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Know Your BDM: Chris Kirby, Northview Group

  • 16/03/2018
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Know Your BDM: Chris Kirby, Northview Group
This week Mortgage Solutions is speaking to Chris Kirby, business development manager for Northview Group.

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

I manage the Central West region, which is the West Midlands and most of Wales, so it’s a big area with a lot of brokers.


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

Planning ahead is important. I allow time between my visits to enable me to have the flexibility to manage calls and email responses in a timely manner, and I’m a big user of outlook not just for appointments, but for other tasks on my to-do list.


What issues come up time and time again?

Every day throws up different challenges, which is part of the appeal of the job. As I work for a specialist lender, and the nature of the business we do tends to be more complex, the issues for want of a better word are down to this complexity. However, with a bit of drilling down, we’re able to get the answers we need.


What do you wish brokers understood about your job?

Brokers understand my role as their BDM quite well overall with regards to how accessible we are and when to expect a response to queries. If anything, it’s understanding that lenders have their own criteria for a reason, so sometimes we cannot help. However if it fits our criteria, we will always look to lend.


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

Reliability. Whether that is getting back to brokers in a timely manner, or when you say you will, but also making sure the information you are providing is correct, as you don’t want to be wasting a broker’s time. Being able to say “No”, and occasionally delivering bad news are also important factors in building successful long-term relationships.


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

Brokers can always send me an email, and I will respond as soon as I can, the same if they wish to leave a voicemail. Alternatively, I’d recommend contacting my colleagues in our business development unit, as they have a lot of experience and knowledge in relation to our policies and criteria and will be more than happy to help.


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

I think the mortgage industry, especially the buy-to-let market (though regulated by the PRA), has seen considerable change over the last couple of years, so a period of stability would be welcome.


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

I’ve always worked in customer facing roles, and I have an advisory background from my time with a previous lender, so business development seemed like the natural step to allow me to progress career wise, while maintaining that customer facing position.


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

Reliability, once again. I think also being straightforward with brokers and managing expectations about whether or not you think you can help their client. It’s important too, to ensure I not only know about a broker and their business, but know how they want to be supported, as for some, just being at the end of the phone when needed is all they’ll want, whereas others want a more face to face relationship. It’s tailoring your management style to suit each of the brokers and their businesses.


And how do you establish and maintain good relationships internally?

I like to pick up the phone and speak with my colleagues where possible, and when I am at our head office in Maidenhead, I try to spend time with different areas of the business who I work with. It is important to me that I understand and have a better appreciation of their roles and functions, and how we can work together more efficiently for brokers and their clients.


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

“You don’t mind dogs do you?” – On its own a perfectly normal question, however, by the time it was asked an enormous great dane had already made himself comfortable on my lap, where he remained for the duration of our meeting, and was licking my face as if his life depended on it.


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

Easy – a professional footballer. Fortunately for me, although I was a good if unspectacular player, I realised at a relatively early age I wasn’t going to make a living out of the game, so focused my energies on my studies, which has led me to where I am today.

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