How many brokers and broker firms do you cover in your role?
I support over 1,000 individual registered brokers across the North East.
How do you successfully organise and deal with business on a daily basis?
I spend four days of the week presenting Accord’s mortgage proposition to brokers, which involves a lot of travelling, plus case management and entertaining. Then on the fifth day I tend to do the beloved admin.
What issues come up time and time again?
The high level of free legal requests lenders’ certified conveyancers are experiencing at the moment is a particular bugbear. There are a limited number of firms that offer this service, and they’ve seen a deluge of requests as more and more new lenders enter the market. This has impacted turnaround times on mortgage completions, which is understandably frustrating for brokers and their clients, as well as lenders.
At Accord we offer a choice of free legal or cashback options on many of our mortgages to provide borrowers with the option of finding their own solicitor should they wish.
What do you wish brokers understood about your job?
I always try to help brokers with a case as much as I can, but I don’t have a magic wand. While we take a can-do approach to lending there may be certain occasions when we are unable to make an offer. In these instances I always explain to the broker the reasoning behind our decision.
What do you think is the most important attribute in a good BDM?
It’s important to keep abreast of the changing market and regulation to provide brokers with lending solutions, particularly in niche areas, and signpost them to another lender if we are unable to help.
Humour is also an important attribute for a BDM, and the ability to tell bad jokes.
For instance: a broker walks into a fish and chip shop with a live salmon over his shoulder. He asks the owner if they sell fish cakes.
The owner replies, “Yes, of course we do”.
“Great” the broker responds, pointing at his salmon, “It’s his birthday.” (love it! Ed.)
When you’re unavailable to contact via telephone, what’s the second best way for brokers to get in touch?
Brokers can drop me an email or text if I am unavailable. Those who need an urgent answer on a sales related query can contact our broker support team on 0345 1200 866, or use our web-chat facility. Alternatively, brokers can speak directly to the underwriter working on their case.
If you were head of the FCA for the day, what would you change about regulation in the mortgage industry?
It’s clear that there is a need for self-cert mortgages, such as for workers who receive big bonuses, or people on zero-hour contracts. So, I’d bring those back, but I’d carefully regulate and manage them to ensure they were offered for the right reasons.
What was your motivation for choosing business development as a career?
I applied for a newly created BDM role while I was working as a branch manager for a building society. I initially thought it would be a short-term role because the majority of mortgage business was done through direct channels at the time.
However, 25 years on I’m still in the role and intermediary business now equates to 70% of the mortgage market, so it shows how far things have come.
How do you establish and maintain a good relationship with brokers?
Trust is vital to maintain relationships. To me my role is not just about selling, it’s important to see a case through to completion to ensure that a broker gets paid.
And how do you establish and maintain good relationships internally?
The Accord team are very passionate about what they do, and we’re all focused on the same goal – to support brokers. I aim to understand the different roles within the organisation and develop relationships with the people who can help to successfully process a case – and therefore help me to strengthen my relationships with brokers.
What’s the strangest question you’ve ever been asked?
“Dad, are those wind turbines powered by electricity?” by my son who was five-years old at the time.
And finally, what did you want to be growing up?
Growing up in the North East, the job market was focused on coal mining and heavy industry. But rather than following my Dad down the pit I wanted to work in a bank.