How many advisers and broker firms do you cover in your role?
We’re currently accepting business from directly authorised advisers with a 75 Mile radius (as the crow flies) of our head office in Loughborough.
Having recently launched our intermediary proposition in March 2018 our panel is growing on a daily basis.
Building good relationships coupled with our versatile lending criteria, based on our current level of panel applications, I’d expect this to be around 100 adviser/firms by the end of 2018.
How do you successfully organise and deal with business on a daily basis?
I organise my diary to allow for visits but also ensure I have time to respond to enquiries within the day.
The most important thing for me is to be as accessible to brokers as possible.
I appreciate the importance of a quick response as time for brokers is valuable; in an ideal world I’d deal with every email and enquiry cleared by the end of the working day.
However, I do often respond in the evening and even at weekends on occasion if urgency dictates, after all we are helping people buy their dream home (I allow myself a morning school run a week in return for the out of hours responses).
What issues come up time and time again?
So far understanding the 75 mile radius rule; it’s not where the security property is, we’ll lend anywhere within England and Wales, it’s about where the registered office of the DA firm is based.
It allows us to manage volumes whilst we grow and gives me a realistic area that I can cover within an hour or so drive.
I also get asked about our lending in retirement product regularly. Yes, we really will consider lending to someone aged 85 for 25 years on interest-only, subject to affordability.
What do you wish brokers understood about your job?
I honestly believe that the brokers I deal with understand my job and the part I play in the process, so far all the brokers I have met have been great.
What do you think is the most important attribute of a good BDM?
Being accessible and responsive.
As I mentioned earlier, being available can be critical, it’s important for building trusted relationships.
Having been a mortgage adviser myself, I find it easy to understand the relationship the broker has with the client and I think that’s important too.
When you’re unavailable to be contacted by telephone, what’s the second-best way for brokers to get in touch?
Email. I always check my voicemails then emails as soon as I’ve finished a meeting or appointment, so I’d get back to anyone who’d contacted me as soon as possible.
I’m also a huge fan of LinkedIn, it allows people to connect and build networks and gives brokers another communication tool to contact me or reach out, and it’s quickly replacing the business card.
If you were head of the FCA for the day, what would you change about regulation in the mortgage industry?
Regulation has been a good thing in general. I suppose, if anything, it would be to ensure that the regulations are clear, transparent and obvious to all.
Having worked for other lenders and knowing friends within the industry it seems that the rules written are often open for interpretation so you end up with different lenders adopting different practices due to a lack of clarity.
What was your motivation for choosing business development as a career?
I’m a people person and enjoy building relationships and helping people solve problems. I’m a great believer that for every problem there’s a solution and not the other way around.
I’ve worked within financial services for over 18 years. I’ve been an adviser and have been surrounded by mortgage lending for most of that time.
It’s a passion and those people that truly enjoy this industry will understand that making a difference, helping people and delivering excellent service is something to be proud of.
You’ve heard the phrase, find a job you enjoy doing and you will never work again. I’m in that space right now so consider myself a lucky man.
How do you establish and maintain a good relationship with brokers?
Listening and understanding the needs of each adviser; being honest at the outset about what you can or can’t deliver and if we can’t offer the solution using your other lender contacts to help solve the problem.
The phrase “I can’t help but I know someone who can” is something that ultimately builds relationships in the long run.
And how do you establish and maintain good relationships internally?
I am a positive and enthusiastic person and I like to think that my optimism is infectious.
I’m quick to praise members of the team and make it a habit to email senior managers when a particular individual has demonstrated exceptional service.
Communication is key and at the beginning of each morning, either by telephone or face to face, the underwriters and I discuss the previous days cases and ensure workloads are under control.
I feel this helps everyone understand the role they play in our success and this time has really helped internal relationships.
What’s the strangest question you’ve ever been asked?
Someone I once worked with asked me how to address a customer, Mr or Mrs, as they couldn’t read the first name, I asked if there were any other names, she said the middle name was Dennis.
And finally, what did you want to be growing up?
A footballer. I have my coaching badges and I help a couple of friends who run an American Scholarship business for players released by professional clubs, or players wanting to study abroad.
We took a group of players to Oklahoma in 2016 and due to players fighting fatigue and jet lag, I had to put the boots back on, playing on foreign soil, on a pitch like carpet, floodlights and over 500 spectators watching I was finally, at 35 years old, living the dream!