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Know Your BDM: Lewis Wheeler, Saffron for Intermediaries

  • 06/10/2016
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Know Your BDM: Lewis Wheeler, Saffron for Intermediaries
This week's Mortgage Solutions' Know Your BDM spotlight shines on Lewis Wheeler, business development manager at Saffron for Intermediaries, who defends the importance of regulation and reveals his dream of joining the police force.

How many advisers and broker firms do you cover in your role?

I look after some of the largest introducers in the industry, located throughout England and Wales. At Saffron for Intermediaries we do not carve-up the country by postcode and instead find it much more effective for each BDM to look after designated key accounts. My accounts include packagers and networks, which are detailed on our Saffron for Intermediaries website. I have had the pleasure of supporting some of these accounts for over 16 months and they keep me busy with a wide range of queries and challenges.

How do you successfully organise and deal with business on a daily basis?

Being a telephone based BDM, my priority is to handle incoming telephone enquiries, but I also receive a large number of enquiries by email. Enquiries cover a wide range of scenarios and challenges – variety is the spice of life, right?

Being organised is absolutely essential and I try to stick to a structure which allows me to handle all enquiries as quickly as possible. I appreciate that for intermediaries getting a response sooner rather than later is paramount, to enable them to provide a great service to their clients.

What issues come up time and time again?

Anything and everything as each day holds new challenges. However, some potential problems could be avoided. For instance, checking affordability using our online affordability calculator prior to submission of a DIP will ensure intermediaries know exactly how much we can lend and will save everyone time. On complicated cases, if intermediaries can provide notes explaining any complexities, it helps underwriters understand cases and can save valuable time and in certain cases enable marginal cases to be approved.

What do you wish brokers understood about your job?

I will always do my utmost to support a case where I can, but there will inevitably be occasions when I am unable to help because some cases simply don’t meet criteria. I hope intermediaries understand it’s a case of being unable to help, rather than being unhelpful.

What do you think is the most important attribute of a good BDM?

Patience, honesty and understanding are all useful attributes, but for me the most important attribute is being able to work effectively as a team with intermediaries.

Everyone involved in the lending process, lenders and intermediaries alike, need to be able to work together as an effective team. For me this doesn’t stop with external relationships but internal relationships as well, so that we can deliver a first-class service to our key accounts and their customers.

When you’re unavailable to contact by telephone, what’s the second-best way for brokers to get in touch?

Email, but as a telephone based BDM I will always prioritise calls over emails. I can respond to voicemails quicker than emails and a phone call is usually a quicker way to resolve an issue, rather than going back and forth via email. A quick phone call can avoid confusion and definitely builds closer relationships.

If you were head of the FCA for the day, what would you change about regulation in the mortgage industry?

It’s easy to be critical of regulation but the reality is that it’s an important part of what we do. Having a strong regulatory framework gives consumers confidence, so I would think of additional ways to make consumers aware of the benefits of the regulation that protects them.

What was your motivation for choosing business development as a career?

I love talking to people – both new and existing contacts – and helping them find a solution.

How do you establish and maintain a good relationship with brokers?

Seeing it from their perspective and getting back to people as quickly as possible so they can manage their customers’ expectations. Also practising what I preach and delivering on promises; simple but effective work ethics really. I am always willing to help whatever the query and if I can do it, I will do it.

And how do you establish and maintain good relationships internally?

As I mentioned earlier, teamwork is paramount and that requires both good communications, responsiveness and also the ability to listen to the views of others.

What’s the strangest question you’ve ever been asked?

‘If the client holds a Singapore passport, resides in Singapore and is paid in the local currency, are they considered to be an expat?’

And finally, what did you want to be growing up?

I wanted to join the police. I can’t remember in what role exactly but the police force always had an appeal to me as a youngster.

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