How many brokers and broker firms do you cover in your role?
I currently support eight key accounts that include a mix of packagers and large direct accounts. Some of our packagers have their own in-house broker teams so provide B2C as well as B2B offerings. Enquiries range from standard buy to let through to more complex enquiries such as multi-unit freehold blocks, HMOs and expat cases.
How do you successfully organise and deal with business on a daily basis?
I take note of every enquiry to ensure that it is dealt with prior to close of business that day. Having been a broker myself, I understand the importance of getting information back to advisers who in turn are reporting back to their clients. Anything I can do to help our accounts exceed client expectations and reduce the response times to revert to their client secures the long-term relationship between the firm and the bank.
What issues come up time and time again?
The bank has a very clear vision in terms of its preferred mortgage client. In achieving this, there are particular criteria areas that are challenged by brokers, one being our requirement for landlords to hold three buy to lets in their portfolio at application. This enables us to get a clear picture of the borrower and to evidence their experience of the market, which helps us take a pragmatic view during loan underwriting.
What do you wish brokers understood about your job?
The position of business development manager can be perceived as an easy role. When I am visiting my accounts I give them my undivided attention and this can mean that on occasions, there is sometimes a delay between taking an initial enquiry, via voicemail or email, and responding to the broker. I always ensure that my brokers get a response from me by the close of the working day.
What do you think is the most important attribute in a good BDM?
Having been a broker myself, I think the ability to understand how brokers work, including their specific target markets and associated client expectations really helps me do my job well. Of course, treats for the accounts when I visit is also just as important!
When you’re unavailable to contact via telephone, what’s the second-best way for brokers to get in touch?
My accounts all know that a voicemail or email will get them a same-day response. Alternatively, if a case is urgent, they have the contact details of the support team at our head office.
If you were head of the FCA for the day, what would you change about regulation in the mortgage industry?
Affordability testing against their current rental costs to allow more first-time buyers to be able to access the residential market. If they have a proven track record of paying rent, this needs to be recognised.
What was your motivation for choosing business development as a career?
I’ve always enjoyed coaching and training people. I have an extensive knowledge of the market and I enjoy working through the problem solving of complex transactions. The ability to share this skill set with the broker community is what appealed to me when considering this role.
How do you establish and maintain a good relationship with brokers?
Listening – the key to a good relationship is to be able to understand what the other person or business needs. As a people person, I recognise the value in this and I endeavour to give each of my brokers what they need from a communicative relationship manager.
And how do you establish and maintain good relationships internally?
Working as a small close knit team, we understand each other’s roles and responsibilities. Keeping it fun and enjoyable is important. We are all working towards the same goal of growing Axis Bank within the specialist buy-to-let market and teamwork is key to that.
What’s the strangest question you’ve ever been asked?
I have had a few, but a recent one springs to mind. Which county is Kent in? From an individual who had worked in the area.
And finally, what did you want to be growing up?
A teacher – I have always enjoyed working with people. Being able to pass on knowledge and see the benefits of this to others is a rewarding experience.