Know Your BDM: Helen Mountain, Vida Homeloans

Know Your BDM: Helen Mountain, Vida Homeloans

 

How many advisers and broker firms do you cover in your role?

My area stretches from Southampton across to Kent and up to South West London, so I have lots of brokers representing a hugely diverse and differing demographic.

 

How do you successfully organise and deal with business on a daily basis?

Having such a large area, my ability to organise my day is vital to my success. Through a combination of geographical zoning, using technology and with a hint of cold calling thrown in for good measure, I’m able to maximise my face-to-face calls while ensuring telephone broker contact is maintained.

 

What issues come up time and time again?

Apart from the obvious clarification around our policy points, I’m often asked about our processes for business submission as many of my contacts are new to Vida. Satisfyingly, their next call to me is often another new enquiry as our systems are designed to make the broker journey as efficient as possible.

 

What do you wish brokers understood about your job?

That my broker relationships are key to both of us being successful and that I work tirelessly to add value. Balancing my efforts externally to foster trusted business partners while liaising with internal colleagues can be a tricky process and one that thankfully, I’ve become rather adept at.

 

What do you think is the most important attribute of a good BDM?

Determination and organisation are absolutely key. Not only does this mean I can position appropriate and tailored lending solutions to each new business enquiry, but can proactively prioritise my activity to ensure returning calls, answering emails and following up are all effectively addressed as required.

 

When you’re unavailable to be contacted by telephone, what’s the second-best way for brokers to get in touch?

The easiest way to get in touch if I’m not available is by leaving a voicemail or to send an email. I try to return calls and emails as soon as possible and at the very least, the same day. And of course brokers can always call the Vida telephone BDM team as an alternative.

 

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

I’d ensure that the FCA had a more granular understanding of brokers’ day-to-day activities, concerns and pressures so that they could position regulation roll-out to the specialist market in a more favourable way.

 

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

Working in the retail banking sector some 30 years ago, I quickly realised I needed a more challenging role and progressed to being a BDM 18 long years ago. During my time within financial services, both in the UK and Australia, I’ve gained lots of experience in both creating and maintaining business relationships which, in my current role at Vida, has proved invaluable.

 

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

For me, it’s all about trust and working together. By maintaining regular contact and providing ways that Vida’s policy can help, I’m constantly adding value to my broker relationships. I’ll always do what I say I’ll do and I strive to provide the best possible service I can to both my brokers and their clients. I want to be viewed as the go-to BDM for as many appropriate enquiries as possible.

 

And how do you establish and maintain good relationships internally?

Since joining Vida it’s been clear there is a common drive to constantly improve our broker proposition and my understanding of the roles of others in various functions at Vida’s head office has ensured we all pull together to deliver this. Oh, and a few post team meeting drinks with the head office crew usually helps as well.

 

What’s the strangest question you’ve ever been asked?

Random (slightly inebriated) guy on the last tube home: ‘Would you rather fight one giant duck or 100 tiny ducks?’
Safe to say I got off at the next station without being pursued by either option.

 

And finally, what did you want to be growing up?

Apart from my schoolgirl desire to be a dancer on Top of the Pops, my real passion was gymnastics.  Sadly, my adult coordination let me down and the world of finance beckoned as a close second.

 

 

Know Your BDM: Donna Johnson, One Family

Know Your BDM: Donna Johnson, One Family

 

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

I’m based in the North West and cover as many as will welcome me through their doors.

 

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

Taking a keen interest in my brokers and their business is a good platform, along with regular communication and engagement – plus Krispy Kreme’s tend to go down well.

 

What personal skill is most valuable in doing your job?

Listening skills are important. Knowing your customer is key, so when my brokers tell me about themselves personally on top of their business it’s nice to touch back on that in future appointments.

 

What personal skill would you most like to improve on?

Industry knowledge about the lifetime market. Coming from the specialist lending area this is a whole new world.

 

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

Never be afraid to ask, there are no stupid questions in this industry. Every day is a school day.

 

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

A broker referred a case to me 12 months ago, his client was looking to purchase a care home in which he was also the manager of. The funds were raised and spread across three properties, his residential property and two buy-to-let properties and the funds were raised using second charge mortgages. This was a great and cost-effective alternative to commercial lending.

 

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

Oh, I’m struggling with this one, can I phone a friend?

 

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

It wasn’t a difficult decision being a people person to go down this career path. Being out and meeting new people is great; the financial industry is so diverse and exciting to be a part of.

 

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

An interior designer – I have a slight obsession with home DIY.

 

What did you want to be growing up?

A detective – watching Colombo with my dad on a Sunday afternoon possibly had an influence on that.

 

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

To be invisible – I could have some fun with that.

 

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

“Would you like ketchup on your bacon sandwich?” Absolutely not, brown sauce is a given isn’t it?

 

Know Your BDM: Heidi Lang, The Nottingham for Intermediaries

Know Your BDM: Heidi Lang, The Nottingham for Intermediaries

 

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

I cover a total of 52 postcodes in total, ranging from Wales, Lancashire, East Anglia and all London locations. I also look after brokers from Scotland and Ireland, as although we don’t lend in those locations they may wish to place business in England and Wales.

 

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

I make contact with all my brokers over the phone – this includes welcome calls when they first register, a thank you call when they do business and regular catch-up calls to ensure they are kept up to date. I am head office-based in Nottingham so I am available five days a week for brokers to call or email me.
I am always on hand to discuss any criteria or potential cases and happy to put forward any requests for exceptions to policy where I believe there is a case for us to lend. I work closely with the underwriters; only being a stone’s throw away from them is a real advantage.

 

What personal skill is most valuable in doing your job?

I’d say building a rapport over the phone, as it can be quite difficult to keep it interesting when talking about criteria or trying to sell a service. I firmly believe it’s about personality, as well as being articulate and interesting, and of course knowledgeable.

 

What personal talent would you most like to improve on?

I am currently learning how to kick box so I would like to improve on my flexibility.

 

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

My first bit of advice was to remember that good customer service is key. Be prepared to go over and above to help a customer as first impressions count. Secondly, manage your team in a firm but fair way. Be supportive, flexible and have a willingness to invest time with your team and you will find that they will then be willing and flexible for you.

 

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

The Nottingham launched into the retirement interest-only (RIO) market in February; I took the opportunity to educate my brokers ahead of the launch and was very pleased to have the first RIO case to come into us on day one. The clients were looking to enhance their lifestyle by capital raising to improve their current residence and thus making their later years more comfortable.
It was great to be able to help them do this, a solution for lending in later life is really important. It was good to be involved in the first RIO application so definitely memorable and pleasing to say there have been more since.

 

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

I would want to support the younger borrower better. I would like it to be easier for a first-time buyer to get on the property ladder.

 

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

I joined the financial services industry from the tender age of 16 and have developed from an admin role, through to customer service, management of staff and managers. Business development was the next step to my career by keeping in the same line of work but promoting the society’s lending ambitions.

 

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

I feel like I have done most things within this industry that I wanted to do. There was a time some years ago that I wanted to own an estate agency business, however I am glad that I didn’t pursue that line of business because I wouldn’t be doing what I do now.

 

What did you want to be growing up?

I have always wanted to be a TV presenter. I remember getting a microphone for Christmas. I can’t sing so I had to think of something else I could use it for. I ended up going round my family interviewing them.
I would like to be on the panel of Loose Women. I am a good listener, have an opinion and will always challenge where appropriate. They are missing out not having me on there.

 

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

I would like to be invisible. I often say to myself: “If only I could have been a fly on the wall.” That way I wouldn’t need to be a fly.

 

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

My daughter asked me a few years ago if her life would have been any different if I didn’t have any children.

 

Know Your BDM: Leanne Arundell, Leeds Building Society

Know Your BDM: Leanne Arundell, Leeds Building Society

 

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

I cover Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire. So that means I look after all advisers in Luton, Milton Keynes, Hemel Hempstead, Enfield, St Albans, Stevenage, Watford and the surrounding areas.

 

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

The main thing for me is regular contact which is key to growing solid partnerships. It can be as simple as keeping everyone updated with criteria changes, new exclusive products or being available when needed.
Building trust and a reputation for reliability with brokers is vital to building and maintaining lasting relationships.

 

What personal skill is most valuable in doing your job?

The adage of people buy from people couldn’t be more relevant, so being able to listen and understand the needs of advisers I help are the personal skills that are the most valuable to me.
This helps me assess each situation and then work closely with our product and mortgage lending teams to achieve the best results for brokers and their clients.

 

What personal skill would you most like to improve on?

Often it’s easy to focus solely on the day-to-day, and sometimes personal development can be neglected. So this year I’m focusing on my internal stakeholder relationship skills – something that was a lot easier when I was based in our Leeds head office.

 

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

It’s a classic but I think it would be ‘treat people as you would like to be treated’.

 

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

The ones that stick in your mind are those where the homebuyer is in difficult or unusual circumstances. One in particular involved someone going through a divorce, which meant they were going through two of the more stressful things in life. Keeping in regular contact with the broker and updating them ultimately made the process straightforward for the customer and they were able to get the result they wanted.

 

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

Not necessarily regulation, but it would be great if as an industry we could try to reduce technical jargon and make things clearer and easier for customers to understand.

 

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

I’ve always been involved in the financial sector and started my career as a mortgage processor. This was great grounding but I’m always looking for new challenges and the BDM role really appealed.
The opportunity to get out from behind a desk, meet people face-to-face and really help brokers and their customers was a significant factor in the decision.

 

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

A role where I could train those looking to move into the mortgage sector.

 

What did you want to be growing up?

A teacher. It seems like there’s a common theme that’s been with me from a young age.

 

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

Teleportation – it would really help with the traffic.

 

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

If you were an animal, what would you be? It’s a common icebreaker but it’s one that I always overthink and end up picking something that doesn’t really reflect me as a person. If you want to know, I’d be a dove. Always looking for peaceful resolutions of issues and making sure everyone is happy.

 

 

 

 

 

Know Your BDM: Gavin Kyle, Foundation Home Loans

Know Your BDM: Gavin Kyle, Foundation Home Loans

 

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

I manage a team of seven internal BDMs (IBDM) who between them cover all of England & Wales. I also manage the sales support team who make sure we can register new brokers who want to place business with us, and who support the wider sales team in their day-to-day role.

 

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

My team deals with inbound calls from brokers who want to discuss their new cases, and determine if the case fits our criteria. The IBDMs also make outbound calls to brokers within their region to keep them up to date on our proposition and products as we launch new products.

 

What personal skill is most valuable in doing your job?

For me it’s all about having strong communication skills. Being able to communicate with my team, brokers and our colleagues is crucial.

 

What personal skill would you most like to improve on?

As someone who is currently learning to drive at a rather late age, it’s definitely my driving. I’ve improved a lot over the last few weeks so watch out for me on the roads soon.

 

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

Take care of your people and they will take care of the work. This has served me well in my career to date.

 

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

One of my team recently had a broker submit a large portfolio of properties with total loans valued at £5m. Although I wasn’t directly involved, seeing the hard work that he put in, and the sense of pride and satisfaction he got from it, it was extremely rewarding as a manager.

 

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

In the world of residential, I would remove the requirement to cap Loan to Income ratios (LTIs). The replacement of income multiples with a more detailed review of actual income and expenditure was a positive development, however the regulator still requires the lender to cap LTIs on residential loans to 15 per cent. If the new approach of affordability confirms the loans including rate increases are affordable, then is this cap necessary?

If I stretch the question a bit and could also be Chancellor of the Exchequer for a day, I would change both the stamp duty on second and subsequent properties, and the taxation of buy to lets.

 

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

I’ve worked in financial services for a number of years and I suppose I fell into sales as my career progressed. I’ve always enjoyed working in a fast-paced and targeted environment, and the buzz of a busy and successful team is what gets me out of bed in the morning.

 

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

I think I would like to spend more time outdoors in the summer so maybe a gardener on a large estate – even though I have definitely not got green fingers.

 

What did you want to be growing up?

My mother tells me when I was really young I used to say I wanted to be a doctor – my wooziness at the sight of blood quickly put an end to that. My dad was a fireman for many years so that was another early childhood dream.

 

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

I would love to be able to fly – this would save me a fortune on flights when I go home to Ireland to visit family and friends.

 

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

I continually get asked what part of Scotland I’m from. Coming from Northern Ireland and having a strong Belfast accent, this always baffles me here in England.

 

 

Know Your BDM: Paul Sawford, Tipton

Know Your BDM: Paul Sawford, Tipton

 

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

I cover the South East, which comprises Hertfordshire, Essex, North & East London and parts of Cambridgeshire. I support more than 100 firms made up of sole traders, larger players and two Tipton-approved packagers.

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

My main priority is to be well organised and to plan effectively. I arrange appointments two weeks in advance followed by a face-to-face meeting where I learn the challenges faced by each broker. Once this has taken place, I offer on-going support and guidance on relevant products and criteria changes to my broker contacts.

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

To be knowledgeable of Tipton’s product offering combined with understanding the niche markets in which we operate. I always go the extra mile and persevere to assist our brokers. Clarity and transparency in my communication to our brokers is vitally important. 

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

To remain always positive and upbeat and to keep smiling – even when things aren’t going perfectly to plan. 

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

To keep it simple and always treat others as you wish to be treated. And to use the method: know, like, trusted, value. People get to know you, like you (hopefully), trust what you’re saying to them and ultimately value your feedback and opinion.

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

The first family home I bought when my daughter was a year old. A lovely four-bedroom home with a garden where she learned to walk and played with her toys. Very happy memories.

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

I would simplify processes and improve collaboration between all the professionals involved in financial services, including brokers, solicitors, surveyors and estate agents.

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

I like to meet people. And I talk a lot, which I get from my mother. Progression into BDM roles has been quite natural. A former line manager once said, ‘I like your tenacity,’ and a broker recently described me as ‘a fastidious BDM’.

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

I would like to have been a property developer. I’ve seen how properties can be transformed from a shell into a beautiful looking home for an individual, couple or family. It would give me great pleasure to see people live happily in a property that was of my making. 

What did you want to be growing up?

A BDM, of course . . .

But seriously, that’s an easy one: a professional footballer. The yard of pace I never had was my Achilles’s heel.

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

The ability to see into the future.

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

Hmm, well, it’s not work-related, but, somebody once asked if I was Ian Beale — aka the actor Adam Woodyatt — from EastEnders.

Know Your BDM: Nadeem Iqbal, Accord Mortgages

Know Your BDM: Nadeem Iqbal, Accord Mortgages

 

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

I currently support approximately 100 broker firms across my area which broadly covers Greater Manchester.

 

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

The biggest factor in maintaining excellent relationships is to provide a high-quality service. This means returning calls, responding to email quickly and going the extra mile to be helpful. An excellent BDM can be a crucial factor in where a broker places business.

 

What personal talent is most valuable in doing your job?

Integrity. To gain credibility and the trust of brokers, a good BDM must be honest, sensitive, empathetic and knowledgeable in all relevant areas. They should be keen to support the broker in every way possible and therefore provide the highest level of service. In my view, all these things define integrity.

 

What personal skill would you most like to improve on?

Technology. Online tools like LinkedIn are increasingly playing an important part in communicating with brokers, so I’m developing my knowledge to ensure that I can keep pace.

 

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

A negative situation always provides an opportunity to gain credibility. For example, if a broker is unhappy about something, pick up the phone and speak to them urgently. This shows that you care and are prepared to hear their views and then do what is required to resolve it to their satisfaction. The BDMs most respected by brokers are the ones who immediately take ownership for the situation and resolve it quickly.

 

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

I have had a few high-profile professional footballer cases, however, the ones that tend to linger in the mind are the relatively small cases where we help someone secure their dream property when they thought it might not be possible. Last year, a client had experienced some adverse credit and was struggling to find a lender to take them on at 95 per cent loan to value. The broker contacted me and we managed to get it agreed. We made the broker look like the hero but, more importantly, made the client’s dream come true. The feedback from the broker was truly moving.

 

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

I would find a way to make compliance requirements for brokers easier. While it is necessary to safeguard clients and ensure they are fully informed, many brokers believe it has gone a little too far and often leaves less time to write more business.

 

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

It provides an opportunity to make a very tangible contribution to the business. BDM relationships with brokers are key to obtaining business and brokers will tell you that a good BDM will offer them more confidence in using a lender. Also, despite all the changes and improvements in technology over the years, one thing has remained constant – it is still a people business and nothing can replicate that. What I love more than anything else is to get to know my brokers, understand their business and offer solutions that help their clients. I have brokers who will be my friends after I hang up my BDM boots.

 

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

If I fancied a change, I would be a mortgage broker. It is a tough business but extremely rewarding as brokers play the central role in helping clients achieve their dreams. They deal with the estate agent, the lender, the solicitor, sometimes an accountant and often other parties, and take on that responsibility to remove all the stress away from their clients and give them the best possible solution.

 

What did you want to be growing up?

A professional cricketer, but the glamour of the BDM world was too much to resist.

 

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

If I could fly like Superman to my broker meetings, it would be so much better than being stuck in traffic jams around Manchester.

 

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

While in mid-flow explaining our key USPs, one female broker who I was meeting for the first time interrupted me and said excitedly: “Oh my God, your eye lashes are amazing. How do you get them like that?” And of course, it is true – they are amazing.

 

 

 

Know Your BDM: Christian Gugolz, MT Finance

Know Your BDM: Christian Gugolz, MT Finance

 

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

I cover London and the South East so the opportunities are endless.

 

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

Understanding a broker’s business and how they work is vital; it ensures that the communication you have is effective. We all have a common goal, which is to get the client what they need.

 

What personal skill is most valuable in doing your job?

I think there are two very important skills. You need to be empathetic with brokers and clients, as well as knowledgeable about your products and the market. Having worked on the brokerage side, as a BDM I have an idea as to what the job involves and understand that sometimes brokers don’t have all the information a lender needs.

 

What personal talent would you most like to improve on?

Golf. It’s that time of year where the golf days are starting to happen and I can be very competitive.

 

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

Don’t be scared to make mistakes – and when you make them, learn from them.

 

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

We lent 70 per cent loan-to-value on a holiday let in Cornwall. It was the first time we did a deal like this which showed how flexible we can be, so I would say this is the one that has stood out most in my mind.

 

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

I would take a more commonsense approach to lending.

 

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

To be honest, I fell into it. Luckily, I enjoy it, particularly getting out and seeing people, rather than being stuck behind a desk.

 

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

Most probably a property developer. I enjoy watching programmes like ‘Homes under the Hammer’ and ‘Grand Designs” – it’s fascinating to see someone transform a property from nothing into something extraordinary. The vision that some of these developers have is incredible.

 

What did you want to be growing up?

A professional sportsman, ideally a golfer, because of all the travelling. Seeing the world while doing something you love has to be the ultimate dream.

 

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

To be able to teleport so I could visit more brokers in a single day. It would be great to travel from one meeting to the next without having to drive for two and a half hours to get there.

 

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

Probably this one.

 

 

Know Your BDM: Rebecca Watkins, BM Solutions

Know Your BDM: Rebecca Watkins, BM Solutions

 

How many advisers and broker firms do you cover in your role?

I have just secured a new role which means I look after 1,121 advisers across 674 firms based in and around Bristol, Bath and Dorset. It sounds quite daunting, but I also love the challenge.

 

How do you successfully organise and deal with business on a daily basis?

After my previous roles as a mortgage adviser and branch manager I am highly organised and have adopted the ‘drop, delay, delegate and do’ method. This has worked brilliantly for me to date and means the vital tasks are always prioritised. I make sure that I answer my phone as a priority and respond to emails between calls.

 

What issues come up time and time again?

The nature of a BDM’s role and a broker’s role means they are always in a meeting or travelling so telephone tennis is a daily occurrence but we have our telephone BDMs to help, and I respond to emails between calls. Questions around complex criteria or questions regarding our policies i.e. tenure of flats, affordability or portfolio landlords also come up again and again.

 

What do you wish brokers understood about your job?

I feel brokers already have a great understanding of the role, and we ultimately have the same goal. We’re all working to help clients purchase their dream home, make their investment or save them some money. If you didn’t have this emotional connection with the client you couldn’t do the job that we do.

 

What do you think is the most important attribute of a good BDM?

I feel knowledge is key, so understanding lending policy and criteria is really important. Also, as clichéd as it may sound, ’time is money’ to a broker so if you can answer a query straight away, and give them a decision, then this will increase your credibility.

 

When you’re unavailable to be contacted by telephone, what’s the second-best way for brokers to get in touch?

We are extremely lucky in BM Solutions to work a dual contact strategy so there is a field BDM and an office BDM for every patch. We prompt all brokers to copy both BDMs into emails and whoever is free first will respond.

 

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

First I would say no more changes, as we have had so many since the Mortgage Market Review in 2014, I think we are all suffering change fatigue. I would walk a day in the life of a mortgage broker to try and understand how the changes have not only impacted the broker but also the client.

 

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

I have worked within banking for more than 10 years and have found being a mortgage adviser one of the most rewarding jobs I have ever done. The opportunity to stay within mortgages and build relationships with external clients and stakeholders ticked every box and was the perfect next step for me.

 

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

I believe a good personality really helps, so being able to have some banter and engaging with people on a human level will get you far. Credibility and knowledge of systems, criteria and processes really embeds that relationship. An understanding of the broker world, including the good, the bad and the ugly, is also invaluable.

 

And how do you establish and maintain good relationships internally?

This is absolutely vital for all aspects of the role. Having key internal stakeholder relationships can make my working life easier which translates into making the broker life easier. In most cases, these colleagues are also friends so they understand the pressures of the role and really want to make my life easier, and so do I in turn.

 

What’s the strangest question you’ve ever been asked?

Believe it or not, the strangest question was ‘Are your eyes real? They are really light blue, almost grey. The answer is they are – luckily I don’t have to pay for expensive contact lenses.

 

And finally, what did you want to be growing up?

I’m a massive tennis fan, so I really wanted to be a professional tennis player, and to win a Grand Slam, preferably Wimbledon. I had all the will and determination but sadly lack the talent – the Williams sisters don’t have anything to worry about.

 

 

Rising Star: Becki Darlington, Bridging Finance Solutions

Rising Star: Becki Darlington, Bridging Finance Solutions

 

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

I’m regional business development manager, west, at Bridging Finance Solutions (BFS). My role entails liaising with brokers and clients directly and dealing with queries regarding short-term bridging and development finance. I attend lots of local property and professionals’ events, to make contacts, as well as larger events in Birmingham and London, such as the National Association of Commercial Finance Brokers annual conference.

 

What attracted you to working in the mortgages and property finance sector?

I’ve always had an interest in property but never finance – I hated maths at school. My mum would put programmes such as Homes Under the Hammer, Kirsty and Phil, Grand Designs and George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces on TV all the time when I was young. You could say I was born into the interest.

 

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

Before I joined BFS, I worked at another lender as a loan manager. My role included tasks such as taking an application over the phone or by email, collating the information to take forward to credit committee for a decision, creation of the offer in principle, junior underwriting and risk analysis, organising valuation and legals, completion statements, continuous contact with clients for updates throughout the loan and redemption statements including release of the DS1 form. 

Prior to this I completed a two-year higher apprenticeship project management scheme at Unilever in the global home care team. I didn’t attend university and so instead I looked to gain further education through that scheme. I gained experience in creating and editing project plans, and developed my creative side in this role including some significant pieces of internal marketing that saved my team more than £40,000.

 

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

The personal talent that I find most valuable in my job is that I can remember what most people would consider as unnecessary information – things such as how many kids someone has or information about a family member that I can strike up in conversation the next time we talk. Most people are shocked that I can remember so much personal detail.

 

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

The aspect of my work I most want to improve is my database of contacts in the property business. As I have only been a business development manager for a short amount of time, it would be a benefit to meet as many new professionals and clients as possible. 

 

What’s the most interesting or memorable property case you’ve been involved in?

My first case which involved Deed of Probate and my first case which went into arrears and had to go through the legal stages of repossession. These cases are less frequent than most so it was interesting to learn the different requirements for both and how the legals had to be structured differently.

 

Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?

I’d like to see myself in a more senior position at BFS certainly. I am really enjoying meeting new people on a weekly basis at the moment and because I’m such a sociable person, I can’t see myself changing my role any time soon. If I did fancy a change, I might dip my toe back into underwriting and the administrative or organisation side of the office, but for now I’m happy where I am.

 

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

The best thing you ever did was defer your place at Manchester Met University, keep doing what you’re doing, and it’ll work out for the best.

 

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

Unfortunately, being spoken over and ignored as a female in a male-dominated profession. 

 

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

To find a forever home for all rescue animals. I have a rescue German Shepherd from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Giving him a family home at my parent’s house was the best and most rewarding feeling ever.

 

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

I somehow always get asked if I’m related to someone with the same last name as myself? I’m literally from such a small family with next to no relatives in the North of England but brokers and clients always ask if I’m related to people with the same last name up and down the country.