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Know Your BDM: Tim Horne, Paragon Bank

  • 20/03/2024
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Know Your BDM: Tim Horne, Paragon Bank
This week, Mortgage Solutions is speaking to Tim Horne, regional sales manager at Paragon Bank.

Which locations and how many advisers and broker firms do you cover in your business development manager (BDM) role at Paragon Bank? 

I cover what is classed as the ‘Midlands’ region, but this is a fairly loose definition because I work with brokers stretching from Staffordshire to Hemel Hempstead. As well as that geographical spread, my role is also quite diverse in terms of the size of the firms I look after, ranging from brokers who work on their own based from home, right up to larger operations with city-centre offices.


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

I think empathy plays a very big part in the role. Whilst there’s more positivity this year, having an understanding of brokers and their clients’ needs has been particularly important over the past 12 months or so as we’ve worked through the challenges brought about by economic instability.


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

I think having a bit more patience would not go amiss! I guess wanting things yesterday is natural in a sales environment as it’s fast-moving, but sometimes you have to take time to step back and analyse what you are doing – quickest isn’t always best, I guess.


What’s the hardest part of your job as a BDM?

For me, one of the biggest challenges is trying to juggle the large volumes of phone calls and emails that I receive each day, especially when I’m out on the road. I’m waiting for Elon Musk or some other tech pioneer to develop an AI assistant who can efficiently deal with all of that for me.


What do you love most about your job?

I love the variety that it brings, especially being in the complex buy-to-let (BTL) space where no two days are the same. I also enjoy the numerous events that we attend – it’s always good to see brokers face-to-face and let them have the latest cutting-edge pen or stress ball as freebies. 


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

This comes back to what I said earlier about the importance of empathy in the role – one of my previous bosses told me to always try and put myself in the customers’ shoes when making decisions. It’s a simple concept, but is something that I think many of us could benefit from doing more often. For me, this is helped by the fact that I have been a broker in a previous life, so I understand where they are coming from and the impact it has on the client.


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

With so much change in the market, influenced by the economic volatility that we’ve seen over the past couple of years, keeping up to date has been a challenge, but is perhaps more important than ever before, or at least during the past decade or so.

At Paragon Bank, we produce lots of useful content, such as a quarterly private rented sector (PRS) trends report and insight on specific aspects of BTL, like portfolio landlords or limited companies.

LinkedIn is also a good resource that helps me stay on top of what’s going on in the marketplace and who is doing what. Online publications such as this one are very useful for getting insights and keeping up to date too.


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

Although it’s not one that was in my area, an enquiry from a couple of years ago definitely sticks in my mind because it actually made it into the press.

A new landlord was looking to purchase a property that seemed like an unremarkable but otherwise sound investment for any burgeoning BTL empire – a three-bed house, in a decent location and ideal for families, listed for around £125,000, if I remember rightly.

What made it different, however, was that the property had a body buried in the grounds. 

But, instead of being something unearthed by a very thorough survey, the family managing the estate of the previous owner explained that his final wish was to be buried in the garden of the house where he was born, lived all his life and finally died. 


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

I had a large multi-unit block (MUB) enquiry in a prime London location for a 35-unit property.

Also, the limited company that was buying the property had a complicated setup and shareholding. Normally, our maximum is 20 units, but we will always look to find solutions where possible, viewing each case on its own merits and working closely with brokers to answer any questions that the application may throw at us. 

At Paragon, we are lucky that we have our own team of valuers, so I referred the case over to our regional surveyor who covers that area, and he did a lot of research before the application came in. I also referred it to a senior underwriter and, after really getting to know the borrower’s business and becoming comfortable with the company structure, we were able to lend.


What was your motivation for choosing this career?

Like a lot of people, I kind of fell into financial services. I enjoy the diversification the industry brings – I have worked for lenders with different types of lending appetite, from adverse to residential and to complex BTL, which I now enjoy. 


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