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Know Your BDM: Sophie Kettle, Mint Bridging

by: Specialist Lending Solutions
  • 22/11/2016
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Know Your BDM: Sophie Kettle, Mint Bridging
Bridging is anything but predictable and the story behind each deal is often intricate, factors which play right into the hands of this week's Know Your BDM star, Sophie Kettle of Mint Bridging.

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

I personally cover over 200 regular business and consistent referral clients for Mint Bridging. I deal with potentially 200 more on an occasional basis as bridging is not their core business, but they come back to me when they have enquiries.

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

Organisation is key to our company. There are new enquiries, terms to be issued, applications coming in and of course we are in meetings and on calls with brokers all day. At Mint, we work as a tight knit team and get the broker’s case to our underwriters as soon as possible. I ensure that brokers and introducers are experiencing the highest level of service and that I fully understand their case with as much detail as possible, so I can get terms back to them quickly.

We provide them with a response timeline and always reply within that duration – it’s important to us that they know we respect their deadlines. When we issue terms to a broker or client, our underwriters can run with those terms and take that case all the way through to completion. We pride ourselves with the knowledge that when we give the broker/client terms, they have been issued with the authority that we are happy with the deal, and we do not renegotiate or decline before completion.

What issues come up time and time again?

I often find that some borrowers’ solicitors are not that familiar with the timescales nor the peculiarities of bridging transactions. Bridging is rapidly rising as mainstream but to solicitors not used to the process, it can require some hand holding as we explain each step to them.

What do you wish brokers understood about your job?

Having previously been a broker myself, I think that the majority of brokers do understand the role of a BDM. Sometimes I need to reiterate the need for a property address and client’s experience at enquiry stage, as we will look at each and every asset before offering terms. This is because (as previously stated) once we have confirmed terms, we will stand by them as we have issued these on an informed basis.

What do you think is the most important attribute in a good BDM?
Service and returning calls is paramount to us at Mint, and a highly reliable attribute we’re known for in the industry. Having a BDM who is unavailable is not remotely useful and doesn’t help the broker get the business written. It also doesn’t reflect well on the company brand. Brokers need to know you can get the deal done quickly, efficiently and you can be relied on 24/7.

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

If a broker were to leave me a message I always respond to them immediately, even if they communicate by text or email. As our legal and underwriting team are in-house, we can pick up cases incredibly fast and move these forward. A happy broker is the most important part of our reputation and brand strategy at Mint.

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

I think that there needs to be an ability or an understanding that focuses on a common sense approach. Not every circumstance can be fitted into a box and ticked off. It’s not that black and white.

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

I like to be in a different place day on day and excel on the variety of moving parts changing hourly. As a former broker I understand their frustrations and the need to get business done within a crunch time. As I have first-hand experience on the other side of the desk this enables me to help them as I speak their language, so Mint assures the best outcome for the client. I form relationships well and pride in my organisational and multi-tasking skills. From having these credentials, I know the process inside out so venturing into business development was a natural next step for me.

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

Reliability and deliverability is key to good relationship building. I know that brokers like working with me and they know I will get back to them promptly. When you first start talking to a new broker, you need to earn their trust and respect to deliver on any promise made. But when you work hard and deliver on these, brokers will come back to you repeatedly as they simply want reliability and honesty.

And how do you establish and maintain good relationships internally?

As I work remotely from Mint’s head office, it is vital that I communicate regularly with my team from underwriting, sales, finance to credit. This means that we are all singing from the same hymn sheet. BDMs and underwriters form the closest partnership especially at the early stage, as one cannot function without the other. At Mint, we have grown and developed rapidly over my time and we are a strong, successful team. We all have the same goal in mind: offering the best service and results through the full loan term.

What’s the strangest question you’ve ever been asked?
I have been asked if we can lend on a barge or a crane. Another enquiry was unique: instead of bank statements, the client wanted to know if they could just write a list of what they regularly spend. But the one that sticks in my mind was a client who owned a frog museum. This has to be the quirkiest security enquiry I’ve ever heard of.

And finally, what did you want to be growing up?
I am fascinated with solving crime and the science behind it, so I have always wanted to delve more in forensics and pathology.

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