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Know Your BDM: Zeenat Shaffi, Gatehouse Bank

by: Mortgage Solutions
  • 06/09/2019
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Know Your BDM: Zeenat Shaffi, Gatehouse Bank
This week, Mortgage Solutions speaks to Zeenat Shaffi of Gatehouse Bank about what it takes to thrive as a BDM.


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

I cover parts of central and south London and the whole of the South East region. I look after 150 broker firms with approximately 230 broker relationships.


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

Understanding a broker’s business is fundamental to establishing good relationships. It allows me to adapt the level of support I provide in a way that suits them and their business.

Communication is also key: keeping them updated and providing training and guidance when they need it and also just picking up the phone to them or calling when things don’t go according to plan.

Also, being proactive and acting as a bridge between brokers and the bank, whilst making it easier and simpler to do business with us. That includes helping them with the systems and talking through the case. Managing brokers’ expectations is critical and is something that is really appreciated, because it helps save time in the long run.


What personal talent is most valuable in doing your job?

Being able to relate to people, and being approachable. It is valuable in understanding the banks, the criteria and products, systems and process, to ensure the broker has trust in my abilities. They are trusting you with their business and clients. Being a talker also helps, although some may say that’s the reason for their headache.


What personal skills would you most like to improve on?

I would like to develop a better sense of direction, I rely too heavily on Google Maps and I am constantly getting lost. Whilst everyone builds a contingency and allowance for traffic and delays for their journey, I have to build in an extra one.


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

Great things never come from comfort zones.


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

I have been very fortunate to be involved in various and different deals. My best so far has been a development finance deal for a client who was completely knocking down two houses to make a large home. I was overseeing the whole deal from start to finish and seeing it transform from two average houses to a massive bespoke home. Knowing that I helped make it happen was great.


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

There needs to be a better balance between regulation and customer journey. The overall process at times can be quite daunting and scary for consumers.


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

I love the idea that I am part of a department which is instrumental in the overall growth of the business. I still get a thrill from coming out of a meeting, knowing that you have really helped support people with their business. It’s also very satisfying to see the value you have added to the bank when those relationships and businesses have grown; especially when a new broker comes back to do repeat business.


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

I would like to be a commercial finance manager. Whilst I have been involved in some elements of this previously I’d like to be able to have a bigger focus in this area.


What did you want to be growing up?

A lawyer — it seems to have all the qualities I thrive on, lots of challenges, meeting and assisting people to the point that it makes a real difference in their lives and make some profound changes. It requires a lot of analytical and logical thinking and focuses on finding solutions.


If you could have one superpower what would it be?

Superficially to know my handbag will always match my shoes. But on a serious note, having the ability to heal would be a pretty cool power to have.


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

I was once asked in an interview, if I was to be a fruit, what it would be and why. I just couldn’t think of any fruit that would link to the role I had applied for and still don’t think I could answer that question to this day. I left the interview very puzzled.

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