Brightstar is also contacting its key lender partners to let them know the distributor will be accepting visits from lenders now it has put procedures and facilities in place.
Speaking on the Brightstar Vlog, Bluestone Mortgages managing director Steve Seal agreed there would be a change in the way lenders worked which could be a challenge for field-based BDMs to adapt to.
“We are seeing some appetite from intermediaries for BDMs to start knocking on their doors again,” Seal said.
“I think we’re a long way off from finding ourselves in the situation where we have BDMs out in their cars all day doing five or so appointments and knocking on brokers’ doors.
“But where certain key firms have established Covid secure environments where they can go in and be safe and continue to maintain that relationship, then we have started to see that and have facilitated that already.
“In a relatively small number but I’m sure that will grow over the coming months,” he added.
Very strict rules
Brightstar CEO Rob Jupp (pictured) who was hosting the Vlog noted that the firm was taking steps of its own to start bringing lenders back in to visit.
“I will be writing out to all our key partners with a scheme of work we put together in the last month,” Jupp said.
“People at Brightstar and Sirius have put together a really good document, track and trace app and full scheme of work for lenders’ key account people to come back into our businesses within very strict rules.
“It may be for some people, it may not be for others, but certainly where that key partnership has been really important and we want to make sure that those that want to come can do so – as much for the benefit of mental health as to get back into doing the job well.”
Discussing plans for potentially returning staff to offices, Seal noted that while Bluestones offices were open having had significant mediation work completed, he had told his teams they were free to work from home until the end of the year.
“We’ve gone out and researched with colleagues… and largely people want a balance between home and office working in the long term,” he said.
Seal added that productivity had increased with people working from home.
“We found during this period where we’re doing record volumes, I would argue we have seen increased level of productivity from people working from home where they don’t necessarily have distractions from working in an office environment.
“The challenge is preventing that level of isolation that might occur and keeping people feeling embedded in the business – but we’re very comfortable with the working from home principle,” he added.
Vida Homeloans managing director of mortgages Louisa Sedgwick and Pepper Money sales director Paul Adams were also taking part in the call.
They had both conducted research around their firms about when people should start returning to offices and how that should take place.
Sedgwick explained that Vida was in the process of whether to bring people back into offices for next three or four months or to keep them working from home if it works for them.
Its survey of staff had found around 90 per cent were very comfortable working from home but the remainder were potentially hampered by their individual situations.
The lender already had underwriters working from home but Sedgwick noted there could be compliance issues which needed to be taken care of.
Pepper’s Adams noted that with three sites it was likely to be a very complex scenario for the lender and many decisions may be taken on a team or individual basis.
“We’re engaging with a third party to help on a consultancy basis,” he said.
“It’s not going to be one size fits all.”
“One of the things that causes anxiety is uncertainty. We’re not going to suddenly say ‘everyone back’.”
And Adams emphasised that interaction with broker firms will look different because of changes in the way people work which can make them more productive.