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Know Your BDM: Alex Hart, Atom Bank

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  • 04/06/2024
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Know Your BDM: Alex Hart, Atom Bank
This week, Specialist Lending Solutions is talking to Alex Hart (pictured), regional business development manager (BDM) at Atom Bank.

Which locations and how many advisers and broker firms do you cover in your role at Atom Bank?

My location feels like most of England. The geography is Yorkshire down to North London and across to the East of England.

 

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

Being able to communicate and understand the situation is crucial for all BDMs. I’m very keen to get to the point where I can say yes or no, and if it’s a no, then I have the insight to know who I think would be able to help.

Brokers always want a quick answer, but equally they want to understand why they are getting that answer, so being open and transparent about what has influenced a particular decision is important. I think we are pretty good at that generally at Atom Bank, which I know isn’t the case across the industry.

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

I love playing pool and would love to be able to compete in tournaments. If not that, then being able to sing – I’ve made people’s ears bleed with my karaoke.

 

What is the hardest part of your job?

The hardest part is being able to see all your broker firms as much as you’d want to in order to let them know about criteria changes or system enhancements.

We have made a host of changes in recent months at Atom Bank, particularly as we look to help underserved areas of the market, like near prime customers or those with smaller deposits. There’s a lot of positive news to share with brokers about what we are doing and how we can help their clients – the challenge is getting out to see them all in person.

 

What do you love most about your job?

Meeting brokers and firms and understanding what their job is, getting to grips with who they deal with and what makes them tick. For BDMs, it’s so useful to have a proper insight into individual broker firms so that you can deliver a truly personal service, to both the broker and the client.

I love being able to help when they need it to ensure their customers remain happy, and I know that brokers appreciate that personal touch. Atom Bank was named best bank in the latest Smart Money People Lender Benchmark study, and I’m certain that the personalised way we work was a big factor in that win.

 

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

It was the industry legend Cammy Amaira. He was big on making sure you don’t upset people at work. One of his favourite sayings was: “you don’t need to slap people around the face, you never know if you’ll need to be kissing it later”. Not only was it funny, but it is also a great insight into the importance of relationships in this industry, in finding ways to work together.

That focus on working positively with other people is at the heart of how we work at Atom Bank, one of the things I appreciate the most about the bank.

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

I read a lot of the publications and get email alerts, but mainly talking to my brokers in the area. They are always keen to let me know who has changed what and whether it’s for the better or the worse.

Brokers are an enormous asset for lenders, offering an unparalleled insight into what’s really happening in the market and what would truly make a difference for them and their clients. It’s really essential for lenders to make the most of that dialogue.

 

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

It was a brick-built windmill on about five acres of land, it was beautiful and a pleasure to have been involved with.

 

What was your motivation for choosing this career?

I’ve been in the industry for 28 years and I’ve loved every moment of it. The world of mortgages is all around us, whether it’s at work or talking to people in the pub or around the dinner table. I love being able to talk to brokers, managing directors and administrators and helping people with their property dreams. It’s incredibly satisfying to be able to help people, particularly if they have had a tough time arranging the finance they need with other lenders.

 

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

I would be a valuer or a surveyor; I’m really interested in properties, and this would be a good job. Going to see different styles and types of properties would be ideal.

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