What locations and how many advisers and broker firms do you cover in your role?
I cover 15 postcode areas from Birmingham to Liverpool, Chester to Manchester and everything in between. I’m also the BDM looking after our self-build relationship with Buildstore and fly up to Edinburgh every few months to visit them. I currently have 1,200 active brokers in my patch, with 100+ key accounts. I also have responsibility for some of the network and mortgage club broker desks.
How do you establish and maintain a good relationship with brokers?
Establishing a relationship is the easy part; once you’ve booked a meeting you have to show the broker that you know your stuff and give them the confidence to use you. Maintaining the relationship is the hard part and requires more effort. Customer service is always key – you must offer brokers a great service.
What personal skill is most valuable in doing your job?
Multi-tasking and adapting quickly to change are key to this role. It’s an ever-changing marketplace and one minute I can be dealing with a complex residential enquiry and the next providing indicative terms on a commercial deal.
What personal skill would you most like to improve on?
For those that know me, I took some time out to travel a few years ago and realised my language skills were not great. Since returning I’ve been learning Spanish, I do at least 30 minutes every day and once mastered I’d like to move on to French. Communication is a big part of my job and to travel to other countries and not be able to speak the language does not sit well with me.
What is the best bit of career-related advice you’ve ever been given?
Two things. First, always treat customers as you would want to be treated yourself, a colleague taught me this at the age of 19 and it’s stuck with me, and so has she as 30 years later we’re still good friends. The second is that, when assessing a mortgage enquiry, ask yourself whether you would lend these people your own money, if the answer is yes the case is worth fighting for.
What is the most interesting property deal you’ve been involved in?
Helping a borrower to pay off a commercial overdraft mis-sold to him for a self-build project. The bank was stopping him from incorporating his business until the overdraft was repaid. He repaid them and promptly changed banks.
If you were head of the FCA for the day, what would you change about regulation in the mortgage industry?
I’d be looking to see what regulations currently hamper innovation in the industry. I believe some of the current regulations are detrimental to borrowers and provide them with less choice.
What was your motivation for choosing business development as a career?
After A levels I didn’t want to go to university, as I was keen to get out in the world and earn some money so decided banking might be a good career option. I worked hard and by the age of 22 looked after a team of eight. Although we were successful I hated managing staff and when I saw a chance for a BDM role in the company I jumped on it. The appeal of self-motivation and no staffing responsibilities was great.
If you could do any other job in the property sector, what would it be and why?
I’ve had opportunities to change direction in the past but it’s never appealed. I’ve got one of the best jobs in the world; I get to meet new people every day, have customers who are now good friends and enjoy the variety this role brings. Why would I want another job?
What did you want to be growing up?
When I was very little I wanted to be a mechanic, something that alarmed my mum and dad as it wasn’t the sort of thing they’d envisaged for their little angel. They were relieved when I announced at the age of 12 I wanted to be a doctor but that soon waned when I realised I’d have to carry on at school/university until my mid-20s.
If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
I’d like a few but if I had to pick one I think it would be the ability to absorb knowledge at super speed and use that knowledge to improve the world.
And finally, what’s the strangest question you’ve ever been asked?
I’d have to say… if you could have one superpower, what would it be?