As an industry, the mortgage world is no different to any other. It loves to know who is moving where and why they are leaving.
Among others, recent high profile resignations include Jackie Uhi, departing as MD of mortgage distribution at Barclays; Martese Carton, corporate account manager for NatWest who is heading off to Leeds BS and David Finlay, distribution director and Adrian Whittaker, sales and distribution director, both leaving New Street Mortgages. Meanwhile Richard Tugwell, director of intermediary sales, and John Truswell, head of national accounts both left Virgin Money with Tugwell to join CHL.
But beyond the gossip factor, what impact does the departure of a senior mortgage figure from a lending institute have on the day-to-day activity of mortgage networks and brokers?
This week our panel of experts examine the ripple effect the departure of senior mortgage professionals has on lending and risk appetite, policy, criteria and service and discuss which whether personality, over job description, ever matters.
Terry McCutcheon, CEO, Finance Planning Group, explains why his network has concerns over the latest ‘management merry-go-rounds’.
Islay Robinson, chief executive officer, Enness Private Clients, discusses the power some personalities can have over raising brand awareness in the mortgage market.
Alanzo Seville, mortgage and insurance adviser, Capricorn Financial Consultancy, looks at the influence one person can have on service and relationships, while considering the most important role to the intermediary.
The mortgage industry has always been about relationships. When I was a broker it was always about how well you got on with your BDM and how confident you were of getting that slightly unusual case through. Even today a good lender BDM can make all the difference to a mortgage broker, guiding them through a tricky case and helping it along, while at the same time promoting its own brand of lending.
It is all about the relationship you have built up with your lender contact over a long period of time. And when your favourite BDM has done so well he or she gets promoted, or takes a job with another lender, you have to start building those relationships all over again.
It is the same at a higher level – the relationships mortgage firms and networks have with senior lender management work in exactly the same way. You get to understand what type of lending and quality measures different lenders are looking for and where to place your business, albeit on a grander scale. The relationships directors of mortgage lending firms have with heads of mortgage intermediaries is all about trust and a good working understanding.
We recently attended a session with four major lenders on risk and fraud prevention, taking the time to understand what risks lenders and our mortgage brokers are facing. The point here is that with those close working relationships, we are able to work together for the common good and this sharing relationship only works because of the common trust from both sides.
So are we concerned about the current spate of senior lender management merry-go-rounds? Yes, in that both parties have spent years nurturing long-term relationships with experienced people and yes that we understand the personalities and how they work.
However, as in any industry, we are realistic enough to understand that the world does move on and good people are ambitious and sometimes all good things have to change and, just like the mortgage brokers, we have to forge new relationships.
Changes within the mortgage industry of course do have an impact, not only on the business they are moving on from, but also the businesses, like Enness, which they work with.
Some senior figures are effectively the face of their business and will play a big part in getting products to market and completing complex cases, for example, so brokers and their firms will experience a change in the way they work with lenders on a day-to-day basis.
When it comes to personality, this of course plays a part. Richard Tugwell and John Truswell, for example, are big characters and have been instrumental in the positioning of Virgin Money as a reputable brand within the mortgage market and will absolutely be missed.
Over the years, we have had some exceptional lender relationships at every level. We are grateful when lenders show a real interest in us and our business on both a professional and personal level, and will certainly feel the impact when these names move. We are sure, however, that these relationships will continue with those who replace them.
We have nothing but gratitude for anyone at any lender who assists our business in its purpose, and, while we are sure they won’t be moving far, we wish each of the recent movers great success in their next roles.
Senior figures come and go in our industry. It is not unusual to hear someone extolling the virtues of their current employer, and the very next time you meet them, they are working for a new employer and singing from a familiar hymn sheet with the name of the old employer replaced by that of someone new.
That said there are a few occasions when a change of person at the very top, say head of intermediary mortgages, does have a noticeable impact on the day-to-day operation of the lender.
When David Finlay was previously head of intermediaries at Woolwich (as it was then known), we noticed a significant change in their approach to intermediaries. Their overall service proposition was overhauled, the level of contact with brokers was increased and from our side of the desk it was a much better experience dealing with Woolwich.
It is difficult to know how much of this can be directly attributed to one person but the changes were for the better. The other role which can have a direct impact on business levels is the role of your dedicated business development manager (BDM). We are visited on a weekly basis by a number of different BDMs.
Those who take the time to speak with as many of our brokers as possible, delivering useful criteria updates and sitting down for five minutes to discuss a particularly difficult application, clearly add value to their lending proposition.