You are here: Home - News -

Good BDMs are ‘proactive and knowledgeable’ but quality is too varied ‒ analysis

  • 04/07/2023
  • 0
Good BDMs are ‘proactive and knowledgeable’ but quality is too varied ‒ analysis
A quality business development manager (BDM) can make all the difference in getting problem cases across the line, brokers have argued, though there was criticism of lenders where BDMs do little more than canvas votes for industry awards.

This week Quantum Mortgages announced the recruitment of its first field-based BDM, to supplement its office-based team, while the ongoing impact of the pandemic has led to debates around what constitutes the right set up for BDMs in the current market. 

Brokers told Mortgage Solutions their experience with lender BDMs was mixed, with some highlighting the impact they have made in helping tricky cases complete, while others argued they rarely have any meaningful dealings with them.

Getting a better perspective

The relationship between lender and broker is built by the BDM, argued Sebastian Riemann, director of Virtus Private Finance, who suggested that it’s always better to build trust through a face-to-face relationship.

He continued: “I actually think it works both ways as lenders can get a better idea of who they transact business with and vice versa. I always try to make time for BDMs, as a general chat on criteria and their niche can be imperative when speaking with clients. It may not seem relevant at any given time but then be of great importance the next meeting you have.”

Riemann argued that discussions with BDMs can also help brokers build a better understanding of the market from a different viewpoint, beyond focusing on the outcome for individual clients.

“There have been plenty of examples of this recently with rate withdrawals for instance. If you understand how individual lenders fund then you also get an idea as to how and why they withdraw rates at any particular time,” he added.

Kirsty White, head of mortgages at Tembo Money, said that the strong relationship the brokerage has built with certain BDMs has led to out of hours support “which is not expected, but gratefully received when it happens”.

She noted that as most of the Tembo team works remotely, there is little opportunity to engage with BDMs other than online, but suggested that meeting in person can be productive in building a rapport.

Online or in person?

Riemann questioned whether speaking with BDMs over the phone or on Zoom can have the same impact as face-to-face communication.

He explained: “When someone has a personal reputation at stake when outlining a particular stance, it seems they tend to be more careful to ensure accuracy. Zoom and telephone support can greatly enhance this offering but is never enough as a standalone.”

White added: “For Tembo as we are often very limited on the number of lenders we can work with there are usually grey areas of criteria or affordability that we need to discuss. Having great BDMs is hugely beneficial and really helps us help our customers. 

“The ideal BDM will be open to discussing areas where there are customer needs and then feeding that back to the underwriters to see if there is scope to make changes to improve the lending offer. At the moment Skipton, Livemore, Generation Home and Lendinvest are particularly strong when it comes to our BDM support.”

Then and now

Jane King, mortgage adviser at Ash Ridge Private Finance, said that there was a large contrast between her relationship with BDMs today compared with years past.

She noted that previously BDMs would “swing by the office every couple of months” to chat about changes to criteria or policy, and “you could rely on them to fight your corner if you felt that an application has been unfairly declined”.

Things are very different today, however. “If you are lucky they will call you back around three days after you have left them a couple of voicemails and an email, and tell you nothing you didn’t already know. For a small firm like mine, they don’t bother to visit although during the ‘awards’ season you will be bombarded with round robin emails begging for your vote.”

King concluded that while she used to have some amazing BDMs, now she had just one.

Responding quickly

Aaron Strutt, product and communications director, Trinity Financial, noted that increasingly BDMs are accompanied by their managers and pricing teams when visiting his firm’s offices “to explain what is happening in the market ‒ unfortunately there is a lot to talk about”.

He argued that from the broker perspective, what’s most important from a BDM is the ability to answer the phone or respond to emails quickly so that the broker can get back to the client promptly.

Strutt added: “Some of the big lenders are so busy that it is almost impossible to keep up all the calls and case queries unless they have support from office based teams. Increasingly the smaller building societies also have good BDMs driving business to them and agreeing cases we can’t get through with the big lenders.”

He picked out Platform and Kent Reliance for having good BDMs who have recently helped solve some problem cases.

Working as a bridge

A good relationship with BDMs is vital, suggested Dominik Lipnicki, director of Your Mortgage Decisions, who argued that good BDMs are “proactive, knowledgeable and keen to help”.

“Unfortunately, their quality really does vary, with some being happy to answer calls and help, whilst others are here just to tick a box, with sporadic contact and a lack of desire to really make a difference,” he continued.

Lipnicki said that the key to a good relationship between BDMs and brokers was not necessarily whether they meet face to face, but more “a real willingness to be that bridge between the lender and the advisor can be of real help”.

Working in tandem

The pandemic, and the fact that so many brokers now spend more time working from home, has posed an issue for lenders in how they utilise BDMs suggested David Hollingworth, associate director of communications at L&C.

He noted that there’s “no single right or wrong way” to approach building relationships with brokers, with many lenders now having field-based and telephone-based BDMs working in tandem.

Hollingworth added: “Face to face will play an important part but with fewer advisers in the office there’s also likely to be an ongoing adaptation to the needs of each business. Online access may continue to play a bigger role for some to augment time in the office as well as telephone.”

However, one thing that won’t change according to Hollingworth is “the value of a good BDM”.

There are 0 Comment(s)

You may also be interested in