What locations and how many advisers and broker firms do you cover in your role?
I cover a total of 52 postcodes in total, ranging from Wales, Lancashire, East Anglia and all London locations. I also look after brokers from Scotland and Ireland, as although we don’t lend in those locations they may wish to place business in England and Wales.
How do you establish and maintain a good relationship with brokers?
I make contact with all my brokers over the phone – this includes welcome calls when they first register, a thank you call when they do business and regular catch-up calls to ensure they are kept up to date. I am head office-based in Nottingham so I am available five days a week for brokers to call or email me.
I am always on hand to discuss any criteria or potential cases and happy to put forward any requests for exceptions to policy where I believe there is a case for us to lend. I work closely with the underwriters; only being a stone’s throw away from them is a real advantage.
What personal skill is most valuable in doing your job?
I’d say building a rapport over the phone, as it can be quite difficult to keep it interesting when talking about criteria or trying to sell a service. I firmly believe it’s about personality, as well as being articulate and interesting, and of course knowledgeable.
What personal talent would you most like to improve on?
I am currently learning how to kick box so I would like to improve on my flexibility.
What’s the best bit of career-related advice you’ve ever been given?
My first bit of advice was to remember that good customer service is key. Be prepared to go over and above to help a customer as first impressions count. Secondly, manage your team in a firm but fair way. Be supportive, flexible and have a willingness to invest time with your team and you will find that they will then be willing and flexible for you.
What is the most memorable property deal you’ve been involved in?
The Nottingham launched into the retirement interest-only (RIO) market in February; I took the opportunity to educate my brokers ahead of the launch and was very pleased to have the first RIO case to come into us on day one. The clients were looking to enhance their lifestyle by capital raising to improve their current residence and thus making their later years more comfortable.
It was great to be able to help them do this, a solution for lending in later life is really important. It was good to be involved in the first RIO application so definitely memorable and pleasing to say there have been more since.
If you were head of the FCA for the day, what would you change about regulation in the mortgage industry?
I would want to support the younger borrower better. I would like it to be easier for a first-time buyer to get on the property ladder.
What was your motivation for choosing business development as a career?
I joined the financial services industry from the tender age of 16 and have developed from an admin role, through to customer service, management of staff and managers. Business development was the next step to my career by keeping in the same line of work but promoting the society’s lending ambitions.
If you could do any other job in the property sector, what would it be and why?
I feel like I have done most things within this industry that I wanted to do. There was a time some years ago that I wanted to own an estate agency business, however I am glad that I didn’t pursue that line of business because I wouldn’t be doing what I do now.
What did you want to be growing up?
I have always wanted to be a TV presenter. I remember getting a microphone for Christmas. I can’t sing so I had to think of something else I could use it for. I ended up going round my family interviewing them.
I would like to be on the panel of Loose Women. I am a good listener, have an opinion and will always challenge where appropriate. They are missing out not having me on there.
If you could have one super power, what would it be?
I would like to be invisible. I often say to myself: “If only I could have been a fly on the wall.” That way I wouldn’t need to be a fly.
And finally, what’s the strangest question you’ve ever been asked?
My daughter asked me a few years ago if her life would have been any different if I didn’t have any children.