Know Your BDM: Grace Bennett, Family Building Society

Know Your BDM: Grace Bennett, Family Building Society

 

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

I cover a ring of postcodes to the west of the M25 from Guildford in the south, to Slough and Reading in the west and St Albans and Hemel Hempstead in the north. I look after some 200 accounts, but the figure is growing.

 

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

Good communication and time management are key and I make sure I answer all enquiries in a timely manner, as well as being clear and transparent in what can be delivered.

 

What personal skill is most valuable in doing your job?

I feel I am very good at connecting with brokers. As a people person, I am quite adaptable to different personalities. It is much harder under lockdown to chat to people over the phone who you have never met, but I love talking and can relate to most.

 

What personal skill would you most like to improve on?

As one of, if not the youngest BDM in the sector at 21 years old, I would like to improve my knowledge of the products available on the market. If we at the Family Building Society can’t help a mortgage applicant, for example, I’d like to be well enough informed to refer a broker’s clients to another lender, where appropriate. Outside work I am building on my fitness by running.

 

Where would you rather be stuck, in bumper-to-bumper traffic or back-to-back Zoom calls? 

Zoom calls.

 

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

I am fortunate to have been given many good tips. I really enjoy my job and it is more of a hobby for me; the best advice is if you are happy in and excited by your job, just go for it and aim high.

 

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

There are so many, but I’d say expat residential cases, particularly when foreign currency fluctuations are taken into account. British citizens working and living overseas, but keen to buy property in the UK, are memorable.

 

What has been your lockdown-coping strategy?

Listening to music, keeping fit and cooking. I did catch coronavirus and self-isolated in my bedroom at our family home. I keep positive and have the belief that we are just one step away from the end of lockdown.

 

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

I’d make it super easy for first-time buyers to get on to the property ladder by compelling lenders to allow larger income multiples for younger professionals who are very likely to see their salaries increase as their careers progress. I would also make motor insurance more affordable for young and new drivers. After three years of blameless and accident-free driving, my insurance premium is still over £600 per annum, which is unfair.

 

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

I joined the Family Building Society straight from sixth form college and was enlisted to BDM support and loved it from the word go. I am very keen to pursue it for the foreseeable future.

 

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

I’d like to learn more about the adviser’s role and job, but I do find property development very attractive. I do like the TV shows featuring people who buy up derelict property for renovation. My dream would be to buy a bungalow and convert it into a lovely family home.

 

What did you want to be growing up?

A lawyer. It does sound boring, but at the age of 14 I watched the film Legally Blonde and my mind was made up. I studied law at sixth form college as a result.

 

What is your favourite face mask design to wear?

Just the ordinary disposable ones you buy at the supermarket, but I might make my own as lockdown and restrictions continue.

 

If you could have one superpower, what would it be?

Invisibility or the power of mind reading. The latter would be very useful in business.

 

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

The first time I spoke to a broker he asked me if I was born on a Tuesday. It was Wednesday actually and I thought what a peculiar question, but when I read the nursery rhyme, I realised why he had asked me.