Jeremy Duncombe is managing director of Accord Mortgages.
I read an article a few weeks ago, where a reader had declared that, as we emerge from the pandemic, the concept of a direct relationship with a BDM is now in the past.
The reader explained that some lenders had used the pandemic to reduce their service to brokers and were now little more than ‘order takers’.
Accord cuts rates by up to 0.31%
I strongly believe the role of the BDM should never have been driven by ‘taking orders’ or even just discussing products or the best rates with brokers.
Rather it should be, and is, about adding value to a brokers’ business – acting as a lending partner and really driving value, taking problems away from brokers’ desks.
And there’s no question that, over the last 18 months, BDM teams have done a great job supporting brokers – adapting quickly to working from home (no small feat when you’re used to being out on the road all week) and a new virtual way of interacting and building relationships with brokers.
As we continue to move forward, BDM teams are taking steps to really carve out their place and work out where they can best add value. At Accord, the team already had the ability to discuss cases and apply our common-sense lending approach, ensuring that each broker and their client received a bespoke service rather than a one size fits all approach. And we’ve applied common-sense lending to almost a quarter of our cases in 2021.
We’ll of course continue provide this bespoke service going forward, but our focus will also be on what more we can add, and exploring how we can really help brokers to grow their business with initiatives like our Growth Series library.
Brokers too though must be flexible – adapting to new technology and being open to new opportunities or markets for example. As lenders, we can – and will – help with this but the best results are far more likely if we work together.
BDM teams will likely be using a blend of working from home and going out into the field, so focussing not on spending as much time travelling, but rather using that additional time to reach out and build better, more meaningful relationships with even more brokers.
In order to achieve this, we need two-way dialogue. It’s never been more important for lenders to provide clear and consistent communications to brokers – we want to provide the best possible service – but we can only do this if we have a clear understanding of the challenges and issues brokers and clients face.
Continue to share your feedback with us, let lenders know what support you and your clients need so we can explore possible solutions to help the industry.
The pandemic made us all pull together as an industry in a way we can really be proud of, and we achieved some great things. Going back to the comments that provoked some of these thoughts, it would be a real shame for relationships to devolve. Instead, we should learn from and embrace what we learned during the pandemic.
Let’s make sure that the camaraderie continues – and that we carry on talking, sharing and supporting each other – we’re all on the same side and have the same goal. Ultimately, it will be the customer who benefits – and that can only be a good thing for us all.