?

    December 2, 2014 by Jenna

    When you look at the term ‘work-life balance’, you may wonder if there really is such a thing. Now while there is no ‘perfect’ way to find work-life balance, we shouldn’t aim to believe that it isn’t achievable. So what’s the solution?

    An article published by Alyssa Gregory discusses three important elements to consider when creating a work-life balance compromise:

    Firstly, when you think of the word balance, you think of weighing scales. Your work life on one side and our personal life on the other. It can add extra pressure to continually be striving to find an even balance between the two on a regular basis. Alyssa challenges you to get rid of the ‘balance’ aspect of the term and instead focus on ‘compromise’. Imagine compromise as a means of aiming for a level of give and take that satisfies all of your needs in the best way possible.

    In order to do this, there are three essential things you need to keep in front of you to make our struggle for acceptable compromise achievable.

    Priorities

    The first essential element involves taking a long, hard and realistic look at your priorities. You will then need to rank the level of importance of all aspects of your life, whether it’s work commitments, family, hobbies etc.

    It’s also important to recognise that your priorities will change, sometimes frequently, and if you’re not clear on what parts of your life need your attention first, achieving an acceptable compromise will be a struggle.

    Flexibility

    Being able to react and adapt to changes and unexpected surprises are vital as nothing is ever set in stone. Regroup and shuffle your priorities, and change directions when necessary. By doing this, you’ll gain the flexibility you need to move with the changes.

    Acceptance

    The reality is that some days are better than others and some priorities will be easier to satisfy than others.

    The key is to remember that with a constant give and take, and the goal of doing the best you can at any given time, you can trust that it will eventually all even out in the end.

    I personally agree that if all three points outlined above are applied, the outcome you want can be achieved.

    If I don’t set out my priorities in order of importance then I won’t be able to balance the time and energy I need to put towards them. If I’m not flexible or adaptable to changes in my work or personal life, then I will find it harder to move forward in the right direction. And if I don’t accept that some days I will kick a goal with my checklist and other days I won’t, then my expectations of perfection may add further pressure on myself and to my workload. So why not apply these methods and see what happens?

    Do you believe that work-life balance is achievable? If so, what do you do to make it work?


  2. The Future of the Credit Industry following the introduction of Comprehensive Credit Reporting (CCR)

    June 2, 2014 by Jenna

    By Lauren Eardley

    As a Specialist Recruitment Consultant in the Finance and Credit space, I am always looking for opportunities to become more immersed in the industry. Recently I attended the AB+F Retail Credit Panel Discussion which was held in light of the changes to Credit Reporting introduced in Australia in March 2014.

    If you are unaware, this legislative change means that more credit information can now be shared by lenders for the purpose of assessing credit. Before now the information that could be shared was limited to credit applications and defaults (i.e. negative credit reporting), however the change in legislation means additional information will be available on accounts that customers currently have and how well they meet their repayments (i.e. positive/ comprehensive credit reporting). This brings Australia in line with the majority of other OECD countries including the US, UK and New Zealand.

    The AB&F Discussion Panel was made up of 4 key players in the Global Credit Space: David Grafton (Credit Risk & Advisory Services, Veda), Bart Hellemans (Chief Risk Officer, ING Direct), Adam McAnalen (Head of Retail Credit, BOQ) and Cln Murthy (Country Risk Director – Consumer, Citi). Questions came from Andrew Stabback, Publisher & Managing Director of AB+F and the audience.

    There was undeniable agreement that this is a busy time for Credit and Risk Managers and this period of transition is an opportunity for organisations to really switch on to data sharing and make the best of it.

    The Credit Industry is buoyant and is growing for both secured and unsecured products however it still remains a relatively flat portion of Australian GDP. The panellists analysed the contribution of the buoyant housing market on (secured) credit growth. It was concluded that the current housing market is making the mortgage space highly competitive; lenders are having to differentiate themselves in the market place whilst not impacting their risk appetite. This means below average interest rates therefore people are paying off their mortgages much faster. Murthy of Citi confirmed that this translated into unsecured products as well; credit cards and personal loans are being snapped up, however consumers are paying them off quicker which means the growth is not being reflected on the balance sheet.

    Hellemans and Murthy representing banks with global coverage agreed that we are not quite clear of the GFC yet but we are certainly in a stronger position now than in 2007. The regulations which instigated in the last 2 years have subdued credit growth. The increase in data available due to CCR means that institutions can delve into more niche markets and develop new products to differentiate themselves in the market place.

    One example from the UK was raised; a Credit/Debit combination card with which you deposit a small amount of cash then the credit portion increases in line with how well you make repayments.

    Sitting in a room full of Senior Credit and Risk Managers, they were all pretty much on the ball with the changes and how it affected their organisations. However, to really see the positive effects of CCR implementation, consumers (i.e. the general public) also need to understand what information is available on them, how it will be used and how it affects them. David Grafton, Executive General Manager, Credit Risk and Advisory Services at Veda, said it was frustrating to see consumers left largely unaware of their important new rights in the credit reporting system, that will ultimately help them take better control of their credit history.

    “I think the government has really abdicated an important responsibility in that this is the most important change in privacy law in 25 years and it affects each and every one of us, it really does,” Grafton said.

    This could potentially ensue a shift in purchasing power to consumers within 3-5 years. If customers have a positive credit file and are aware of it, it allows them greater negotiation power when obtaining credit. It will also allow consumers who have a made a genuine mistake in their payment history to accumulate a positive credit score more quickly and borrow successfully again in the future.

    The changes following the implementation are in their very early days and we are not likely to see major changes for several years. The credit industry is encouraged to embrace data sharing sooner rather than later to avoid risk of irresponsible lending. While experience in application of CCR overseas can be drawn upon, Australia has different dynamics and is untested so beyond speculation the future of the Credit Industry has a long way to go and remains to be seen.




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