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Know Your BDM: Sarah Hopkins, Foundation Home Loans

  • 02/04/2019
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This week Specialist Lending Solutions is talking to Sarah Hopkins, regional account manager for South Wales & West at Foundation Home Loans.


What locations and how many advisers and broker firms do you cover in your role?

I cover both South Wales and the South West of England – from Swansea across to Gloucester, down to Bournemouth and keep going West.


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

I listen. I focus on what’s important to brokers, and how I can add value to their business – not the other way around. I stick around when the going gets tough, and I like to think I bend over backwards to help solve tricky situations.


What personal talent or skill is most valuable in doing your job?

You’ve got to be completely willing to help. You’ve got to really care, and you have to be trustworthy. As the BDM, you’re the bridge between the lender and the broker, and ultimately there is a potentially very anxious customer at the end of it all, so it’s important to support wherever you can. It’s one thing to bring the business in, but it’s no good if the broker will never trust you a second time.


What personal skill would you most like to improve on?

I’ve got a terrible habit of getting lost in city centres and missing motorway junctions, not ideal at all for a BDM, so I’d love to improve my geographical and road awareness.


What’s the best bit of career-related advice you’ve ever been given?

You’re going to mess up, you’re going to make mistakes – what’s important is that you learn from them.


What is the most interesting or memorable property deal you’ve been involved in?

Foundation is the first lender I have worked for that offers mortgages for limited company buy-to-lets. Not long after I started, a big case came in with a really complicated limited company structure. My brain has never been so fried. It’s so memorable to me because it threw me completely in at the deep end, but it was the best learning curve I could have asked for. The sense of relief when it went to offer was incredible.


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

I would let the industry recover from one big change before I implemented another. Change needs to happen, but it’s really challenging for brokers to keep up with how often the goalposts are moved. And you can imagine how the customer must feel about all the regulatory change.


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

Being truthful, it’s something that I fell into when I was looking for the opportunity to leave the retail banking branch network after having worked in it for 10 years. What motivates me to stay is that it ticks so many boxes for me. I like helping people, I like to talk, and I like mortgages – sad but true.


If you could do any other job in the property sector, what would it be and why?

Some might scoff but I think I’d be a mortgage broker myself.


What did you want to be growing up?

I really cannot remember, but my mother always told me I should have been in the courtroom because I always have to have the last word.


If you could have one super power, what would it be?

A pause button – it does frighten me how quickly weeks, months and years go by.


And finally, what’s the strangest question you’ve ever been asked?

My husband is a massive Alan Partridge fan and the constant barrage of quotes which seem to slip into daily conversation just will not die. Every time I have to stay away overnight and I’m eating at the hotel, he asks me: “Have you got your big plate Alan?” Seriously, every time.




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