Broker support profile: Tom Bolton, BDM

Tom provides insight into the role of a BDM at Nationwide and tells us how he helps support you and your client's applications.

How long have you been a BDM and what attracted you to this job?

I've been working in the intermediary sector for 18 years in various guises. Initially as a Graduate Trainee and then as an 'old school' Branch Manager, overseeing both direct and intermediated mortgage business, progressing to key account relationships and finally on to my current role.

It was the intermediary relationship side of the industry I enjoyed most; meeting professional people and helping them with their clients, the wide variety of queries that would come my way, assisting them to negotiate the ever-changing regulatory environment and the challenge to maintain relationships.

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

I cover Edinburgh, Fife and the Borders (EH, KY and TD postcodes). Within this geographical patch, my database is made up of 319 individuals within 184 firms. The firms vary from single personnel to firms of 35+ advisers which keeps me busy!

What’s the secret to being a good BDM?

Do what you say you're going to do, reply to emails and voice messages quickly and accurately and always be aware that the broker does not represent one case but has the potential for multiple cases throughout the year.

Also, brokers have many lenders at their disposal and their businesses are built on client and professional referrals, so they will look to use trusted providers. Gaining trust is vital for long term-business relationships. So, I would say it’s important to listen, remain calm, have industry knowledge and know what to do and who to contact on the intermediaries’ behalf, helping them with their mortgage business.

I also appreciate that there’s an end customer looking for help. As that client is starting a relationship with Nationwide, I want the start to be a pleasant one. And I want the intermediary to benefit from this via referral business and ancillary sales, the experience of which will hopefully encourage them to use me again.

What’s a common misconception about your job?

I’ve noticed two misconceptions at opposite ends of the spectrum. There are intermediaries who don't see the benefit of a BDM and those who feel we carry a magic wand rather than a pen (or now just an iPhone!).

The benefit of having a BDM is always having someone on your side at hand to assist your business, so you can utilise their expertise as a business consultant to help your clients.

Secondly, I can help them in the presentation of an application, ensuring that they provide documentation to evidence all relevant and appropriate information within criteria. This helps our Processing and Underwriting functions in moving the application through to offer and completion. And should any issues arise, we need some notice to be able to assist, which we will always endeavor to do.

What do you think we offer currently that is most useful to brokers and why?

NFI Online is generally regarded as one of the most user-friendly systems in the market.

Also, by utilising the accurate affordability calculator, intermediaries can look to ensure their DIPs have as good a chance as possible.

What sort of challenges are you able to support brokers with?

Challenges can range from broad initial enquiries to last minute release of funds. Having a good personal relationship engenders trust, so brokers feel comfortable asking any query from maximum LTV, to whether we take foster care income, or to see if we allow a remortgage of inherited property with an existing mortgage.

I had a case where unexpectedly the husband passed away and the property was in his sole name. And there was a mortgage on it with a provider who could not assist his widow. We managed to do a remortgage in the wife’s name and pay off the existing mortgage.

What’s a common issue for you and your brokers at the moment?

A common issue that comes up is the varying requirements for evidence of deposit. It’s an area we are looking at; on the one hand this will improve the customer journey but on the other it’ll ensure we meet our Anti-Money Laundering obligations.

What’s your top tip that’ll help speed up an application?

Make sure the information at DIP stage is correct. Accurate information keyed will enable NFI Online to generate an accurate decision. All we require is precisely what the system requests, the content of which needs to mirror the DIP/FMA declared information.

My first top tip is to ensure that any idiosyncrasy in the documentation is fully explained via a file note. This enables case assessment to be passed at the first touch point.

Secondly, if a document isn't passed first time, the email we send will explain what’s required, so there’s no need to call in. You can upload the answer to the case via a file note.

Thirdly, for Scottish cases where the purchase price is different to the valuation, always key the lower of the two to obtain accurate LTV, credit score and product. And in the notes section, detail the purchase price, and the valuation so that we have details of both.

And finally, if you’re unavailable, what do you recommend your brokers to do?

I always look to respond to messages asap, but if I’m in a meeting then Broker Chat is a superb medium to ask about criteria or pre-application queries. Also, case tracking via NFI Online is always a good first port of call for cases.