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Know Your BDM: Debbie Holmes, The Tipton

  • 03/08/2022
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Know Your BDM: Debbie Holmes, The Tipton
This week, Mortgage Solutions is speaking with Debbie Holmes, business development manager at The Tipton and Coseley Building Society.

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

My area covers the society’s “heartland” in and around the West Midlands and runs down to Bristol in the Southwest. Being fairly new to the Tipton, I’m still building my contacts, but the area gives me plenty of opportunity to help support a range of brokerages across my area with the lending solutions we have to offer. 


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

I use each meeting whether that be virtual or face-to-face to understand what the broker wants to achieve from their business. This helps me identify where the Tipton can support and make a difference to what the broker can offer their clients. Whether that be 100 per cent lending, shared equity, interest-only or later life lending to name a few. But the key is to tailor the conversation with a broker on the specific areas within our proposition that align with their business and clients.    


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

Being a BDM, you need to be a people person and being able to engage with brokers each day is the best part of the role. The most important and valuable skill I think is the one brokers use themselves, and that is to fact find. By having a conversation around the current market conditions and understanding the types of clients brokers are seeing allows me to demonstrate how Tipton can provide them with solutions and opportunities for their business. I also find having a broader conversation about the market and what I am seeing, and hearing can be helpful to brokers.    


What’s the hardest part of your job? 

The unavoidable need to sometimes say no to a case that doesn’t fit with our proposition. Brokers understand this and prefer a straight yes or no, but I always try and think of other lenders that the scenario may fit with if we are unable to help.   


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

I’m fortunate enough that my sister has a bar in her back garden, and I can often be found there at the weekend with my family and indulging in karaoke as I love to sing. I would love to be able to improve on this, but for now I will just have to stick to having a pinot or two to improve my singing.   


Where would you rather be stuck, in bumper-to-bumper traffic, or back-to-back meetings that could have been an email, and why? 

Back-to-back meetings that could have been an email are often not a good use of time. However, if I find myself in bumper-to-bumper traffic I use the time to return calls, proactively speak to brokers and to book future appointments. Hands free technology really comes into its own in this situation. I also singalong to my favourite music as a bit of a bonus. 


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

When I was young, my Nan advised me ‘to find a job that you love, as you spend a lot of your lifetime in work’. My sister already worked in financial services and whenever she spoke about her role, I always thought that sounded like something I would love to do. Now I couldn’t think of being anything else other than a BDM.  


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

As I say, I have a family connection. This allowed me to ask all the questions upfront and to see if it would be the right thing for me to pursue. I started working in business development in 2015 and I love the feeling that I’ve helped a broker find a solution for a customer. I particularly enjoy discussing purchase cases as I know that we are all working towards the customer getting the keys to their new dream home. I’m also a big people person and love speaking to others, either one-to-one or in a group setting so it is a completely natural fit. 


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

I like the idea of working as a valuer as I am inquisitive (some may say nosey) it’s also another role where you have the opportunity to meet with people. But I have no intention of being anything apart from a BDM.   


What did you want to be growing up? 

Ever since I was small, I always wanted to be a firefighter. I did apply and nearly got there. I passed the application and the interview stage, but then didn’t quite manage to pass the physically demanding beep test. I think all things happen for a reason and being a BDM and working in financial services is certainly where I want to be.    


What makes you laugh? 

My daughter’s laugh gets me every time. I can’t help but laugh when she is, sometimes we don’t even know what we are laughing at, it’s just extremely infectious.  


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

‘Superspeed’ would be amazing. From a personal perspective I would attempt a marathon, and professionally it would allow me to visit even more brokers across my patch on a face-to-face basis as that’s the part of my job I love the most.  


What’s your cure for a rainy day or hangover? 

The perfect recipe for a cosy day has to be blankets, chick flicks and lots of snacks.


What, or who, inspires you? 

My sisters inspire me to be the best mum I can be whilst balancing a career I love. There are also more and more stories from industry professionals being shared who work as either brokers or at lenders that are great to read and continue to encourage us all to achieve our potential.   


What has been your greatest non-work-related achievement? 

It’s hard to pin it down to one. In 2018, I completed the National Three Peaks Challenge which was hard work, but so rewarding and the views are amazing. I have also run in the Great North Run a few times, which was something I had aspired to do for years before. 


What makes a great colleague? 

Working as a team is so important, and the key to that is great communication – whether that be about work or just regular contact because of the remote nature of the role.   


Name your favourite restaurant and why you love it. 

San Giovanni – it’s an Italian restaurant in Atherstone. The setting is beautiful as it overlooks a lake. I would certainly recommend it and the Pinot Grigio is the best. 


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

Would you rather have a rewind button or a pause button on your life? My answer is a rewind button. Although I wouldn’t change my career as a BDM, I would love to be able to see where life would have taken me if I had become a firefighter. Although, I do believe all things happen for a reason so I would still have become a BDM in the end either way. 

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