Alistair Gilfillian 2018 Winner

  • 22 February 2019
  • Young Banker of the Year

Alistair Gilfillan's experience of Young Banker of the Year

The Problem

The UK is in a savings crisis, with Britons saving less than they have at any time in 50 years. The risk of falling into problem debt, estimated to cost the country £8.3bn, is rising; with low-income households (25% of population) averaging less than £100 in savings. It is estimated that if every household in the UK had £1,000 in savings half a million households would be prevented from falling into problem debt. Split the Difference can help people save this money.

The solution

Split the Difference designed for low income households, helping them save cash for emergencies. Halifax, with its rich savings heritage, broad customer reach and innovative brand, has the scope to deliver the scheme across the UK. Whilst aimed at low-income households, it is open to all.

Alistair reflects on his accolade and how his Save the Difference idea, designed to help low-income families build a nest egg, is progressing.

“After being announced the winner, the rest of the evening flew by. It was an honour to be given the award and, as I see it, a seal of approval for the idea that I think could improve the lives of millions of low-income households across the country. I celebrated with my family (including calling a very sleepy Granny in Edinburgh), who were all very proud. I arrived back to office with a full inbox, some bunting on my desk and a balloon that hadn’t made it past security (don’t ask). Some senior figures across the bank have congratulated me, including our CFO, which has boosted my profile, as well as that of the competition and the Institute.

“I hope my win, as with Bernard Adjei’s (2016 winner also from Lloyds Banking Group) before me, will encourage colleagues from the bank to enter this year. As the competition encourages innovation, improving customer outcomes and raising standards and professionalism in banking, there’s a clear fit with our vision as an organisation. It provides an avenue for new ideas to originate from any area of the bank.”

A growing network

Gilfillan continues: “Winning the competition has also expanded my network across functions, with the award being a great calling card to meet people across the bank. Lloyds also recognised the achievements of a handful of young professionals, inviting us to attend an external networking event. There’s also been some media interest, giving me a chance to share my experiences more broadly, with a Desert-Island-Discs-style interview on Share Radio and a feature in Business Quarter.

“The idea continues to progress, with my network in our Group Transformation division being strengthened through the competition. I’ve visited ‘Labs’ that have implemented Save the Change in Halifax and are working on another proposition that has potential synergy with my idea. It’s been fascinating to see the various ideas being considered in the bank, and encouraging that Split the Difference is part of these conversations.”

Find out more about Young Banker of the Year 2019.