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Know Your BDM: Keith Hickman, Family Building Society

  • 04/05/2020
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Know Your BDM: Keith Hickman, Family Building Society
This week Mortgage Solutions is talking to Keith Hickman, mobile underwriter at the Family Building Society.


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

I support five key accounts in Central London at nine offices of around 200 mortgage advisers who write approximately £10bn of mortgage completions per year. 


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

As I work from the brokers’ offices on a weekly basis, I am conscious I am a guest. I try not to be too intrusive, if I haven’t got anything new to say I keep myself to myself, but the brokers know I am there if they want to discuss anything with me. If I can’t assist, I try and explain why and provide an alternative solution. 


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

I think my experience and the knowledge I have gained in over 30 years in the sector is invaluable.  


What personal talent/skill would you most like to improve on?  

Whilst I can readily recall industry changes over the years, I can sometimes struggle to instantly remember the finer points of a conversation earlier in the week. 


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

I can’t think of specific advice but a former older colleague, Peter Hay at Bristol and West and Bank of Scotland, who was my age when I was in my early twenties was inspirational in terms of his drive, enthusiasm and experience. 


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

It’s always the last one. I breathe a collective sigh of relief when each complex prime case has been offered as most are always a bit of a rollercoaster getting them to this stage. 


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

Whilst there is no specific regulation, I’ve been amazed at the sheer number of group lending limits now imposed on an organisation like ourselves 

Whilst you can target specific types of lending the PRA needs to recognise that acquiring the right mix of mortgages is not like going to the sweet shop and purchasing pick and mix. The limitations imposed on smaller organisations appear to give them less room to manoeuvre and it’s not really a level playing field against the larger lenders.  


What was your motivation for choosing this industry as a career? 

My father had previously worked in a building society and retired at 50. Having completed my A levels, I didn’t fancy university and was offered the first job I applied for as a management trainee at Yorkshire Building Society and have never looked back.  


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

I previously enjoyed a career as a BDM in 90s and a regional manager in the 00s working on behalf of a number of lenders including Bristol and West CMS, Western Trust and Savings, Britannia, Bank of Scotland and Platform Home Loans. I wouldn’t look any further than that.

Following the credit crunch, I passed the Certificate of Financial Planning and Long Term Care so I would like to represent a protection, investment or pension provider.  


What did you want to be growing up? 

A turf accountant. In my spare time I dabble on laying odds on certain events which is the closest I’ve become to realising my dream. I guess the similarities between this and my current role both involve assessing risk. 


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

From an underwriting perspective being able to foresee client’s credit profiles at enquiry stage and building these into my agreements in principle to save the wasted time seeking solutions when multiple undisclosed credit entries appear application stage. 


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

The previous question. 


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