Know Your BDM: Spencer Ford, Atom Bank

Know Your BDM: Spencer Ford, 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. 

Know Your BDM: Avril Dugdale, Nottingham Building Society

Know Your BDM: Avril Dugdale, Nottingham Building Society

What locations and how many advisers and broker firms do you cover in your role at the Nottingham Building Society?

I’m responsible for supporting brokers in the North East of England.

 

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

The importance of building strong face-to-face relationships is one of the aspects of the role that I found both valuable and enjoyable. In the post-Covid era, it has become increasingly clear that building strong face-to-face bonds with brokers is important.

 

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

A significant aspect of my job involves travelling between various brokers’ offices, and I must admit that I’m not particularly skilled when it comes to navigating roads. If it weren’t for the assistance of Google Maps or a Sat Nav, I’d struggle to find each office. As I’m still relatively new to this role, I’m optimistic that with time and experience, my navigation skills will improve.

 

What’s the hardest part of your job?

The constant fluctuation and complexity within the industry. With interest rates, lending regulations, and economic factors evolving constantly, staying ahead of the curve and providing brokers with up-to-date and relevant information is demanding. It requires vigilant monitoring, continuous learning, and adaptability. The dynamic nature of the mortgage market means that what worked yesterday might not work today, making it essential to be agile, well-informed, and flexible in our strategies. While these challenges can be daunting, they also provide opportunities for growth and innovation, pushing me to excel and deliver superior service in an ever-changing landscape.

 

What do you love most about your job?

Having been at The Nottingham for just under six months now, I am thoroughly enjoying supporting a range of clients in their homebuying journey, particularly those who don’t fit the traditional mould. As you may have seen recently, we introduced a range of new mortgage criteria changes as we continue to help more people achieve their dreams of homeownership, and it is this aspect of the role that I find most satisfying.

 

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

The most invaluable guidance I received at the start of my career came from a former colleague, now a dear friend of nearly 30 years. Their advice was simple yet profound: consistently put in the effort, aim for excellence, maintain a high level of professionalism in your chosen field, and always prioritise your clients or customers. I’ve made it a personal mission to follow this advice throughout my professional journey so far.

 

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

I actively engage with blogs, articles, news updates, and podcasts. I also recognise the immense value of personal interactions, and when I interact with brokers, I tap into their wealth of experience by asking questions and seeking their perspectives. I firmly believe in the importance of fostering a supportive community among mortgage professionals, as this camaraderie is crucial to my ongoing quest for knowledge and skill development.

 

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

Over the years I’ve had weird and wonderful properties from old churches, converted windmills and even canal boats. But, by far the quirkiest property was a converted lighthouse – kitted out with all the mod cons. The property was stunning and so unique with breath-taking views of the sea and coastline… I absolutely had home envy.

 

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

I can’t even remember the last query that I had that was straightforward, every case that I seem to come across has more hurdles than the Olympics! One recent application was a client who had recently been divorced so she ended up with some slight adverse finances. She was looking to purchase a property from an ex-husband and didn’t have any deposit. She was self-employed with a very complex income, and the expenditure was tight. We know that every scenario is different, and that one size doesn’t always fit all, but by working closely with our underwriters, and adopting a common-sense approach, I’m pleased to say we managed to get this case offer. We had a happy broker and even happier client!

 

What was your motivation for choosing this career?

I’ve worked in financial services for a long time now as it enables me to do the things that I love. I have always been a people person and love to develop relationships, get to know people and find out what is important to them. I strive to give brokers the best possible service I can and I think you can build that trust more through a face-to-face relationship. As I work in the field, I get to visit lots of different places and meet interesting people. I can honestly say that I get job satisfaction, and the positive feedback I get from brokers makes me feel it’s a job well done.

 

What did you want to be growing up?

In my early teens I wanted to join the Army, and I started Army cadets at 11 years old. I do believe it shaped me into the person I am today, I have some amazing memories and met so many people from different walks of life. The cadets taught me many life skills that you don’t learn at school.

 

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

The power of invisibility would be so cool. I would love a mooch around Buckingham Palace and the Houses of Parliament in London, to see what goes on at those meetings. But to be able to get on any plane and visit any country in the world without being seen would be incredible.

 

What is your strategy for tackling challenges?

You come across many challenges in our line of work but that is an integral part of our role – to help shape a case or to try and find solutions. It’s important to remember that we can’t work miracles. I wish I could at times, but I do feel it’s imperative to ask the right questions, look at all different avenues, be open and work with the client. At times I’m like a ‘dog with a bone’, and I will always try my best to find a solution.

 

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

Well, it had nothing to do with mortgages and was more of a personal question… but it did make me chuckle. As much as I’d love to spill the beans, some things are best left unsaid.

Know Your BDM: Simon O’Donnell, Saffron Building Society

Know Your BDM: Simon O’Donnell, Saffron Building Society

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

I cover quite a wide patch including Essex, Norfolk, Suffolk, Kent, London, part of Middlesex, Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire. Within this area, we have over 4,200 registered brokers. This means I get to work with a really broad and diverse range of people, ensuring that no two days are the same and I am constantly challenged with different cases.  

 

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

At Saffron, we value a close relationship with brokers, so strong communication skills are required. This is something I naturally love about the role, and it is always great to catch up with our brokers on both a professional and personal level. Beyond this, I think it is also important to be able to take ownership and responsibility over what we do. Buying a home is usually one of the largest and most important financial decisions that individuals make, so it is especially important that everyone in the industry is producing work of the highest quality. Taking ownership and responsibility ties in to this, as it ensures that services are always meeting high standards. 

 

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

I have definitely improved over the past few years, but as Saffron for Intermediaries gets busier and we work with more brokers, I would love to improve my time management and organisation skills further. Naturally, as a BDM, I spend a lot of my time on the road and in between different meetings. After 11 years in the industry, I have almost got my organisation down to a fine art, but there is always room for improvement.  

 

What’s the hardest part of your job? 

A big part of my role is travelling to visit our broker partners. I feel incredibly lucky to be in an industry that still values face-to-face meetings, and I love going to meet brokers across the country. However, the hardest part of my role is probably catching up on emails after a day on the road – my inbox can be a bit of an avalanche at times. 

 

What do you love most about your job? 

I love a challenge and pushing myself to develop new skills, so it’s always really rewarding to get a challenging or complex case over the line. Ultimately, we are helping people to achieve huge life goals in buying a home, so it’s great to know that I play a part in that. 

 

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

A previous manager told me that you cannot please everyone all the time, and this has definitely proved true. Good business is all about compromise and flexibility, particularly when it comes to the kind of complex cases we support, so I am glad I learnt that early on in my career. 

 

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

I like to read news in the trade press as well as the general mainstream media. It is also really useful to speak to brokers in the field, who are often able to tell us trends and developments before news publications catch on. 

 

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

We recently refurbished a former church into a residential dwelling, which was definitely a different one. An intricate but incredibly rewarding case, as the end result was stunning. 

 

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

We had a scenario where an applicant had a large plot of land and wanted to split the title into two, build one out and leave one for a later date. The applicant’s pension fund owned half of the land, so we had to facilitate both the purchase of the full plot, as well as the eventual build. We worked closely with the broker to understand the client’s individual financial situation, and were able to provide support throughout the entire process.  

 

What was your motivation for choosing this career? 

I started at Saffron back in 2012 and have spent the majority of my career working on the savings side of the business. I remember looking at the different teams who were more closely involved with our mortgage offerings, and after some chats with the team, I realised I may be more suited to a mortgage-focused position. When an opportunity came up, I jumped at the chance and have never looked back.  

 

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

I really do love my job but if I had to move, I would probably opt for property surveying – a job which has always interested me. As a surveyor I would still be helping individuals buy homes, and would be able to add real value by making buyers aware of any hidden issues to potentially save them money in the long run. 

 

What did you want to be growing up? 

Something you probably hear from quite a lot of people, but I would have loved to have been a footballer. I actually studied sport and exercise performance at university, but ultimately realised I could add more value in the financial services sector. I will always have a love for sports and use my spare time to play and watch whenever I can.  

 

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

I would want to be able to travel anywhere instantly. As a BDM, I have to attend a lot of in-person broker meetings and travelling takes up a lot of my time. It would also be very handy to get me to exotic destinations every weekend. 

  

What is your strategy for tackling challenges? 

Tackling challenges is something that you have to do a lot as a BDM. You need to manage the relationships and expectations of brokers whilst also maintaining good relationships with various internal teams. When trying to find a solution to a challenge, I think it’s important to get as much information as possible about the borrower’s situation before making a decision or committing to anything. It is also important to conduct your own research into what has happened, getting both sides of the story before problem solving and providing a response. 

  

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

How much will the house value decrease if a member of the family is buried in the garden? 

 

Know Your BDM: Rachel Bridle, The Nottingham

Know Your BDM: Rachel Bridle, The Nottingham

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

My remit is focused on clients across the South of England. 

  

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

The most valuable personal skill is the ability to build and nurture strong relationships. Establishing and maintaining meaningful connections with brokers is paramount to success. Effective communication, empathy, and a keen understanding of their needs allow me to not only provide tailored solutions but also foster a sense of trust and collaboration. These interpersonal skills are the cornerstone of creating enduring partnerships, ensuring that brokers view me not just as a representative but as a reliable ally in their endeavours. The ability to cultivate these relationships not only enhances our mutual success but also contributes to a thriving and dynamic business ecosystem. 

  

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

I would really like to improve my gardening skills as it has taken a bit of a back seat, particularly in the past year. I enjoy spending time outside and did have a beautiful-looking garden during the pandemic. However, this year I haven’t been so focused on it and the poor roses show it. In 2024, I am determined to get it looking nice again and improve my knowledge of what plants work well in different areas as we get a lot of sunshine in my garden. 

  

What’s the hardest part of your job? 

The ever-changing market and I can see it from the broker’s point of view too. What would have been straightforward a few years ago isn’t the case anymore. Cases appear to be more complex, and this requires brokers to spend more time sourcing an option for clients. The way I try to overcome these challenges is to remain up to date on industry changes and talk with brokers. 

  

What do you love most about your job? 

Going out there and building strong, personal relationships with clients and brokers alike, which helps me to be as supportive as possible in what can often be a stressful time. I’ve also found that the culture within The Nottingham is amazing.  

  

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

To persevere in what I’m passionate about. After finishing school, I really wasn’t sure what I wanted to do but thought finance would be a good option, as I enjoyed math. I studied accountancy and taxation at university but decided it wasn’t the job for me as I enjoy talking to people too much. Instead, I decided to apply to work in a branch of Cheltenham and Gloucester (C&G) where I was able to talk to different people and help with their financial decisions.  

I am really keen that everyone should have a good understanding of their finances and how decisions can have a long-term impact, particularly younger generations. That is something I am currently trying to teach my son about. 

It was during my first role at C&G I was told to go for what I am passionate about and it has really paid off as I am now in a role which I love. Knowing I am helping to make a difference is really rewarding. 

  

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

By checking industry updates on LinkedIn or catching up with other local BDMs. Coming from a broker background, I have built up good relationships with other BDMs. It’s really important to have a relationship with other lenders as well to update my knowledge and support each other. 

  

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

There was a couple with an unconventional vision for extending their home. I was able to support them by collaborating with valuation experts to showcase the extension’s value, while complying with regulations. Through this tailored approach, we secured a mortgage, turning their dream into a reality.  

  

What was your motivation for choosing this career? 

Having worked in the industry for over 10 years now, financial services is what I love. Having been a broker myself for over six years it really suited me whilst my son was younger as I could remain local. When he got older, I was able to make a career change. There are many similarities between the role of a broker and a BDM – I get to ask lots of questions and find out more about the people I am talking to and find a solution. As a broker, I built up great relationships with my clients, some of whom I would now consider as friends. It has been the same since starting the BDM role where I have built up lovely relationships with brokers. Helping find an answer to a problem really is rewarding and what spurs me on in this job. 

 

What did you want to be growing up? 

As a child, I had a love for animals and always wanted to be a vet. However, I grew older and realised I wouldn’t always be dealing with cute and fluffy animals. There would be a less glamourous side, so I decided perhaps it wasn’t for me. 

  

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

Being able to teleport everywhere. Often when I’m out on the road I can be driving long distances and I often think how easy it would be just to teleport between meetings. However, sadly that isn’t possible so I have to plan my days efficiently. 

  

What is your strategy for tackling challenges? 

To remain confident in myself that I will find a solution to any challenges I am faced with. Sometimes it can be difficult when you are faced with a problem, however if I maintain a positive outlook, it really helps in tackling any issues. I will always set realistic expectations and be clear about the steps I need to take, as a result, brokers have a clear understanding of what is going on and are happy in the knowledge something is being done. 

  

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

This had very little to do with mortgages, but it certainly got me thinking when a client asked me what animal would best represent me as a person. 

Know Your BDM: Sarah Rose, Dudley Building Society

Know Your BDM: Sarah Rose, Dudley Building Society

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

I cover the North of England as well as the top 50 key accounts, from Scotland down to Birmingham.

 

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

For me, it’s communication – it’s all about listening as well as speaking! I need to communicate effectively, not only with mortgage brokers but with internal teams such as underwriting, products, etc.

I see my job as being the face of the Dudley BS, responsible for communicating what the company is and what we stand for to external clients. I can then feedback into the team to help us improve as a lender.

 

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

I need to try and not do everything myself. We could all be better at this. Delegate tasks, people like it and it helps everyone, go on try it.

 

What is the hardest part of your job? 

Frustration when brokers cancel appointments that they have organised.

 

What do you love most about your job? 

Meeting people and building a relationship. Helping brokers place cases is key for me, whilst managing existing relationships. Also getting to know a broker on a personal level, I am a people person.

 

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

I have two, both from my mam (northern speak for Mum): Venture outside your comfort zone – push past your limits, you will learn new things and try new experiences.

Improve, don’t perfect – Strive for constant improvement, not perfection as perfection doesn’t exist.

 

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

LinkedIn, Mortgage Strategy, Mortgage Solutions and The Intermediary newsletters, but also regular contact with other BDMs and KAMs in the field. Also, we all know brokers like to talk. They tell me what is going on too.

 

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

A detached property with 20 acres, outbuildings and an annexe. The income wasn’t an issue, but the customers wanted to convert the outbuildings to personal storage and an area for their children. The annexe was going to be used for the family to stay in. The clients also had horses so wanted a property with large acreage for their horses. Yes, I did get it agreed and it completed.

 

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

My trickiest case was a foreign income joint application with a joint borrower sole proprietor. The father, who lived abroad, was going onto the mortgage to help the son get on the property ladder and it was paid in a foreign currency. The father was also providing the deposit.

As well as being paid in Swiss Francs, the father was paid on a day rate and had changed employer within last year. The son was on bursary income and studying at university.

The underwriters weren’t comfortable proceeding due to the change of employer in the last 12 months, so they declined the case. However, I spoke with the broker to gain an understanding of the employment history for the father. He had been in the same industry for a number of years and just received an external promotion and a pay rise. I asked the broker to provide the current contract and previous contracts to demonstrate income and then put a case forward to the underwriters with reasons why. Consequently, the decision was overturned.

 

What was your motivation for choosing this career? 

I get to play a crucial role in the growth of Dudley BS. Being able to implement change and helping brokers and customers achieve their goals. It’s a people business and that’s the big motivation for me.

 

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

Mortgage adviser – dealing with people and giving advice. Helping clients achieve their home ownership goals. There are some great firms out there and I would like to work in a busy office dealing with all types of customers.

Know Your BDM: Jacquie Weddell, Leeds Building Society

Know Your BDM: Jacquie Weddell, Leeds Building Society

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

I cover the beautiful North East, which stretches from Northumberland to Northallerton, encompassing five post codes, and over 650 broker firms.  

  

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

There are so many skills needed to be able to help brokers across the region, but I think it is essential to know the right questions to ask and to be a good listener.  

  

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

We are a fast-paced and ever-changing industry. Technology is improving all the time, so it is important to me that I keep on top of new systems that allow me to help find solutions for brokers and members. 

  

What’s the hardest part of your job as a BDM?  

I’m often in broker meetings or driving so the hardest part is finding the time to check emails and return the numerous calls I receive. 

  

What do you love most about your job?   

Helping a broker find a solution to secure a mortgage for their client. A happy broker is a happy BDM and I love to be able to make a difference to people getting onto or moving up the property ladder.    

   

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

My dear dad once said, “you only get out of life what you put into it”. He had such a strong work ethic, and that piece of advice has stayed with me throughout my career, and in every aspect of life.  

  

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

I love to read articles on what is happening in our industry and I try to carve out time to attend webinars and live events that are relevant to my role. I use LinkedIn to connect with people in the industry and enjoy reading what my peers are sharing online. I would urge any broker to follow Leeds Building Society for Intermediaries on LinkedIn to access the useful insights shared. 

  

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

I supported getting a mortgage over the line for a green self-build property, many years ahead of its time.     

  

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

A client was sat outside their new-build property, ready to move in at Christmas time. However, the funds hadn’t been requested in time for completion that day. The client had completed on their old property so were homeless at this stage. By working collaboratively with all teams, internal and external, completion took place that same day and the customer was in their home instead of a hotel for the festivities.   

  

What was your motivation for choosing this career?  

I like to make a difference to buyers who are looking to move onto or up the property ladder, and helping brokers to do this is my motivation. I worked in protection for many years so ensuring people remain in their home throughout any life event is very important to me. 

  

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

I have no desire to leave the mortgage or protection sector. It is my passion.  

  

What did you want to be growing up?   

I wanted to be an air stewardess. I always thought it looked so glamorous and would help you to see the world. But I’m a bit clumsy so I’m better working on the ground.  

  

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

To read someone’s mind.   

  

What is your strategy for tackling challenges?    

I like to look at the bigger picture and through the eyes of all involved. I work to identify the cause of any issue and work collaboratively to resolve it quickly and effectively. It’s also important to ensure measures are taken to ensure the situation doesn’t happen again.   

  

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

I wouldn’t say I have been asked a strange question. As the old saying goes, there is no such thing as a stupid question. I’d encourage anyone I was working with to ask me anything they need help with. 

Know Your BDM: Kate Whelan, Leeds Building Society

Know Your BDM: Kate Whelan, Leeds Building Society

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

I cover the North West including Greater Manchester, Liverpool and West Lancashire. My patch stretches up to the Fylde Coast, covering seven postcodes and over 1,100 brokers. 

  

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

I think it’s really important to be both relatable and knowledgeable. Having good relationships with intermediaries relies on those two things.  

  

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

Using Linkedin. It is such an amazing tool in an industry like ours and there’s some really informative and interesting content on there. I wish I could be more creative with my own social media platforms, but I continue to try. 

  

What’s the hardest part of your job? 

Traffic and driving in bad weather. 

  

What do you love most about your job? 

I love meeting and speaking with new brokers. I also love exploring new areas. One day I could go from a city centre, to a rural village and then onto a beautiful coastal town.  

  

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

My mum has always been an inspiration to me and I admire her work ethic. She also worked in financial services. She brought my sister and me up alone and worked hard to provide for us. I think it really made me realise how important it is to have a good career that you enjoy. 

  

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

I love to read industry publications to keep up to date on what is happening. I keep in close contact with the other BDMs at Leeds Building Society, and we make time to catch up on market developments and industry news. 

   

What was your motivation for choosing this career? 

I fell into a career in financial services. I started out working in insurance and then moved onto mortgages. When I first started working with brokers years ago in one of my previous jobs as a telephone account manager, I knew a field-based BDM was what I wanted to do.  

  

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

I could imagine myself as an estate agent. I love looking at properties and I am interested in interior design. I once bumped into TV presenter George Clarke in Leeds, and to say I was excited was an understatement. I really love his shows. 

  

What did you want to be growing up? 

A firefighter – so a bit of a different career path. 

  

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

To change people’s mindsets (including my own at times). My son has ADHD and really struggles with his confidence with learning. It would be nice to be able to help people see themselves how others do. 

  

What is your strategy for tackling challenges? 

Just do it – we can all procrastinate and put things off, but it is better to tackle things head on. Just pick up the phone and have that challenging conversation. Usually, the outcome isn’t as bad as you expected anyway. 

  

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

I was once asked if we’d consider lending to someone currently in prison to pay the loan off on his Spanish villa. 

Alternative Bridging Corporation promotes Smith to BDM

Alternative Bridging Corporation promotes Smith to BDM

Smith joined the lender last year as an internal BDM, and he has previously worked at Vita Properties, RBS and Natwest. 

At Alternative Bridging Corporation, he will have the responsibility of helping brokers find finance solutions for their clients. 

The lender offers bridging loans, term loans and development finance. 

Smith (pictured) said: “I’m thrilled to embark on my new role at Alternative Bridging, taking a hands-on approach to helping brokers deliver bespoke specialist property finance solutions for their clients.  

“We have an innovative proposition, backed by strong experience and expertise, and this new role demonstrates Alternative Bridging’s exceptional dedication to developing people, offering them new opportunities to advance their careers.” 

James Bloom, director at Alternative Bridging Corporation, added: “I’m pleased to announce Daniel’s promotion to BDM. His swift promotion is truly merited, and we have been consistently impressed by his commitment to assisting brokers in identifying the best solutions for their clients.  

“In his new role, he will have the opportunity to develop new relationships, and help structure tailored solutions, ensuring that we continue to deliver the highest level of service to our brokers.” 

Know Your BDM: Jackie Wise, Norton Broker Services

Know Your BDM: Jackie Wise, Norton Broker Services

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

I cover nationwide. I came back from maternity leave with a new task to grow our pool of brokers, I currently have 75 active brokers that are a mix of appointed representatives, directly authorised, multi advisers and individuals.  

  

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

Listening is the most valuable skill in my role. It is key to listen to the broker so I can understand how I can help or assist them in the best way possible. That may be educating brokers further on secured loans, bridging or general advice. All brokers work differently and have different types of customers, so it’s important to tailor our services based on their needs. This is also important when discussing individual cases, as each customer’s situation will suit certain lenders.  

  

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

Patience. This industry can be frustrating at times and turnaround times can vary extensively. I can be impatient when this is out of my hands, for example awaiting authority from a mortgage lender who refuses to send an email or waiting for a simple letter from a local council. I am that person that will click the same button 50 times because it hasn’t worked in the first two seconds. 

  

What is the hardest part of your job?  

Listening to voicemails. To reach out and grow broker accounts to their best ability, it takes a lot of conversations and meetings. Unfortunately, it can sometimes take 100 calls to speak to 10 brokers. This is a busy industry, I don’t take offence, but some days it can be deflating. 

  

What do you love most about your job?  

The people. Speaking to lots of different advisers, from all parts of the UK, you get to speak to some fantastic, crazy and interesting people.  

  

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

The best advice I was ever given was “The only guarantee for failure is to stop trying”. I have no idea who said this, but it has always stuck with me. When I was younger, I suffered from a lack of confidence. I always assumed I wasn’t good enough after any failure. This quote is a great way to remind anyone that you will fail every time if you don’t bother to try. 

  

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

Working with a whole of market panel of lenders daily is a great source of industry knowledge. You get to know which way rates are heading, how criteria changes, and the flexibility in affordability changes. Most lenders tend to adjust to the market at the time, so we see changes most days.  

  

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

Trying to exit a bridging loan secured against five buy-to-let properties when the first charge lender doesn’t grant consent to a second charge mortgage on four of the properties.  

  

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

The solution to the above case was to remortgage onto buy-to-let mortgages. The issue was the applicant wanted to transfer the properties into her limited company name and the surveyor insisted they were houses in multiple occupation (HMO) properties when in fact they were not. The case was very challenging. It took a lot of liaising with the lender and surveyor to rectify the comments, but we got there in the end. 

  

What was your motivation for choosing this career? 

I like working in a role where I have the flexibility of getting on the road and meeting different brokers, seeing their set up and getting to know them. That flexibility also allows me to work from home and in the office, where we have a never-ending supply of tea from Joanne, dad jokes from Jimmy, snacks from Lisa and life hacks from Eddie. 

  

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

Training. Training advisers is a small part of my role, but it’s also my favourite part. Whether that be one-to-one, group training or a larger group with a presentation, that is where I thrive. I love speaking to people on topics that will help them grow. I get a little adrenaline rush when I’ve successfully completed some training and kept it interesting and not stiff. I have worked in the finance industry since I was 18 and I have learnt a lot over the years. I think it’s a pleasure to be able to share some of that knowledge and skills with individuals who can also gain from that. 

Quantum strengthens sales team with promotion and new appointments

Quantum strengthens sales team with promotion and new appointments

Dahyea joined the specialist buy-to-let (BTL) lender for professional landlords as key account manager in January last year. She was part of the launch team when the lender diversified into the buy-to-let market, before she earned her first promotion to the role of national sales manager earlier this year. She now takes on overall responsibility for the lender’s sales operation.

Quantum’s sales team has also been boosted with the appointments of two new BDMs. Claire Flanagan, previously of Uinsure, joins as BDM for the South London area and the M4 corridor, and Katie Ware has been appointed BDM for the South of England, following her move from Complete FS.

 

‘Growth in the face of market conditions’

Jason Neale, managing director at Quantum Mortgages said: “Despite the difficult market conditions, we continue to grow because landlords are forced to be ever more creative to make their property investments work. Our common-sense approach and expert underwriting are perfectly placed to accommodate these more complex circumstances so it’s vital we continue to build our sales team to support the level of demand from intermediaries”.

“Harsha has been and will continue to be a major part of that and I’m delighted she has accepted the role of head of sales. Her leadership plus the addition of Claire and Katie, will ensure we continue to offer our intermediary partners the highest level of service but more importantly provide them with solutions when their clients circumstances are too complex for other BTL lenders to understand.”

Harsh Dahyea added :“Having joined Quantum Mortgages at the beginning of its journey in January 2022, we have experienced incredible growth and enjoyed huge support from the broker community which I am very grateful for. We are excited about our business growth and continued success which has proven to be an incredible journey in my career.

“I look forward to working with my sales team as we enter 2024 and continue to produce innovative solutions for the specialist market.”