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Know Your BDM: Jo Harrison, Leeds Building Society

  • 05/11/2021
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Know Your BDM: Jo Harrison, Leeds Building Society
This week, Mortgage Solutions is speaking with Jo Harrison, business development manager at Leeds Building Society.


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

I’m responsible for around 1,000 brokers in the Cambridgeshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire and Northamptonshire areas.


How have you changed the way you establish and maintain a good relationship with brokers in the pandemic?

Embracing technology and using Zoom calls has helped me maintain broker relationships. Following the launch of Mortgage Hub, our online intermediary platform, I have been able to screen share with brokers and offer real time support with applications.


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

Listening and really understanding all of the ins and outs of a complex case, giving an honest assessment and an answer as quickly as possible.


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

I’d like to focus on honing my social media skills. I’m getting there but there’s always more to learn.


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

Definitely doing face-to-face visits, but I try to avoid traffic jams if possible. Going forward I’ll still offer virtual meetings to provide flexibility and choice for brokers.


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

Never sell anything to anyone if you don’t believe in it yourself. Our focus on affordable housing options such as shared ownership, Help to Buy and First Homes not only makes my job rewarding, because you are helping brokers find the right support for clients, but I’m also passionate about helping first time buyers.


What is the most quirky/unique property deal you’ve been involved in?

One of my brokers had a really difficult case – his client had been a victim of identity theft but we have the specialist underwriting skills to support in complex circumstances. The client and their partner also had a small deposit, enough for five per cent on a new-build home. We were then the only lender to offer them a shared ownership mortgage at that loan to value (LTV) tier.


What has been your lockdown coping strategy?

Walking my crazy collie Harley and generally keeping busy.


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

It’s in the family. My dad was in the financial services industry on the protection side. I loved working with him, underwriting life applications but I realised I wanted to be a broker or mortgage consultant and mortgages became my specialty.


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

I would love to be a project manager of self-build projects, because it would be interesting to see a home take shape.


What did you want to be growing up?

Cabin crew or work in hospitality.


What’s your favourite face mask design/pattern to wear?

I do have a sparkly gold one which I call my superhero mask to wind up and embarrass my teenage daughter, but to be honest I prefer the surgical ones to the cloth ones.


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

The previous one – what’s your favourite face mask design/pattern to wear?


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