1. How many brokers and broker firms do you cover in your role?
I cover a large region, encompassing east London, Essex and East Anglia, so I have around 600 brokers and counting. It’s clearly an important market for Fleet Mortgages and my intention is to get out and meet as many of those brokers as possible.
2. How do you successfully organise and manage business on a daily basis?
By working methodically, and making notes. In this business we hear a lot about, as compliance always says, ‘if it’s not written down it doesn’t exist’, so you could say that I try to adopt a similar approach. It makes my life, and those of my broker contacts, easier if I make lots and lots of notes – it seems to work for me.
3. What do you wish brokers understood about your job?
That we don’t make the criteria, we merely inform them what it is. I do understand why the questions get asked, because brokers want to do what’s best for their client, and if they have a strong relationship with a lender or BDM, they probably think it’s a question worth asking.
4. What do you think is the most important attribute in a good BDM?
Being able to build relationships is obviously key because without that relationship you’re not going to get very far in the role. Certainly, it helps that I can remember what it is like to be a broker – I think this gives you an empathy and an ability to understand where brokers are coming from. I’ve found that it’s appreciated when you’re able to put yourself in the broker’s shoes and work through a case with them.
5. When you’re unavailable to contact via telephone, what’s the second-best way for brokers to get in touch?
E-mail as they can be picked up from my phone, laptop and tablet. However, if someone does need to speak to us, we have a fantastic sales team that are always happy to help on 01252 916800.
6. If you were head of the FCA for the day, what would you change about regulation in the mortgage industry?
Tightening up who we lend to so everyone follows Fleet Mortgages’ lead in only lending to those who can afford it. That focus underlies everything we do, and I get the impression with certain lenders that the ability to pay still gets lost in the quest to get the deal completed. I don’t believe this approach works in anyone’s favour, and simply heaps more regulatory scrutiny on everyone.
7. What was your motivation for choosing business development as a career?
It’s a role where you meet lots of interesting people and can really make a difference to their business and profitability.
8. How do you establish and maintain a good relationship with brokers?
Simply by delivering on what you promise, returning calls and keeping them informed. I also like to make sure that every appointment has a clear goal, and we’re all aware, on leaving each other, what the next steps are to achieving it.
9. And how do you establish and maintain good relationships internally?
Although we are the public face that brokers see, we couldn’t do half of what we do without the support we get. We have some incredibly talented, experienced and dedicated people at Fleet Mortgages who, for want of a better phrase, work ‘behind the scenes’. Their hard work is absolutely appreciated even though they don’t often get the glory. A thank you goes a long way.
10. What’s the strangest question you’ve ever been asked?
Some brokers new to the industry have some strange questions, like the difference between residential, commercial and buy-to-let mortgages. But I guess that’s the role of the BDM to answer such questions, and it’s why you earn CPD points for seeing us. No question is ‘silly’ because ultimately it’s helping move a case along.
11. And finally, what did you want to be growing up?
Easy. A Formula 1 driver.