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Saturday, 13th April 2024
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A Day in the Life: Steve Haggerty, managing director of Homeloan Management (HML) Back  
Steve Haggerty is managing director of Homeloan Management (HML), which processes mortgages on behalf of some of the UK and Ireland’s largest building societies. He was in Dublin recently for the presentation of a study HML commissioned. The study looked at the underlying socio and economic conditions that prevail in the Irish housing market and their potential long term impact on the housing and mortgage markets.
5:45am It’s Monday morning. I am awoken by a loud purring in my right ear and a light tugging of the duvet. Stumpy, our half Manx cat wants to be let out. My wife Sue is the cat lover in the house, but she wears ear-plugs to bed and never hears the cat, so it falls to me to stumble out of bed and let him out. With the alarm due to go off at 6.00am I decide not to get back into bed, although sorely tempted on such a cold morning. I switch it off and head for my shower and shave.

6:30am I leave the house at the usual time and set off on the twenty mile drive from Harrogate to Skipton which sees me arrive at the office for 7.00pm. Having left home without sustenance, my priority is the first cup of coffee of the day, so having switched on my PC I head for the Board Dining Room kitchen, hoping there will be some milk in the fridge. By the time I get back to my office, coffee in hand, the PC will have fired up and I can check out the emails that have arrived since I logged off on Friday.

8:00am By the time my secretary Liz arrives, I will have pulled my Board report together for submission to Group and dealt with some outstanding dictation. Liz comes in with the day’s post together with the newspapers and the trade press and we go through the diary for the week, with her pointing out any changes or clashes as well as confirming travel arrangements for what will be a hectic week, split between Dublin, London, Leeds and Skipton.

9:00am Time to set off to the airport for the 10:50am Ryanair flight to Dublin. I meet up with my colleagues Paul Fenn our development director and Mike Hildred, head of marketing and communications in the lounge and we go through the arrangements for the day. Last year we commissioned a piece of research into the underlying socio and economic conditions that prevail in the Irish market and their potential long term impact on the housing and mortgage markets. Today, the author of the report, Dr Brian Lucey, lecturer in Finance will be presenting his findings to an invited audience of executives from the big players in the Dublin financial services market together with journalists, commentators and Government agencies.

11:45am On landing we head straight for the taxi rank and a cab into the city centre where we have just enough time to check into our hotel before heading off on the short walk down Grafton Street to Trinity College. Dr Lucey has invited us for lunch in one of the excellent staff dining rooms in Trinity and we have a chance to talk around some of his findings and decide how we are going to approach the presentation. We agree that I will do a brief introduction to set the scene and explain HML’s interest in the Irish market and that he will then pull out some highlights, explain his conclusions, and conduct a questions and answer session before getting stuck into refreshments.

2:00pm Lunch was excellent and we leave the table confident that we chose the right man to do this piece of work. We have a short tour around Trinity and look at the venue for the presentation this evening before making our way back to the hotel.

3:00pm With a pot of tea ordered from room service, it’s time to settle down and get stuck into the inevitable emails and telephone calls that have become the staple diet of time spent away from the office. Fortunately, nothing is ‘on fire’ and after catching up with my secretary there is time to put the finishing touches to my speech, and then a quick relax with the newspaper and the chance to finish off the Sodoku and crossword started on the aeroplane.

5:30pm A quick shower and change and then off to Trinity to check arrangements. On arrival at the East Dining Hall, I am immediately impressed by the transformation that has taken place since earlier this afternoon. The set looks good and my confidence increases that the event will be well received.

6:15pm The guests start to arrive and are met and greeted by my team and are given a copy of Dr Lucey’s report before being offered a drink. The presentation is due to commence at 6:30pm, but by the time the appointed hour is reached there are less than 50 people in the room. Word reaches us that there has been a big accident on the motorway just outside Dublin and the city centre is gridlocked. We decide to wait for a further ten minutes to allow for latecomers and then to get under way.

7:30pm It has gone well. The presentation was well received and generated a number of interesting questions. Dr Lucey’s conclusion that there is no bubble in the housing market and that a crash or severe correction is not imminent is good news for the lenders in the audience and should get some positive coverage in the press tomorrow. Notwithstanding the transportation difficulties, I can’t help feeling slightly disappointed by the level of interest shown, particularly by the established lending community. It seems odd that every cab driver and bar tender in Dublin is keenly interested in what is happening in the market, but that the banks and market makers seem less so!

8:30pm Time to relax, and six of us head back up Grafton Street to the Green and on to my favourite restaurant in Dublin – The Unicorn. The food is always top class and even though the chef is the brother-in-law of my Development Director, the service is excellent, as I am sure it would be even if there were no connection.

11:30pm Back to the hotel and fall into bed hoping to sleep better than I usually do in hotels. The alarm is set for 6:00am in readiness for the early flight back to Leeds and the next leg of merry-go-round.

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