How many brokers and broker firms do you cover in your role?
I work closely with the top 100 broker firms across the North West, an area which I have now been covering for Scottish Widows Bank for the past 12 years. This means that I look after approximately 280 individual advisers.
How do you successfully organise and deal with business on a daily basis?
I aim to end each day having completed all key tasks and having made a ‘to do’ list. This allows me to start each day with focus, and understand what I need to prioritise.
Forward planning is critical for a BDM, so I aim to have appointments booked up to two weeks in advance. I meet with between 12 and 15 broker firms each week using time between meetings to return e-mails and calls and book new appointments.
What issues come up time and time again?
From speaking to brokers, there seem to be two common myths about Scottish Widows Bank. The first is that we only lend to professionals, and the second is that offset mortgages are only beneficial to higher rate tax payers with large savings.
Both myths are dispelled by explaining that we lend to a range of customers, and by highlighting current rates and using our offset calculator online.
What do you wish brokers understood about your job?
I think most brokers understand the pressures and demands of our role, what it entails and I feel the brokers I work with really do appreciate our help and support.
What do you think is the most important attribute in a good BDM?
Being open and honest in relation to what can and can’t be delivered and offering suggestions on ways around a potential issue. This helps to build trust and in turn strengthens and develops relationships.
When you’re unavailable to contact via telephone, what’s the second best way for brokers to get in touch?
We have an intermediary support team based in Edinburgh that is available between 8am and 6pm most days. The team is really important as when brokers can’t reach me, they will call the team to check criteria, discuss a new business enquiry or for assistance in submitting a case.
If you were head of the FCA for the day, what would you change about regulation in the mortgage industry?
I would make questions on offset mortgages a compulsory part of the broker fact find so more eligible customers could have access to the products.
What was your motivation for choosing business development as a career?
It was a natural progression for me as I started working for Halifax back in the late 1980s and was fortunate to join at a time when they were looking to develop business via the intermediary market. I was allowed out twice a week at the beginning on foot (no-one would trust me with a car for some reason).
I really enjoyed meeting people in their own environment, educating them on what we could offer and working with them to develop business opportunities. It was from here that branch-based and then regional mortgage desks evolved.
How do you establish and maintain a good relationship with brokers?
All initial meetings are face-to-face so I can get an understanding of the broker’s business, what is important to them and what level of support they want from me and how they would like this to be delivered.
In my experience, almost all brokers want someone who is knowledgeable and accessible, who they feel will help and support them to either develop their business or when they need assistance when something has not quite gone according to plan. This is often the true test of a good BDM – someone who knows the stakeholders within their own brand and can get things sorted quickly.
And how do you establish and maintain good relationships internally?
It can be challenging when you work remotely. I always put myself in the other person’s shoes when asking for something so they can understand the value they are adding to the broker and customer.
I always say thank you for a job well done and pass on broker feedback. I try to speak to as many of the wider team as possible and ask them if there are areas we could improve.
What’s the strangest question you’ve ever been asked?
How much do we charge for double glazing at Scottish Windows?
And finally, what did you want to be growing up?
A teacher. It’s probably a wise move that I didn’t venture down that path. After spending just one day at a school with a group of 11 year-olds I was in desperate need of a drink.