Know Your BDM: Charlie Stack, The Mortgage Lender

Know Your BDM: Charlie Stack, The Mortgage Lender

 

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

I cover the Midlands area which stretches as far north as Stoke-on-Trent, down to Oxford. I work with around 1,100 registered broker firms.

 

How do you establish and maintain a good relationship with brokers?

My job is to make the broker’s role easier and that means going that extra mile. Especially when you’re dealing with complex cases you need to be able to be able to work in close partnership with brokers and think outside the box to find a solution for their borrowers.

 

What personal skill is most valuable in doing your job?

Being reliable is so important in this industry. Brokers need to be able to rely on you and feel confident that you’re going to make their job easier – not more difficult. I really enjoy working with people and that helps too.

I guess I must be doing something right, because I’ve just found out that I’ve been nominated for the British Specialist Lending Awards as a Rising Star.

 

What personal skill would you most like to improve on?

I never want to stop learning and gaining knowledge of the industry. That’s important for my job satisfaction but also vital to the brokers I work with too.

 

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

It was from our head of sales, David Eaves. He said you should treat everyday as a day to learn, and that’s so important because the industry does not stand still, it’s always changing – as are the needs of borrowers and the challenges brokers face.

 

What is the most memorable property deal you’ve been involved in?

I handled a case last year – it was for over a million pounds and because of the complexities involved I worked with the broker to find a solution for the borrower which took several months. It was a challenging case, and pretty much all of our team got involved. The broker was impressed by the patience and perseverance we showed and over the moon when we found a solution for them.

 

If you were head of the FCA for the day, what would you change about regulation in the mortgage industry?

To help more first-time buyers onto the property ladder. Last year I bought my first home, but a lot of my friends are struggling. They come to me for advice and a bit of a moan about how difficult it is.

 

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

My first business development role was with a utility company. Although I enjoyed the sales side of the job, it was phone-based and I needed more interaction with customers. I hadn’t really considered financial services until it was suggested to me by a family friend who took me under his wing and acted as a mentor. The rest, as they say, is history and I’ve never looked back – it’s the perfect job for me.

 

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

To be a national account manager at The Mortgage Lender. That’s my next step up.

 

What did you want to be growing up?

A professional footballer. I was lucky enough to play for my team, West Bromwich Albion as well as Derby County and Burton Albion.

 

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

To have superhuman strength – it seems like it would be a useful (and impressive) superpower to have.

 

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

I don’t think I’ve had any really strange questions as a BDM – yet. But personally, the strangest is being asked to take part in not one, but three, Crime Watch re-enactments.

 

 

 

Know Your BDM: Holly Hynd, Paragon

Know Your BDM: Holly Hynd, Paragon

 

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

I cover the whole of Scotland, working with around 1,600 brokers, the majority of whom deal with the complex side of buy to let. There are occasions when I’m driving through the most beautiful scenic spots which is a huge bonus to the job.

 

How do you establish and maintain a good relationship with brokers?

I’m a really forward and chatty person so establishing relationships is the easiest part of my job. To maintain good relationships it’s important to listen, take on all feedback and do everything you can to ensure positive outcomes.

 

What personal trait is most valuable in doing your job?

Positivity. In between appointments, driving, calls and emails it can be hard to keep your head above water, but I think a positive attitude goes a long way.

 

What personal trait would you most like to improve on?

Assertiveness. I’m a bit of people pleaser and always want to help even when it’s strictly not down to me to fix the problem. It’s certainly not a bad trait but it’s where I see my work life balance slipping.

 

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

Never go to your boss with a problem. Go to them with a problem and two solutions.

 

What is the most interesting/memorable property deal you’ve been involved in?

One deal that springs to mind was a large portfolio landlord who was moving their properties from a personal name to limited company, while purchasing a few new properties. As we dealt with the purchases first, I suggested the broker and client may want to consider a forward funding facility, which allowed us to underwrite a future line of credit.

After undergoing an interview with our underwriters, due to the experience of the landlord we were able to offer a £3m facility, which meant when he decided to incorporate his properties into his limited company we only required valuations and a quick credit search.

 

If you were head of the FCA for the day, what would you change about regulation in the mortgage industry?

More lending for sustainable and innovative design in housing. It would be great to see industry support for new methods of construction to allow for progress in reducing CO2 emissions while providing new homes in an affordable manner. There are some really cool designs but there is still a tentativeness about veering from the tried and tested methods.

 

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

My dad actually has a very similar job in engineering, so I guess it’s in the blood.

 

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

There is a show about real estate agents in New York that compete to sell these whopping big city mansions and throw big parties to show off the properties. I’d be excellent at that and their million-dollar commission would be nice too.

 

What did you want to be growing up?

A nurse … which I did go to study for a short time. It was amazing but only being 18 I was just too young and wasn’t cut out for it.

 

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

To fly … I hate airports.

 

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

I’m always asked what time of year I’m born … especially around Christmas, and yes its 12 December. I actually used to have a boss called Rudolf and in December our colleagues would have a field day.

 

 

Know Your BDM: Hamer Garland, Leeds Building Society

Know Your BDM: Hamer Garland, Leeds Building Society

 

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

As an office-based business development manager (BDM) I have a wide and varied geographical remit and help thousands of brokers and companies.

My day can include helping brokers from as far afield as Inverness, Newport or Dorchester to name but a few.

 

How do you establish and maintain a good relationship with brokers?

For me it’s all about understanding what people want and need from me as a BDM, and adapting accordingly.

Everyone is different and if you can quickly fathom what makes people tick and what they want to achieve from an interaction then you’re halfway there.

Good relationships don’t just happen. It’s about building trust and respect by demonstrating a great service and delivering results for brokers and their customers.

 

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

Listening. It’s vital to listen to the needs of brokers. As a lender operating in areas less well served by the wider mortgage market, some of the queries we receive can be more complex so listening carefully and understanding the details is crucial.

 

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

I used to play the piano a lot but my enthusiasm has waned over the years. It would be good to rekindle my enjoyment and spend some time improving my skills again.

 

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

It’s not the most ground breaking but it holds true: simply think about what makes you happy and do more of it.

 

What is the most interesting/memorable property deal you’ve been involved in?

Probably my own. When I bought my first house 10 years ago, it was a repossession – which obviously pulled at my heart strings a little bit.

However, once I’d been in the property a while, interesting things kept coming to light, including how the owners had raised capital for the purchase and how they’d disappeared abroad without telling their friends or family.

 

If you were head of the FCA for the day, what would you change about regulation in the mortgage industry?

Anything to make life simpler for brokers and customers.

 

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

I’ve done a variety of roles in my career, teaching, sales and business and marketing analytics. What these roles had in common was working with people to solve problems and in some ways, the BDM role is a hybrid of all of those things.

I like the hustle and bustle of the mortgage industry and ultimately I’m playing my part in helping people have the home they want.

 

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

A property developer. My own house was a massive project and it’s always nice to be able to see the fruits of your labour. Plus, I’d be creating homes for people to enjoy.

 

What did you want to be growing up?

I wanted to write music for film and television. It’s still my dream job.

 

If you could have one super power, what would it be?

Mind control would be a good one. You’d be able to do all the noble stuff like delivering world peace, but also give yourself an easy and highly amusing life at the same time.

 

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

I was once asked if I could come and talk to primary school children about the importance of dental flossing. That was a strange question, but thankfully, it turned out they had the wrong number!

Also, I had a new business inquiry about an aerospace engineer who had a second job as a pizza delivery driver. Possibly the strangest job combination ever.

Rising Star; Alex Poole, telephone BDM at Tipton & Coseley BS

Rising Star; Alex Poole, telephone BDM at Tipton & Coseley BS

 

What does your role entail and how long have you been doing it? 

I’ve been at the Tipton for just over a year now. I started off on a one-year apprenticeship which entailed providing administrative support for the business development management (BDM) team, mortgage advisers and the marketing team. In my new role, I will be on the desk with the telephone BDM team, assisting brokers with new enquiries and the completion of decision in principles. 

 

What attracted you to working in the mortgage finance sector? 

I knew the mortgage finance sector was always changing and there are so many different career opportunities that could be explored. I’m always learning new and interesting things so there’s never a dull day at work. 

 

What were you doing in the five years before starting here? 

In the five years leading up to this job, I left school after completing my GCSE’s and then moved on to working at Iceland Foods for two years. 

 

What personal skill is most valuable in doing your job? 

Being organised. I like to ensure I keep track of all tasks I’m currently undertaking, as it’s so easy to get distracted and move onto something else. It really helps to write everything down and colour code emails so I know what’s still to be done. 

 

What personal skill would you most like to improve on? 

My confidence. This is a skill I want to focus on progressing as being confident demonstrates to people that you know what you are talking about, which is an essential skill to have in this industry. 

 

What is the most memorable property case you’ve been involved in? 

A client once approached us looking to purchase a property from an ex professional footballer. 

 

Where do you see yourself in five years’ time? 

I’m sure I will still be continuing a career within the mortgage finance sector. Eventually, I would love to progress into a fieldbased BDM role, preferably at the Tipton. 

 

If present day you could go back in time and tell yourself something five years ago, what would it be? 

Don’t think you have to decide what you want to do for a career at such a young age, there’s no rush. 

 

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve tackled so far in your career? 

The biggest challenge was starting my career in mortgages when I knew very little or nothing about the sector, especially when you are surrounded by people who are so competent on the subject. It makes you think you will never be able to learn everything. Luckily, I am a part of an excellent team who have helped me develop my knowledge over the past year. 

 

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

The ability to pause time. It would come in handy for so many occasions, especially when running late. 

 

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

Would you rather have feet as hands or hands as feet? Surely, it’s the second one! 

Know Your BDM: David Wheatley, Foundation Home Loans

Know Your BDM: David Wheatley, Foundation Home Loans

 

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

I look after the east of England alongside Victoria Pearce who is the regional account manager. We cover 411 firms and have around 850 individual brokers.

 

How do you establish and maintain a good relationship with brokers?

I focus on being as transparent as possible with brokers with every interaction giving straight-forward, honest answers whether it is if we’re able to lend on a case or the status of an application. I also feel that putting the customer at the heart of every conversation is imperative whilst in the role.

 

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

My listening and questioning skills mean that I am able to hopefully manage brokers’ expectations incredibly well which is then transferred onto the customer and that should create much more repeat business for all parties involved.

 

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

I wish I could speak multiple languages.

 

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

The best career advice I have ever received is that there is no such thing as luck in business, you always make your own luck by being in the right place and having skilful conversations at all times.

 

What is the most interesting/memorable property deal you’ve been involved in?

This was for an applicant who was going through a separation and believed they were going to need to rent; the broker was unaware we were able to help with a residential mortgage until they put the call into us.

We got the decision in principle out on that day, and were able to evidence this to the required people in a very short space of time. The speed and service that accompanied this deal meant we were able to lend to the customer which made me pretty proud to be part of this company.

 

If you were head of the FCA for the day, what would you change about regulation in the mortgage industry?

I would work on creating more of a balance between customer and lender but feel that this would take much more than one day to be done properly.

 

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

Business development had never occurred to me until I started looking to move from my previous role and gave my details to a recruiter. They looked at my experience and asked whether I would be interested as they thought it would be a good fit for my skills and experience. Since then I haven’t really looked back.

 

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

It would probably be an architect as I’d love to see my creations come to life from paper to reality.

 

What did you want to be growing up?

Growing up like most I wanted to do several different things, ranging from being in the military to an illustrator, although nothing was ever truly set in stone.

 

If you could have one super power, what would it be?

Being able to become different animals would be pretty cool.

 

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

When I worked at a pub I was asked would I rather have chicken sized man legs or man sized chicken legs – that’s pretty hard to beat.

Know Your BDM: Gareth Gale, Scottish Widows Bank

Know Your BDM: Gareth Gale, Scottish Widows Bank

 

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

I cover a large area of South Wales and the South West. I manage relationships with these advisers alongside our telephone business development managers (TBDMs).

 

How do you establish and maintain a good relationship with brokers?

All brokers are different, and work with a wide range of clients, so I make sure that I understand their challenges and what they are trying to achieve. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to maintaining good relationships, and I really do make the effort to get to know brokers as individuals.

 

What personal skill is most valuable in doing your job?

The most important personal skills for this job are time management and being organised. I cover a large area across Wales and the South West, so it is crucial that I am organised to ensure I have enough time to spend with brokers and make sure that queries are dealt with on time.

 

What personal skill would you most like to improve on?

In any role it is vital to keep learning, developing and improving. Understanding the complexities and challenges of working as a broker and how we can help is a must.

 

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

The best bit of career advice I have had is ‘never stop improving’. Regardless of how well or how long people have been doing their role, there is always room for improvement.

 

What is the most memorable property deal you’ve been involved in?

Having been involved in so many different enquiries over the years, it’s hard to pick out just one. I will always give 100 per cent to any enquiry and like to think between myself and the adviser, we can explore all available options to help clients get their mortgage and property.

 

If you were head of the FCA for the day, what would you change about regulation in the mortgage industry?

That is a huge job, and I’m sure there is lots I would want to look at. As a priority, I’d want to focus on first-time buyers. Although a lot has been done to help first-time buyers with schemes such as Help to Buy, I still think there is more that can be done to help get this segment of buyers onto the market.

 

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

I love meeting and working with new people which makes a BDM role ideal. The industry is forever changing and the role is so varied, which really drives me. I never thought I’d be doing this job, but I’m definitely in the right place.

 

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

I’ve always fancied myself as a builder or carpenter. I’ve taken on a few larger DIY projects where my enthusiasm has outweighed my ability but it’s still something I enjoy.

 

What did you want to be growing up?

I’ve always liked maths, so once I realised my football was not up to scratch I knew I would end up doing something in finance.

 

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

It would definitely be the ability to fly. The amount of time I spend sat in the car in traffic means this would save me hours every week.

 

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

Having been in my job for many years, I’ve been asked several odd questions, however the strangest question is ‘Can we secure a mortgage on a house made out of an old train carriage?’ I almost ‘lost steam’ with that one.

 

 

 

 

Know Your BDM: Heidi Deaton, Leeds Building Society

Know Your BDM: Heidi Deaton, Leeds Building Society

 

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

I cover a proportion of both North and West Yorkshire broker firms, including those in Harrogate, Leeds, Bradford and Wakefield.

 

How do you establish and maintain a good relationship with brokers?

Providing a great service is a sure fire way of building relationships so that means being quick to respond to enquiries and issues. 

It’s important to remain as honest and upfront as possible and keep my promises. Regular face-to-face contact and telephone or email helps to maintain those good relationships.

 

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

Organisational and inter-personal skills are key. Being on the road means I need to organise and plan my days in advance, taking into consideration time between appointments to assist and reply to any enquiries.

Being approachable and friendly are also important skills, but listening to brokers and their customers is vital because not everyone’s circumstances and needs are the same.

 

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

Understanding all of our competitors’ criteria is an area I’d like to improve on, but finding the time to look into it can be challenging. 

We’re all about delivering great service to our brokers and having the knowledge of other lenders’ criteria is particularly helpful when brokers come to me with a case another lender may be able to help with if we’re unable to do so on that occasion.

 

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

It’s a simple piece of advice: Do what makes you happy. You spend a large proportion of your time working so it’s important not to spend that time unhappy.

 

What is the most interesting/memorable property deal you’ve been involved in?

One that sticks in my mind was earlier in my career when I was advising independently. I had been assisting a family with their mortgage and there had been a delay in funds being released. They were in the removal van waiting for the keys and I worked endlessly that morning talking to the solicitors and lender to make things happen to ensure the transaction was completed. 

Understandably, it was a stressful time for them and I was pleased to be able to help. They sent me a huge bunch of flowers and card to thank me, which made it memorable.

 

If you were head of the Financial Conduct Authority for the day, what would you change about regulation in the mortgage industry?

In a nutshell, simplify it. It’s often far more complicated than it needs to be.

 

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

I really enjoyed being a mortgage adviser – the journey and satisfaction of helping someone buying their own home was brilliant.

The benefit of this role is combining those elements of the job with being able to build relationships everyday with brokers and having the freedom from being stuck behind a desk.

 

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

It would probably be an estate agent for luxury homes. I’d really like to look around other people’s homes.

 

What did you want to be growing up?

An interior designer. Although I’m sure my husband’s delighted I didn’t pursue that career as he tells me we have far too many cushions in the house as it is.

 

If you could have one super power, what would it be?

Time travel. If only I could see what the rollover lottery numbers were going to be.

 

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

It would probably be this one.

Damian Thompson: Don’t just think about a black person pushing through barriers, break through your own

Damian Thompson: Don’t just think about a black person pushing through barriers, break through your own

 

In the second part of his story to conclude the month, Thompson describes how despite severe prejudice he built his career, and his hopes and dreams for the future.

 

I worked for three years as a cashier and not only was I the first black person to work in the branch, but I was the only black person in the business north of the M25 and south of Leeds.

That was the point when I decided I would never lose my West Indian accent, not only because wherever I was I had to be myself, but many customers really responded positively to it.

There was a fair share of negative experiences too.

Some customers would not let me serve them and would wait for the next cashier, but I never wavered and never responded to it. It was hard when there were 10 people in the queue and no one wanted to be served by me.

There were some customers who would come to me and over time I was able to build very good relationships with them and get to understand their needs. I never gave up and built resilience.

 

Career advice

In my role, for a long time, I was not put on the accelerated training programmes. Other people would be brought in and they would get promoted quicker than me.

But what I rapidly recognised was that a lot of them who went up quickly came down just as fast.

Watching them, I decided I would not try to go vertically in the bank, but I would instead layer my career by doing every job I could do in the business.

I knew it would take me longer to get to a senior position, but it meant that when I got there I’d have a degree of competence and skill and knowledge that meant I was a recognised partner in the senior team.

One lesson I’d share for people who want to grow in the financial industry is to be very careful of looking up.

Instead, get a broad base of experience – even if you can’t see how it could move your career on – get depth of knowledge first, then you will be able to deal with a number of situations with greater confidence and experience.

 

The BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) Mantra

If you’re from any minority ethnic community in the UK you have been brought up with this mantra: “You have to work twice as hard as everybody else.”

You can either be resentful of that, or you can recognise the power in it.

I’ve always had a natural curiosity to learn and I’m grounded in learning.

In life this is not always true, but it’s about playing the long game and working much smarter.

But what does Black History Month mean to me?

In every organisation that you work in you create history. Aldermore is the most diverse executive committee I have ever worked in across my 27 years in finance and it will have huge benefits for the bank as the diversity of skills is amazing.

My first trip to the continent of Africa was to attend the First Rand National conference and I was amazed at the diversity in the leadership population, it was so refreshing to see and be a part of.

Black history is a chance to reflect on how much you know about what’s going on around you and how you challenge long-held beliefs through fact-based conversations.

As I reflect on my own family who are of dual heritage, I’m committed to talking to them about the history of both sides of their heritage and to provide them with positive role models like Lewis Hamilton, Barack Obama and Yasuke, the first black samurai.

 

Make companies more diverse

For those who want to start educating themselves about black history, the internet has great diversity of information so I would suggest starting there. The BBC also has an excellent section on the topic.

Watch Ray, the movie about Ray Charles. It is not just the story of a black man who was blind, but the first to own his own music rights, paving the way for all performers, not just for black artists.

Hidden Figures is one of my favourites too. It looks at the role played by female mathematicians at NASA.

A very powerful film being used to support and develop female participation in roles that have long been male dominated.

These films will help contextualise and allow people to reflect on the barriers people before us have pushed through.

But don’t just think about a black person pushing through barriers, it’s about the barriers that we all have in front of us. Think about the things that you need to do to break through your own barriers.

If there is one thing that I could do, it would be to open closed minds and give people the ability to walk in someone else’s shoes.

In addition, I’d like to find a way to make companies much more diverse in everything that they do.

Diversity is about all areas of diversity, be it race, gender or disability, and learning more about those challenges makes for better understanding and support.

 

You can read the first part of Damian’s story here.

 

Damian Thompson: Black History Month highlights the importance of different perspectives within financial services

Damian Thompson: Black History Month highlights the importance of different perspectives within financial services

 

In celebration of this month Damian Thompson, retail mortgages director at Aldermore, reflects about growing up in Barbados, trying to get a job in finance when moving to the UK, and his hopes and dreams for the future.

 

For many, Black History Month is a way of reflecting on the diverse histories of those in the UK from African and African Caribbean descent, taking note of their achievements and contributions to social, political, economic and cultural development.

Black History month is a topic that has created some debate in my house, as it does across much of the UK, for example, why do we need it? Here is my answer:

Black history is not well known across the globe and for a lot of young black people information and knowledge about the history is not accessible to them.

The history month is a way of providing a defined period in which black history can be shared, to support their identity and build their belief in black contributions to life beyond sport and entertainment.

This is so important to support understanding and prevent their beliefs from limiting their potential, as a lot of this history is not widely known.

 

Learning from Haiti

It can also provide an important backdrop for increased knowledge and understanding. Let’s look at an example.

Many people would not have heard of Toussaint Louverture. He was the most well-known leader of the Haitian Revolution, which helped secure Haiti as the first free colonial society to have explicitly rejected race as the basis of social ranking.

However, after his victory, the colonial powers placed a blockade on Haiti and made it pay an equivalent amount in 1825 of $21bn to preserve its independence.

It’s hard to say whether that is a reason for some of its issues today but it would definitely have played a part in its struggles as a fledgling nation.

An understanding of that history allows you to place that country in a different context than the one you see today.

So black history is not only for people of colour – it is for anyone who wants to know more about the rich and diverse world we inhabit.

 

Motivation

I was born in Epsom in the UK, but as a four-year-old my parents decided to move back to Barbados for our education.

Growing up there, I remember thinking that everyone from the prime minister to the local bank manager was like me. With such fantastic role models, I therefore grew up thinking that I could achieve anything in life that I put my mind to.

I remember having dinner with my friends in the UK when I returned to this country to live at 18 years old in 1990.

None of them had seen me for about 15 years, and they asked me what I would like to do?

Now, I had been up and down the high street in Birmingham looking for jobs.

I had looked at banks and thought I’d like to work in a bank, as they had reliable pay and that would be good to support me to buy a house. So that’s what I said over dinner that night.

My family was sceptical. At the time, they hadn’t seen anyone like me working in a bank and that it would be a struggle to be widely accepted. So I said: “Well, I’ll be the first.”

 

Recruitment processes

It took me nine months to find a job and I had some of the worst experiences of trying to find a job in the 1990s.

It’s not obvious from my name on my CV that I’m black, so I would turn up to an interview and then be told, “Sorry, we have already filled the role”, even when I was the first interviewee. I then started to call before I went for interviews to see if the role had been filled.

I could have got angry about this but instead I would say to the interviewer, “I appreciate that you’ve filled the role, but you’ve got half an hour of your time already allotted, would you mind still taking me through the interview process so I can get some practice?”

A few people would, and on a number of occasions I got calls after the interview offering me the job but I didn’t take them because if that was the process going in, I didn’t feel comfortable that it would be the place for me.

 

Halifax

I initially got recruited to Halifax in 1991 and that was by far the best hiring process I had experienced.

First you had written tests, followed by an interview. There were around 20 candidates applying for jobs the same day I was.

We all went into a room with an individual interviewer who had a number of cue cards to ask each candidate and these were situational questions, asking what would you do in this scenario?

I remember this interviewer asking me the first couple of cue cards and I could see people getting up and walking out of the other rooms, but she kept asking me more and more questions.

Then more people walked out, and she proceeded to ask me every single cue card in her deck.

I was there for around an hour asking myself, why is she asking me all these questions? Is she trying to catch me out?

 

Different perspective

When I got back to my uncle and aunt’s home about a mile away, my aunt was there smiling.

She asked how the interview went and I explained that it was rough and how I thought the interviewer was trying to catch me out.

By now my aunt was laughing and she then told me that the woman had just called and said that they’d like to offer me the job – I’d be starting on Monday.

A couple of years later, I met the interviewer again and asked her why she had asked me every single cue card?

She told me: “I’ve been doing this for 28 years and I’ve never met anybody with such different answers to the common problems that we face. You had such a different perspective that I knew you’d be really useful for the bank.”

 

Tomorrow Damian Thompson concludes his story and Black History Month by discussing his career so far and advising those who want to follow in his footsteps or understand more about diverse people.

 

Rising Star: Calum Waite, Funding 365

Rising Star: Calum Waite, Funding 365

 

What does your role entail and how long have you been doing it?

At Funding 365, the underwriters are the sole point of contact to the introducer or borrower from the initial enquiry through to completion and beyond. Primarily, I critically analyse the credit worthiness of a loan and process the application, but I also work to build relationships with our partners and have been doing so for three years.

 

What attracted you to working in the property finance sector?

I hold a keen interest in both property and finance probably as a result of the family business – my mum is a property professional and so from a young age I have lived countless refurbishment projects.

 

What were you doing in the five years before starting here?

I was working on building sites, before travelling around Asia, and then three years of accruing student debt while gaining a degree in business economics.

 

What personal skill is most valuable in doing your job?

Remaining calm under pressure is vital when you are working at a fast-paced bridging lender where borrowers often need funds yesterday.

 

What personal skill would you most like to improve on?

I am always looking to improve as an underwriter and better my credit and industry knowledge, as well as focusing on training and guiding the next generation of skilled underwriters here.

 

What is the most interesting property deal/case you’ve been involved in?

It’s very exciting to work on complex seven figure transactions for ultra high net worth clients that complete in a matter of a few days, but mostly I enjoy working with repeat borrowers and watching their businesses flourish.

 

Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?

Ideally, I’d like to be on a beach in a hammock with a mojito in one hand and a guitar in the other. In reality, I might not have reached retirement just yet and will have to settle for running the best bridging lender in the country.

 

If present-day you could go back in time and tell yourself something five years ago, what would it be?

I would tell myself to make the most of the last long summer holidays before real life begins.

 

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve tackled so far in your career?

Refining the new criteria and making sure we respond to broker feedback to ensure we provide new products that fit the market has been a great experience.

 

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

I’m not interested in flying or being able to teleport, my superpower would be to be able to sing like Marvin Gaye.

 

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

“Will you lend on a retired racehorse?”