Why lending is like rugby

What a fantastic opening fortnight to the 2023 6 Nations. The first and second ranked nations in Ireland and France went head-to-head this weekend. I can’t think of this happening previously and for two northern hemisphere sides to hold the top two places. Ireland came out victorious, ending France’s 14 game unbeaten run, in what was a fantastic game of rugby.

It is common knowledge I love rugby, especially the 6 Nations. Nothing comes between me and watching every game. However, this weekend, for whatever reason, I thought ‘is rugby like lending’? You might be thinking I am taking my new role too seriously here, but there is some sound logic.

Damien has asked me on several occasions “how many knocks have I taken playing rugby?” Quite a lot, but don’t we all take knocks? In life, in our careers and even from lenders. Whatever the scenario, you brush yourself down and get on with it. So, when he reads, I am relating lending to Rugby in my latest blog, he will no doubt be asking the question again.


Knowledge is a powerful trait to possess but must be deployed correctly. One thing I have learnt in my short time at B&W is the depth of knowledge that exists across the team. People will assist in any way they can, individuals will leverage off each other, irrespective of their position. Like our lending philosophy, it is very transparent, and nothing is hidden.

Knowledge is not confined just to the workplace. Whilst we get new brokers approaching us regularly, it is our loyal broker base which is vital to B&W. They understand how we operate, what deals would benefit their clients with our backing and ultimately have the certainty of outcome that they will complete.


The specialist finance sector is a heavily contested sector, with lenders of all shapes and sizes competing for the attention of intermediaries and borrowers direct. Very similar to the 6 Nations, where you have the behemoths like Ireland, competing against the emerging nation of Italy. Many people question why Italy are in the tournament, but believe they have every right to be there.

They have improved immensely in recent years, now mixing it up with the bigger teams, offering increased competition and the overall value of the tournament. Just like boutique lenders can provide something different to the market, ensuring clients are receiving the best products for their lending requirements.


Growing the loan book is important to B&W but we will not do this at any cost. I have seen lenders deviate from their principles to meet unrealistic numbers to impress journalists and brokers. Our broker partners will get an abundance of enquiries, but they will not all come our way. Why? Because they understand how we operate, we communicate with them, irrespective of the type of news we are delivering. We were open about reducing our valuation methodology and pricing last year, others followed but they didn’t communicate it, so there you have transparency in the form of communication.


A great philosopher once said, knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit, wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad. Philosopher is probably the wrong word, but the person in question, Brian O’Driscoll, was one of the finest players ever to grace a rugby field. He stated these wise words when asked a question in a press conference. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kpLd-Vi8qZA

I have highlighted a couple of words, which relate to both lending and rugby. We work as a team, irrespective of your position and we are successful because we communicate. so from one player to another: Knowledge is knowing the importance of lending; wisdom is knowing who it is right for…

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