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IWD 2022: Women’s progression at Paragon

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To mark International Women’s Day, we’re highlighting the valuable contribution of women in the mortgage industry. Here, we talk to two members of Paragon Bank staff – Philippa Hall and Rakhee Vaghela – who talk about their careers and how attitudes towards women in the sector are changing.

Philippa Hall

Philippa Hall started her career at Paragon 20 years ago. After taking a break when she re-located to Lancashire, Philippa returned six years ago as mortgage underwriter in the buy-to-let area of the new business team. Since then, she has progressed back through our own internal mandate structure before being promoted to team leader and more recently manager.

Philippa said: “Paragon supports women to achieve senior and managerial positions. I think as a mortgage industry we have seen positive changes in recent years and I hope this continues”.

Speaking about her progression, Philippa feels that the support provided by Paragon has been an important part of her personal growth, commenting: “During the past 5 years, I have gained my CMI Level 3 in Leadership & Management with the support of my own manager, team, and our Learning & Development function.  I am also currently working towards my Dipmap qualification.”

This support was particularly evident during the height of the Covid pandemic as lots of parents juggled their work life with home schooling.

Philippa said: “I felt fully supported by the Group, especially during the lockdowns when I was managing my own work alongside home schooling. My own individual needs were considered, and I think there was a camaraderie between colleagues who were also going through the same experience and our children almost became one of the team.”

Rakhee Vaghela

Rakhee began her career at Paragon in 2004 in mortgage customer service and now, following impressive progression, is a Completion Team Leader.

This role sees Rakhee manage a team responsible for processing new lending mortgage applications from the initial offer of loan through to the release of funds, whilst maintaining service levels and meeting (and often) exceeding group targets.

Throughout her Paragon career, Rakhee has taken advantage of a number of development opportunities. She holds a Customer Service NVQ and successfully completed Paragon’s Team Leader Academy.

Alongside this, Rakhee has taken the time in her personal life to grow her family, with two children, an 11-year-old daughter and 4-year-old son.

Rakhee said: “I feel very lucky, the company and managers have always been very flexible, helping me balance my personal situation with work.”

Data suggests senior positions within the financial services industry, and mortgage lending to a lesser degree, are more likely to be held by men compared to women. We asked Rakhee to shed some light on the challenges faced by women who wish to progress within the industry.

Rakhee said: “In the past, one of the main challenges for women who wanted to further their careers was the impact that taking time to raise children could have. I do feel that this is changing and now, most companies, including ours, are looking to increase the proportion of females in senior positions.”

Paragon Bank PLC is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Registered in England number 05390593. Registered office 51 Homer Road, Solihull, West Midlands B91 3QJ. Paragon Bank PLC is registered on the Financial Services Register under the firm reference number 604551