However, the role of a BDM appears to have evolved somewhat over the years.
We asked this week’s Marketwatch panel how the responsibilities of a BDM have changed over the years and what the position means today.
Firstly, I’m sure most, if not all, brokers will agree that a good BDM is invaluable to your business.
Having someone who knows you, knows how you operate, and understands the type of business you submit is vital to aiding both the broker and lender to collectively help more clients.
Unfortunately, there are just not enough of these around.
I can count on one hand our stand out BDMs; those who strive in helping us when we need it and do whatever it takes to try and find solutions when we may have an issue or an unusual underwriting case.
The role of the BDM has changed since the pre-financial crisis days and sadly I think a lot are being let down by their employers.
They’ve been stripped of the power they once had, and the areas they cover are ever increasing, which stretches them to their limit.
One of my BDMs mentioned to me only last week that they sometimes struggle to resolve issues quickly because they’re constantly stuck behind the wheel of their car, unable to open a laptop or make a meaningful call.
In the past a BDM had a mandate and could help make judgement calls on cases, perhaps when you needed some common sense applied.
Some now don’t even have the power to escalate a case and are almost just walking/talking criteria bulletins.
I’m afraid that doesn’t particularly help us as brokers.
That’s not the fault of the BDM but short-sightedness by the lender and surely does more harm to them than good.
In the recent past, the role of the BDM has evolved from predominantly helping brokers place business to providing intermediaries with a greater understanding of the requirements to get the best outcomes for their customers, helping them trade appropriately and keeping their business safe.
Our BDM network provides the knowledge, commitment and support brokers often need to develop their business.
The long-term relationships that BDMs build on a daily basis with intermediaries feed directly into how we design our products and services.
This means we can base what we do around brokers’ needs, responding as they continue to change, and constantly identifying ways that we can do more to ensure our service retains its excellent standard.
As the industry landscape continues to change and as more complexities creep in, BDMs face the market head on with the answers, information and support.
We recognise the challenges faced by people taking that first step onto the property ladder, moving home or remortgaging.
And BDMs bring a greater understanding of lending criteria, how to place cases successfully and how to help demonstrate effective use of our affordability model and decision in principle (DIP) process.
Their expertise also helps us to pinpoint areas where we can proactively improve processes – including enhancing areas where technology can save brokers time and effort, and how we keep them up to date.
Our BDMs lead a programme of regular face-to-face workshops focused on industry changes including MMR, MCD and more recently on GDPR; reaching thousands of brokers up and down the country.
We have increased our number of telephone BDMs over the past 18 months, trebling in size, to back up our BDM team for times for when they are away from the business or in roadshows, workshops or on holiday.
I see the role of a BDM being more important than ever.
In these times of constantly changing legislation and lending policies, they are the ones on top of their specific criteria and are key in helping brokers navigate updates.
Reflecting back on more than 10 years as a broker, placing business was so much more straightforward when I came into the industry.
It used to the be the case that you would know the lender you would place the case with almost before you’d finished your fact find, and also had the main rates committed to memory, so with a swift recheck and affordability calculation the deal was done.
Not so any more.
Clients’ needs are often more complex, there are more lenders than ever and with criteria varying so much between them.
The ability to talk a case over with your BDM at the outset is crucial to ensure the case is placed right first time and then progresses smoothly to meet client expectations.
With over 90 lenders and some 12,000 products at our disposal we are never going to be on top of it all.
Regular visits from BDMs to chat over USPs and criteria are still so important.
I couldn’t count how many times I’ve seen cases placed during BDM meetings that may have otherwise ended up elsewhere, potentially with higher rates, because of a missed email informing of policy changes.
In other cases, it’s because brokers have simply been unable to drill down on sourcing as specifically as would be needed without that expert to turn to.
Once cases are in the system, BDMs then become the conduit that links us to the underwriters to help deal with anything that crops up and ensures that the case progresses as smoothly as possible.
In conclusion our BDM’s are worth their weight in gold and I couldn’t imagine being able to provide the service that I do without them.