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Spenda in the Spotlight – Getting to know our Chief Credit and Risk Officer, Corrie Hassan

Ola Polczynski
8 September - 3 min read

Last year, we were very fortunate to have Corrie Hassan join our Team. As a very experienced international Credit Management professional, her risk and operational management knowledge has been an invaluable asset to the business. 

Prior to joining Spenda, Corrie co-founded Invigo, a provider of business finance solutions, which was acquired by Spenda in 2021. Today, Corrie is the driving force behind Spenda’s lending team, including product development and risk management.

We decided to sit down with Corrie to get to know her better, understand more about the Credit and Risk Team, and gather some top tips on how to succeed as a woman in the world of tech and finance.

Tell us a bit about yourself: What is your background and how did you get into lending?

I started out my career in Credit Management in London and stayed in the industry for a few years before securing my first finance role in my twenties. Over the 12-years that followed, I was promoted to a number of positions within the same company, including, Credit Officer and  Operations Manager. I was then seconded to Australia as the ‘UK Shareholders Representative’ which is how I ended up here. I was only supposed to stay for 6 months but here I am 17 years later. Australia immediately felt like home to me, I loved the people, the beautiful beaches and bushland and of course the amazing weather.

One of my key and most interesting roles within that Group was focused on fraud and looking at the different types of issues that occur in lending, and I would say I developed many of my core skills during that time.

In 2007, I was hired to set up the finance arm (Invoice Finance focused) for an ASX listed company in Australia and successfully grew the business over a period of 10 years until it was sold in 2017. Soon after that I joined forces with Andrew Hilton and we formed Invigo. We were both aligned in our focus to deliver finance in a more innovative and user friendly way. We felt that the industry needed to move forward as many providers were delivering finance in an archaic manner. There was a lack of technology involved and client’s were often manually uploading their information or sending numerous emails with attachments. Turnaround times on funding were therefore slow due to the manual processing involved.

Was it an easy decision to merge Invigo with Spenda?

Yes, absolutely – we were very much aligned from day one. We became aware of Spenda’s capabilities, and it was easy to see that although we were very different businesses, there was a great synergy and mutual focus in delivering finance effectively using technology and in merging a payments and finance solution together. 

What does a typical day look like for you?

A typical day for me consists of: 

  • Overseeing the risk of the existing customer loan book and authorising payments to customers 
  • Underwriting any new customers that have applied 
  • Developing new procedures and credit policies for new products  
  • Supporting and managing the Funding Team   
  • Overseeing and managing the Debt Warehouse
  • Working with the product development team to add innovative lending solutions within the Spenda ecosystem

How do you assess what businesses are a good fit for Spenda?

As an ASX listed company we have an obligation to our shareholders to ensure that we have strong credit and risk policies in place and don’t take high risk exposure. As a general principle our strategy focuses on lending to well established businesses with a good track record.

When considering whether to provide funding to a customer, we always do a deep dive into the business and the Directors who are running it. We have an experienced credit committee so we have a very good idea of what is a good credit risk and what is not. Our main goal is to support profitable businesses and help them grow and take their business to the next level.  

Our products are secured over the businesses we lend to and, in addition to this we usually have personal guarantees in place from the Directors. We also have regular contact with our clients which helps to mitigate the risk of any losses so there are no surprises.  

The Underwriting Team has clear acceptance criteria and credit matrixes which we regularly update depending on what is happening in a particular industry, sector or generally in the economy. I believe a dynamic and collaborative approach to credit is key to ensuring the best results. 

What excites you most about your job and working at Spenda?

I take a lot of pride in seeing the lending products evolve  within the Spenda ecosystem and I enjoy having the ability to help many Australian businesses thrive and grow by refining  our products. 

It’s also a pleasure to work closely with the Spenda Executive Leadership team who are very diverse and all bring something different to the table in terms of experience and skill sets.  

 

What's it like being a woman in finance, which is considered a male-dominated field? Do you have tips for aspiring women?

The finance industry is indeed very male-dominated and in the earlier stages of my career I had encountered a few occasions where it was assumed that a male member of my staff is my manager, and I have also been mistaken for the waitress at networking events. It happens! But my takeaway is that at the end of the day you have to be able to hold your own, persevere and ensure you hold a no-nonsense approach to any sort of sexist behaviour –  but also have a sense of humour and not take yourself too seriously. 

Thankfully, at Spenda this has not been an issue as the company embraces gender and cultural diversity, which makes me feel respected and empowered.

 

On a more personal note, what do you like to do in your spare time?

I love spending time with my 10 year old son, bush walking and paddle boarding – that’s my happy place. 

 

Think you’ve got what it takes to join the Spenda team? We’re always on the lookout for amazing talent to join our growing team, so hop on over to our Careers page and get in touch with us.

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