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Know Your BDM: Avril Dugdale, Nottingham Building Society

  • 02/02/2024
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Know Your BDM: Avril Dugdale, Nottingham Building Society
This week, Mortgage Solutions is speaking with Avril Dugdale, business development manager (BDM) at the Nottingham Building Society.

What locations and how many advisers and broker firms do you cover in your role at the Nottingham Building Society?

I’m responsible for supporting brokers in the North East of England.


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

The importance of building strong face-to-face relationships is one of the aspects of the role that I found both valuable and enjoyable. In the post-Covid era, it has become increasingly clear that building strong face-to-face bonds with brokers is important.


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

A significant aspect of my job involves travelling between various brokers’ offices, and I must admit that I’m not particularly skilled when it comes to navigating roads. If it weren’t for the assistance of Google Maps or a Sat Nav, I’d struggle to find each office. As I’m still relatively new to this role, I’m optimistic that with time and experience, my navigation skills will improve.


What’s the hardest part of your job?

The constant fluctuation and complexity within the industry. With interest rates, lending regulations, and economic factors evolving constantly, staying ahead of the curve and providing brokers with up-to-date and relevant information is demanding. It requires vigilant monitoring, continuous learning, and adaptability. The dynamic nature of the mortgage market means that what worked yesterday might not work today, making it essential to be agile, well-informed, and flexible in our strategies. While these challenges can be daunting, they also provide opportunities for growth and innovation, pushing me to excel and deliver superior service in an ever-changing landscape.


What do you love most about your job?

Having been at The Nottingham for just under six months now, I am thoroughly enjoying supporting a range of clients in their homebuying journey, particularly those who don’t fit the traditional mould. As you may have seen recently, we introduced a range of new mortgage criteria changes as we continue to help more people achieve their dreams of homeownership, and it is this aspect of the role that I find most satisfying.


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

The most invaluable guidance I received at the start of my career came from a former colleague, now a dear friend of nearly 30 years. Their advice was simple yet profound: consistently put in the effort, aim for excellence, maintain a high level of professionalism in your chosen field, and always prioritise your clients or customers. I’ve made it a personal mission to follow this advice throughout my professional journey so far.


How do you keep up to date with developments in the market?

I actively engage with blogs, articles, news updates, and podcasts. I also recognise the immense value of personal interactions, and when I interact with brokers, I tap into their wealth of experience by asking questions and seeking their perspectives. I firmly believe in the importance of fostering a supportive community among mortgage professionals, as this camaraderie is crucial to my ongoing quest for knowledge and skill development.


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

Over the years I’ve had weird and wonderful properties from old churches, converted windmills and even canal boats. But, by far the quirkiest property was a converted lighthouse – kitted out with all the mod cons. The property was stunning and so unique with breath-taking views of the sea and coastline… I absolutely had home envy.


Tell us about your trickiest case – what happened and how did you resolve the problem(s)?

I can’t even remember the last query that I had that was straightforward, every case that I seem to come across has more hurdles than the Olympics! One recent application was a client who had recently been divorced so she ended up with some slight adverse finances. She was looking to purchase a property from an ex-husband and didn’t have any deposit. She was self-employed with a very complex income, and the expenditure was tight. We know that every scenario is different, and that one size doesn’t always fit all, but by working closely with our underwriters, and adopting a common-sense approach, I’m pleased to say we managed to get this case offer. We had a happy broker and even happier client!


What was your motivation for choosing this career?

I’ve worked in financial services for a long time now as it enables me to do the things that I love. I have always been a people person and love to develop relationships, get to know people and find out what is important to them. I strive to give brokers the best possible service I can and I think you can build that trust more through a face-to-face relationship. As I work in the field, I get to visit lots of different places and meet interesting people. I can honestly say that I get job satisfaction, and the positive feedback I get from brokers makes me feel it’s a job well done.


What did you want to be growing up?

In my early teens I wanted to join the Army, and I started Army cadets at 11 years old. I do believe it shaped me into the person I am today, I have some amazing memories and met so many people from different walks of life. The cadets taught me many life skills that you don’t learn at school.


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

The power of invisibility would be so cool. I would love a mooch around Buckingham Palace and the Houses of Parliament in London, to see what goes on at those meetings. But to be able to get on any plane and visit any country in the world without being seen would be incredible.


What is your strategy for tackling challenges?

You come across many challenges in our line of work but that is an integral part of our role – to help shape a case or to try and find solutions. It’s important to remember that we can’t work miracles. I wish I could at times, but I do feel it’s imperative to ask the right questions, look at all different avenues, be open and work with the client. At times I’m like a ‘dog with a bone’, and I will always try my best to find a solution.


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

Well, it had nothing to do with mortgages and was more of a personal question… but it did make me chuckle. As much as I’d love to spill the beans, some things are best left unsaid.

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