Steven Bowes, Business Development Manager
How many brokers and broker firms do you cover in your role?
We have recently streamlined all our broker lists in line with GDPE, but I still have over 300 on my books that I actively talk to on a regular basis. I spend all my day on the phone.
How do you successfully organise and deal with business on a daily basis?
We have a highly organised IT system which allows me to track my calls for the day, what I need to chase up and what stage a loan is in. It’s a sophisticated piece of software that Mint Bridging purchased last year which has revolutionised our business. It streamlines all the business coming in, allows all the departments to speak to each other and to understand what stage a case it at. This is invaluable when speaking to brokers and knowing a complete history whilst on the phone to them.
What do you wish brokers understood about your job?
I think they completely understand what BDM’s do. We talk with loyal brokers who know how we work, what we need from them and what they need from us. Our business isn’t that complicated, and our product guides are very clear on what Mint offers. There are always parameters around this and we always tell brokers to just call us to check if it’s something we can help them with. We also have lots of products that sit within the Mint brand: development, bridging, re-bridging, auction, refurbishment and commercial finance. We have many strings to our bows and it’s about reinforcing these messages consistently.
What do you think is the most important attribute in a good BDM?
The role of the BDM has been called the “most important job in a business.” You are the front face of the company and in most cases, the first person that introducers have contact with.
The success of the BDM directly influences future growth and stability of the business. I take my role very seriously and hope my honestly and integrity shines through when I deal with brokers and introducers.
When you’re unavailable to contact via telephone, what’s the second-best way for brokers to get in touch?
I’m mostly always next to my phone but emails are answered pretty much immediately. I’m never really out of contact from either email or a phone for more than 30 minutes.
If you were head of the FCA for the day, what would you change about regulation in the mortgage industry?
I think the FCA has good, strong strategies but if I was in charge for a day, I would help ensure consistency between lenders, and therefore less confusion for borrowers. There is also a huge disparity between lenders on rates and also the problem of hidden costs, once the marketing communicated has been dissected into. A very low rate might make the phones to start ringing but if the borrower is then hit with these huge, hidden fees after three months it makes the whole industry look a bit like ‘pay day loans.’ And that creates distrust.
What was your motivation for choosing business development as a career?
I sort of fell into this line of work by accident. I came to Mint Bridging two years ago on a freelance basis and loved the people and the job so much that I stayed. I work well with Andrew (Director) and Paul (Operations Director) as they respect and understand decisions I make about deals. We have a great open-door policy that allows me to talk to them about deals we have in. If it’s something we can’t do, they explain to me the reasons why so we brainstorm other options. Every day is a school day.
How do you establish and maintain a good relationship with brokers?
Contact, contact and more contact. They know I’m just a phone call away and we both know that they will pretty much get an immediate decision from me. It’s all about relationships, the strength of them and following through in a timely manner, regardless of the answer. That’s why Mint is renowned as always being reliable in the industry.
And how do you establish and maintain good relationships internally?
Mint Bridging are really good at internal communications. We are not too big that anyone is more than a desk or call away. Since we moved headquarters recently, we all share a big open plan modern office. And with a vast coffee and kitchen area, we talk shop over drinks and lunch so everyone’s naturally, constantly updating each other. This has really helped build up internal relationships.
What’s the strangest question you’ve ever been asked?
We once had a new broker call and ask we could lend on a cat farm. They were breeders of lions, tigers and leopards so we’re talking big cats and not the cute fluffy house ones. They wanted to build on the land that was adjacent to it and we did sit down and talk potential terms with them, but in the end, it was too much of a stretch for us.
And finally, what did you want to be growing up?
I got my degree in Modern Performance Studies and Drama, so I was aiming to have an acting career. In reality it’s not much different from my day job sometimes because I still do have to put on a performance, especially when you have to politely turn down unique enquiries such as cat farms!