Know Your BDM: Spencer Ford, Atom Bank

  • 15/02/2024
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Know Your BDM: Spencer Ford, Atom Bank
This week, Specialist Lending Solutions is talking to Spencer Ford, business development manager (BDM) at Atom Bank.

Which locations and how many advisers and broker firms do you cover in your role at Atom Bank? 

I am responsible for the Midlands and East Anglia areas, and I currently work with around 414 commercial mortgage brokers. 


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

The most important skill for any BDM is understanding the role of the broker. It’s only by having that understanding of what they do, and what they are looking to achieve for their clients, that we can really deliver the necessary support. 


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

Organisation is crucial in this role. There are always so many spinning plates, and rarely enough hours in the day, so time management is of the utmost importance. I’d love to be better at it, so it’s something I’m always trying to learn more about. 


What is the hardest part of your job?  

Those time pressures are a challenge. There are always brokers to speak to and cases to help with, so fitting all of that work into the working day is not easy. We understand that brokers also face the same time demands that’s why we have such a big focus on flexibility and constantly improving the service we offer at Atom Bank. 


What do you love most about your job?  

The best part about being a BDM is the fact that you get to spend so much time meeting people and building relationships. I love being able to work closely with our broker community, and ensure that we are able to support so many business owners and property investors in achieving their goals. Atom Bank’s focus on supporting SMEs in obtaining funds not only quickly, but at very competitive rates, is something I am very proud of. 


What is the best piece of career-related advice you’ve ever been given? Who gave it to you?  

My old line manager used to say it was important to remain tenacious, and it’s something that has stuck with me. There are always going to be hurdles and hiccups along the way, but tenacity will help you stick at it and not get disheartened when those challenges emerge. Tenacity is something we talk about within the team at Atom Bank – we’re always looking at ways to improve and ensure our brokers have a positive experience. 


How do you keep up to date with developments in the market?  

Brokers are fantastic allies on this front. They are right at the coal face, and having a good relationship with intermediaries means you are better-placed to understand what’s going on in the market. 

Equally important is keeping on top of the various industry publications and podcasts, as well as taking the time to know the competition and what they are doing.  


What is the most quirky/unique property deal you’ve been involved in? 

I think it would have to be a purpose-built, Pinders Design Award-winning, specialist early onset dementia unit. The development provided accommodation for 30 residents, with large ensuite rooms that had views over open countryside, and that incorporated all training and ‘Hotel Service areas’ within the roof void.  

As well as winning a Pinders Design Award, it more importantly helped provide much-needed care facilities and jobs in the community. 


Tell us about your trickiest case – what happened and how did you resolve the problem(s)?  

It was that very same case. Unfortunately, the build time ran significantly over schedule, so I worked with the builder, client and bank’s credit team to amend the finance facilities and keep funding lines going accordingly until completion. Such a case underlines our ability to not only agree and fund complex deals for SMEs, but also to be flexible and work at pace when amending our funding to keep the case on track to completion. 


What was your motivation for choosing this career? 

I knew I wanted to work within banking, but I have always found the commercial banking side the most interesting. No two days are ever the same, since you work with such a wide and varied range of business clients. You can always strive to improve the service you offer, and we’ve seen some fantastic results over the last few months at Atom, which makes it all the more rewarding. 


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

I think it would have to be a commercial finance broker. I find this sector so interesting, and would enjoy getting my teeth into picking out which of the many borrowing options available would be the right one to help the client succeed. 

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