The COVID Diaries: nonbank financial-institution borrower 1
The following interview is with an Australian-based funding executive at a nonbank financial institution. It was conducted on 20 March 2020.
Are you working from home? If so, how challenging has the change been and, if not, do you think you will be working from home in the coming weeks?
It has proved quite difficult, bedding it all down. The biggest concern has been ensuring people are not feeling isolated. When you are working from home, you lose the social element of the physical workplace – having someone ask you for a coffee and having that excuse to get up from your desk. There is an element of excitement but it has been challenging to adapt to this new world.
How close do you think the market will get to business as usual if we are in a period of social distancing for multiple months, including working from home and little or no face-to-face interaction?
Everything we do is affected by how the coronavirus progresses and spreads over the next three months. Social distancing and working from home will be the new norm for perhaps at least the next six months.
It is going to change the way we interact more generally, too. We will come out of this period with different views on things. Some of that will be positive – learning that we can work virtually. But we are in this for a fair while yet.
“We are thinking about what we can learn from this and how we are going to change our life off the back of this more positively. I do think there are opportunities, such as maybe working from home two days a week, after all this has cleared up.”
What other changes are you making in your personal and professional life?
More broadly, we are thinking about what we can learn from this and how we are going to change our lives more positively off the back of this. I do think there will be opportunities after all this has cleared up, such as maybe working from home two days a week and changing the way we think about our workday.
What are you most worried about in this period, personally or professionally? How worried are you in general?
I feel the securitisation market will be closed for some time. I don’t think it will be closed for six months but the next couple of months will be difficult to get deals away. The Australian Office of Financial Management (AOFM) announcing its A$15 billion (US$9 billion) package will be a real confidence boost for the nonbank sector.
From a personal perspective, the most worrying thing is elderly people in my life becoming sick. I am also worried about how people are going to cope with social distancing over the next few months, especially those in nursing homes and those living on their own.
What is the latest article you have read in relation to COVID-19 and what did you like/not like about it? Can you provide a link?
It is pleasing, from an economic and social perspective, to see the initiatives the RBA [Reserve Bank of Australia] and the government announced yesterday. It does feel as if they are stepping up their efforts.
I read an update on the ABC this morning that the death toll in Italy has overtaken China’s. Not a positive article but I don’t think I have read many positive articles on COVID-19.
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