How many advisers and broker firms do you cover in your role?
I cover the home counties and a selection of postcode areas north of the M25, looking after a lot of individual brokers and larger firms, and this number is growing.
How do you successfully organise and deal with business on a daily basis?
I try to ensure any enquiries, referrals, voicemails and emails are dealt with on the same day so that I can make a fresh start each morning. It is important to keep a record of what’s been agreed and ensure that it is communicated back to the brokers in writing. Knowing how to prioritise is key.
What issues come up time and time again?
Many advisers seem not to have heard of or know very little about the Family Building Society. This gives me the opportunity to introduce myself and tell people about the background and history of National Counties BS, how we launched the Family BS in 2014 and recently rebranded.
What do you wish brokers understood about your job?
I think brokers understand the role of a BDM, but being a BDM for a building society like ours means they can speak directly with one of our underwriters or our head of lending and that each case is underwritten manually.
What do you think is the most important attribute of a good BDM?
A good BDM is someone who wants to help brokers and listens to what they are saying and have asked for – not just helping with their initial enquiry, but all the way through to completion. Providing support to brokers so they can offer the best service to their clients is a fundamental part of my job.
When you’re unavailable to be contacted by telephone, what’s the second-best way for brokers to get in touch?
An email is always good. I check my emails before and after all my meetings and regularly throughout the day. I always reply by email and very often by telephone, particularly when someone has left a voicemail for me. Brokers can also call my support team at head office.
If you were head of the FCA for the day, what would you change about regulation in the mortgage industry?
I would change the rules on affordability, particularly for first-time buyers who may have a long track record of paying rent to a landlord. Why this isn’t taken into account when assessing affordability is beyond me – most notably when the monthly payment is less than the amount the borrower has paid in rent.
What was your motivation for choosing business development as a career?
After working in various roles in the building society sector I enjoy business development the most.
Previously as national BDM for Marsden Building Society I covered the whole of England and Wales. That gave me insight into the role. Also, I love travelling to new places and meeting new people.
How do you establish and maintain a good relationship with brokers?
Building and maintaining a relationship with a broker is the same as any other relationship. You must be open and honest and it is vital that you keep your word and deliver on promises you have made. And you must have good manners.
And how do you establish and maintain good relationships internally?
Speaking with colleagues and picking up the phone while out in the field helps to maintain internal relationships. I find that talking through scenarios and cases is much more efficient than emailing back and forth and it is always nice to speak to colleagues when you’re on the road most of the time.
What’s the strangest question you’ve ever been asked?
I’ve been asked what loan to value I would consider lending on a pirate ship (it looked like Johnny Depp’s ship in Pirates of the Caribbean). The borrower wanted a mortgage on the boat itself.
And finally, what did you want to be growing up?
I wanted to be a volcanologist when I was growing up, but after researching it as a serious option at school I found out that the average life expectancy was early 40s, so I promptly decided it wasn’t the career for me.