How many advisers and broker firms do you cover in your role?
A tough question to answer with regard to numbers being national development manager. I take a very hands-on approach to external meetings, visits and overall relationships. The structure of my team provides scope for three of us to be out visiting advisers and brokers.
How do you successfully organise and deal with business on a daily basis?
Through good time management, forward planning and always leaving time for the unknown. I like to be close to the team as this allows me to be aware of market and business trends.
What issues come up time and time again?
Changing the perception of people with certain aspects, for example, some brokers are still unaware that we lend nationally. And we went live with our new broker portal on the 19 November which we are all excited about.
What do you wish brokers understood about your job?
That I do not have the ability to overhaul underwriting decisions every time. We work very closely with our underwriters and have a great relationship. Ultimately, brokers can be assured that we will have exhausted every option before declining a case.
What do you think is the most important attribute of a good BDM?
I would say knowledge – without that, the result of any conversation will not be rewarding. This is closely followed by being a people person. A BDM also has to be open, honest, available and an ambassador for their business.
When you’re unavailable to be contacted by telephone, what’s the second-best way for brokers to get in touch?
Email – I do my upmost to answer every call but when in meetings an email or voicemail will allow me to get back in touch ASAP.
If you were head of the FCA for the day, what would you change about regulation in the mortgage industry?
In all honesty, nothing. I feel that it does exactly what it should. A different answer might have been given if asked about Brexit.
What was your motivation for choosing business development as a career?
After spending 15 years with RBS in various customer-facing roles I was looking for a challenge that allows me to spread my wings and progress with my professional career. I enjoy personal interaction and making new contacts.
How do you establish and maintain a good relationship with brokers?
Being responsive, honest and available. A broker is looking to assist their clients and make their overall mortgage journey as smooth as possible. If I can play my part in delivering a great experience, the broker will be keen to come back time and time again.
And how do you establish and maintain good relationships internally?
I am understanding by nature and know I work with like-minded people. Inter-departmental relationships are superb and we are all working towards the same goal.
What’s the strangest question you’ve ever been asked?
Are you ‘the Paul Lewis’ off the television/radio – the finance guy?
And finally, what did you want to be growing up?
A bit of a cliché, but a professional footballer which I was very lucky to have achieved at an early age. I am from a town called Billingham in the North East (near Middlesbrough). Football isn’t a choice in the North East, the only choice is what team you support.