Meet Donna, one of our Business Specialists supporting SMEs in the community

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Meet Donna, one of our Business Specialists supporting SMEs in the community

Donna is one of over 300 dedicated NatWest Business Specialists who deliver face to face services and advice to new and existing customers.

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30 July 2014

Donna Finley, Business Specialist for NatWest

Donna's role is one of the main faces of business banking in the local business community working with customers and key business stakeholders to help deliver on the our customer promise to be the best bank for Small and Medium sized Enterprises in the UK.The Business Specialist role was introduced in December 2012 and is different to any previous role at the bank. The role involves working in the local business community, enhancing the bank’s presence with various enterprise groups as well as being the face to face contact in branch for business customers and start up's. The role has evolved since being introduced and has made a huge difference to local market places. 

Donna joined the bank straight from school in October 1985 working in the machine room at the Plaistow branch in East London. 

Donna says:

“There are usually around 25-30 attendees and the feedback has been phenomenal, both from the attendees themselves and the Business Counsellors at the Enterprise Centre. It's through this work that my team and our Regional Director, David Ginn, have been asked to judge the Barking & Dagenham Business Awards which are now well under way.”

‘It is always rewarding to see a start up customer flourish, especially when NatWest has helped to make their dreams possible by providing financial support. One customer was so pleased with the service received when she opened her estate agency business that she introduced her sister to me as she was thinking of purchasing a beauty salon in Hornchurch. I met with her and discussed her options and after receiving her business plan and cash flow projections we agreed a £25k small business loan....the customer was delighted! This business is now going from strength to strength.” 

Donna says:

“I suppose the thing that sticks in my mind about my machine room days, which is where every new entrant started at that time, is having to stay late when the 'rems' and 'giros' were wrong and didn't balance. On my first few days in the bank I had some very late nights and I felt extremely sorry for myself arriving home late thinking 'is this what it will be like for the next 20 years?!!’ Joining the bank as a school leaver, it was such a culture shock to leave the house very early in the morning and get home when it was very dark! Looking back now, I have to say, these first few years in the bank were actually my most memorable, I remember thinking that all I wanted to do was cashiering as this looked the most glamorous!!

This October I will have been a bank employee for 29 years and I can honestly say that I still look back at these early years with fond memories.

“While working in the Barking branch my then Branch Manager was promoted to a Business Relationship Manager in Ilford Business Centre. When a Business Adviser role came available in the same team he contacted me to ask if I would like to join Business Banking as he felt I would be ideal for the role........the rest is history as they say!!

The skills I use today, such as facilitating Start Up Workshops, isn't something that came easy. I had to take myself out of my comfort zone but actually found that the more I stretched myself the easier it got. That, together with great mentoring and guidance by my line manager Glenn Wilson, gave me the encouragement and confidence to use and develop skills I honestly didn't know I had!” 

Stefania Rossi, SR & DJ Ventures Ltd, says:

"Donna's time and expertise have been invaluable for our business. Where other banks were only interested in facts and figures, Donna took the time to get to know us, understand the nature of the business and fully review and discuss the business plan, providing invaluable advice and guidance. Without her assistance in obtaining our business loan, we would not be in the position we are today." 

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