Brokers already have long-term kinships, often referring business and sharing advice, but now they are beginning to pull together in this new environment to help each other and their local communities through the pandemic.
This week, Mortgage Solutions is asking: Do you have any examples of broker community spirit you have seen or experienced during the lockdown?
We’re quite lucky that out of the demise of Which? Mortgage Advisers, who we both [Lloyds Wells’ founders] previously worked for, there is a list of Bristol-based brokerages that have sprung up. We regularly speak to the other firms, of which there are probably about four or five, that are all under a year old.
Over the weekend I was speaking to a good friend who went to work for an IFA firm who complimented us on our use of social media. We ended up going through the different software we were both using and which clients we most wanted to help.
We also know of another Bristol-based firm which has taken on two self-employed brokers from South Wales who were struggling to produce the leads that they required to be able to keep busy.
It’s great to know that during such a difficult time for our network of young brokers, that we can lean on each other for help and guidance. Especially, as most of us don’t qualify for any of the government grants that are available.
We’ve also got in touch with a broker down in Plymouth who has incredible social media. She’s streets ahead of us. She posted a really good blog on what an initial consultation should be like.
We asked if she would mind writing similar but aiming it at our Bristol market. And she said: “Of course. The more accurate information for clients the better. There are plenty of clients to go around for all of us.”
Whether it is a snapshot of industry through social media or contact with colleagues, everybody seems to be pulling together in all kinds of ways to provide support during lockdown.
Daily contact with colleagues to share industry information, coronavirus survival tips or even to share a joke, all helps ease tensions.
Online charity fundraisers in various guises organised by industry heavyweights will make a big difference to the NHS. This comes at a time when support is needed the most. One example, was the ethically organised poker tournament hosted by Brilliant Solutions last night.
Obviously, this is a difficult time, especially for those whose job was office-based, such as estate agency-based mortgage advisers or those that worked for the banks or larger mortgage brokerages.
Many firms face uncertainty especially as mortgage advisers will look for opportunities to work remotely.
In light of this, we have placed our focus on increasing capacity allowing us to take on more home-office based mortgage advisers and have created ‘low-risk’ packages to allow a smooth transition period.
The advisers that contact us are typically the ones that can see ahead – when the industry returns to some sort of normality. Being part of a firm’s remote community is beneficial as we have spent years developing this side of the business.
Lockdown has created a demand for new ways of working. The remortgage and product transfer market has more focus upon it than ever before and the rise of remote working will see different types of working communities rise.
I think there has been a tremendously positive broker spirit post-lockdown. We are very lucky to be part of the Primis network and their response has been amazing.
We have openly shared best practice and ideas among the top firms. More widely, Primis have put on a schedule of daily Zoom meetings covering everything from getting new introducers to selling protection – a few of which I have attended – and they have been great.
Being part of a network that actually engages with its firms has been hugely valuable and a really useful way of keeping everyone positive. I talk quite frequently to other principals and other broker friends of mine and they seem generally positive about their business and the market in the long term.
Moreover, brokers are geared up for this. This is what we are here for. If you can’t step up when your clients need you, I think you should consider an alternative career.
We have always offered video calls as a firm, so increasing that was easy. As clients are at home and easy to contact, we have been a valuable resource to them as they simply can’t contact their bank or insurers. All the brokers I talk to are busy and carrying on pretty much as normal.
Many of which see this as an opportunity to grow, as banks will be hampered for some time to come, which is great for us. If you can’t be positive now, you never will be.
I think there’s been a fair bit of cooperation between brokers and firms.
If they haven’t already set up WhatsApp groups they have done now and a few have set up Zoom meetings; I find that the management teams of many companies are trying to engage with staff more because they’re not able to see them.
Most are doing it with a view of the lockdown ending but there is a realisation that things are likely to change for the next year or so. Some of the topics which have been raised is how are brokers going to engage with business development managers (BDMs), especially those cities that use public transport and go from office to office engaging with lots of people in a day.
Is that actually what the BDM wants for themselves and their health, and is that what the companies want? So, we’re mindful of that but also of the fact that BDMs have a job to do and need to engage. Conversations are starting around how we are going to manage that in the coming weeks.
Overall, communication has got stronger across the industry. My wife is a BDM and she says she’s managed to form better relationships with some brokers that she wouldn’t have before.
There’s been more checking in with each other, but at the same time, we don’t know what to do to help each other because we’re all going through this. Whenever I talk to a colleague though, I make sure to ask how they are.
However, we have to remember to look after ourselves first before we can help others.