How many advisers and broker firms do you cover in your role?
I currently cover around 60 key accounts, which is around 450 brokers. Due to Bluestone’s increased demand in the current market, I see these numbers increasing over the coming months.
How do you successfully organise and deal with business on a daily basis?
To ensure I get the most out of my days, planning is key. I organise my to do list the night before, ensuring the most important tasks are prioritised. I set an objective for each appointment, for example criteria education, and aim to review any pipeline cases. I also look for ways that I can understand the accounts more as well as going through any useful processing tips.
After my meetings, I aim to book in a minimum of three meetings for the future to ensure my diary is always full and that I have regular contact with my accounts. In-between this, I like to keep on top of calls and emails. I have, somewhat, ‘email OCD’ so I can’t have too many outstanding.
What issues come up time and time again?
I do find that customers may not yet fit criteria with other lenders due to application timing. Most lenders’ criteria are applied to the date of application, whereas Bluestone’s applies to the time of completions. Therefore, we can get the application rolling sooner which can help if the customer has already found a property.
What do you wish brokers understood about your job?
Just how much we can help. By communicating with us, they could submit cases that they are possibly unable to place elsewhere. It is always worth getting in touch with us.
What do you think is the most important attribute of a good BDM?
Doing what you say you are going to do. Managing relationships and providing support is so important for my role and brokers need someone who will deliver, as well as be someone they can trust.
When you’re unavailable to be contacted by telephone, what’s the second-best way for brokers to get in touch?
Email is a good second option, but leaving a voicemail is just as good. I always like to do call-backs as soon as I come out of meetings. We also have a new business enquiry line.
If you were head of the FCA for the day, what would you change about regulation in the mortgage industry?
I would ease lending restrictions for self-employed borrowers. There are almost five million self-employed workers in the UK who make up 15% of our workforce. Although they are the backbone to the economy, many still struggle to meet the affordability checks used by high-street lenders due to their irregular or complex sources of income. By easing lending restrictions and assessing their affordability on a case-by-case basis, I would hope that many more will be able to secure a mortgage they deserve.
What was your motivation for choosing business development as a career?
I had previously been a senior underwriter for two other lenders, totalling eight years. This gave me a great foundation and I always liked the idea of being a BDM/key account manager. Being able to support brokers and building business volumes really motivates me.
How do you establish and maintain a good relationship with brokers?
Understanding what their ambitions are and what they expect of me and Bluestone as a lender is key. Regular contact is also important and being there when they need me.
And how do you establish and maintain good relationships internally?
I live in London and I’m quite lucky that our main office is here. This gives me a great opportunity to spend time in the office and speak to all the different teams face to face.
What’s the strangest question you’ve ever been asked?
“Will you take cattle in South Africa as deposit?” Out of all of the possible sources of deposit, this one was the strangest. The answer in the end was yes, by the way. As long as we could evidence the sale of the cattle and then carry out an AML check on the transfer of funds to the UK.
And finally, what did you want to be growing up?
A footballer for Tottenham Hotspur FC or NBA basketball player. Turns out I didn’t grow tall enough nor have the talent, although I’d be happy to challenge any broker to a one-on-one game.