Who is Craig Farmer?
With a strong background in financial services, Craig Farmer is responsible for all areas of risk at Fleximize, including the lending policy, recoveries and product development. Away from the office, Farmer is something of a family man, and enjoys helping his two children with their studies. He’s also a Derby County fan, something he’s not enjoying as much at the moment.
Craig Farmer as chief risk officer
Farmer was appointed as Fleximize’s chief risk officer in February 2017, and has been charged with developing the company’s product offering, overseeing the recoveries process, and taking ownership of the lending policy, while ensuring the company has a robust, sustainable credit portfolio.
As a key member of the Fleximize credit committee, Farmer is heavily involved in all lending decisions, and works closely with Fleximize’s expert underwriters to build funding packages that suit the needs of clients, while minimizing credit risk.
Farmer also holds regular meetings with clients and brokers, to ensure Fleximize’s products meet the requirements of small businesses, and are appropriate for the company and business environment alike. As such, Farmer will play an important role as Fleximize continues to roll out new products.
Craig Farmer's quick-fire round
- What's your favourite food?
My wife's lasagne
- One film you can watch again and again?
Any of the Marx Brothers or Road to ... films
- Best band in the world?
- Can you share a culinary tip?
Don't ask me to poach eggs.
- Favourite TV show?
Big Bang Theory or Game of Thrones
What did Craig Farmer do before he joined Fleximize?
Farmer graduated from the University of Derby in 1997 with a degree in business administration, after completing his first year of study at the University of Swansea. He went on to attain a finance degree from the Chartered Institute of Bankers, of which he became an associate in 2003.
While studying for his finance degree, Farmer was recruited onto the global executive training scheme at HSBC, and was one of 20 successful candidates from over 3,500 applicants. During the two-year training programme with the bank, Farmer’s secondments included service & sales for the Midlands divisional management centre, regional administration manager for wealth, and project lead for the offshore wealth opportunities programme.
In February 2003, Farmer became a commercial manager for HSBC, covering the Cheltenham area. He remained in the role for four years, before taking a job as area manager (personal financial services) in February 2007, which involved overseeing ten branches across Cheltenham, the Forest of Dean and Herefordshire. In the space of five months, Farmer improved sales growth, customer satisfaction and employee engagement across the region, with the area ranking as number one in the UK while he was in the role.
Between August 2007 and October 2008, Farmer led the Peterborough branch of HSBC from the bottom 10% to top 15% of circa 1,660 branches in the UK. He then piloted the role of regional credit manager for the East Midlands, which saw him designing, writing and presenting a one-day lending course to all branch managers and mortgage managers in the region. Farmer also had to manage any customer credit complaints, or other credit issues, from the 100+ branches in the region.
From there, Farmer stepped up to the position of group risk manager for HSBC’s personal financial services division. Working as part of a small team managing circa $500 billion of assets, Farmer was the subject matter expert (SME) for the bank’s $60 billion small business portfolio.
Farmer left HSBC in July 2012, and spent six months as finance director for Prowind (UK), a windfarm development company and consultancy. As well as reporting monthly to the business’ German parent company, Farmer also headed up negotiations for new overseas contracts, which involved meeting with local dignitaries and politicians, sourcing funding, and managing ongoing relationships.
A return to the world of banking beckoned, however, and in April 2013, Farmer joined Aldermore Bank as a sanctioning manager in the commercial mortgages team. Eight months later, he was promoted to senior credit manager, assuming responsibility for commercial mortgage and property development credit policies, as well as associated work streams, including the presentation of policy amendments to the credit management committee.
Prior to joining Fleximize in February 2017, Farmer oversaw Aldermore’s sub-£500,000 commercial mortgage underwriting and business development teams in Peterborough and nationwide.