Working as a case manager could be frustrating at times because your hands were tied by policy and you were unable to make lending decisions, which could create strained relationships with brokers.
The development of Accord’s new underwriting approach, initiated in September 2015, provided the case management team with huge potential for development and growth. We were all trained as underwriters, giving us the autonomy to make commonsense and responsible lending decisions, and deal with cases from day one to offer stage.
During the three month in-house training programme, we undertook a two-week classroom based course with interactive sessions examining our lending policy and areas of risk, as well as reviewing industry regulation. We then moved on to process live cases, under supervision, which were thoroughly checked before a lending decision was made. Further training was given to individuals who needed additional development. To be mandated as an underwriter, candidates had to demonstrate they were fully competent in all areas.
Newly mandated underwriters receive a great amount of support, and there is plenty of opportunity for further development, such as specialising in more complex cases like large loan lending. The whole team regularly attends training updates, which provide revision on specific topics and address any trends or errors that have occurred.
I was extremely keen to become an underwriter and I received my first underwriting mandate after 10 working days, which was previously unprecedented – the average time it takes an underwriter to be fully mandated is 10 to 14 weeks. For me, confidence, an appreciation of risks and, most importantly, passion and enthusiasm for the role, are all imperative to becoming a successful underwriter.
Brokers are also reaping the rewards – they can now speak directly to underwriters, and even get in touch with us prior to submitting an application. My relationships with brokers have greatly improved because we’re now working more closely than ever before with them to achieve the same goal, and we are all passionate about helping borrowers to buy their dream home. We are able to consider all the factors in a case and look at the application as a complete entity, making autonomous, commonsense decisions about the borrower. This has removed the need for some of the documentation which is a great time-saver for both brokers and us.
At the start of this year, I was proud to be promoted to manage a team of nine underwriters. I’m in a great position as I have been in their shoes, so I can share my knowledge and enthusiasm, and help the team to flourish in their careers.