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Day in the life of……Simon Coward, regional manager, Halifax Intermediaries

My alarm goes off at…

6am, although I’m always awake five minutes before it goes off. Depressingly, I wake up at the same time on weekends but try to get at least another hour’s rest before getting up.

I can’t leave the house without…

My rucksack – it has my laptop, notepad and charger(s) in it.

I get to work by…

Train. It’s a 10-minute walk to the station, which is great when the sun shines and it helps my daily step count. There I will (hopefully) get a train into the City. The new 2020 timetable implementation went particularly well for my route…

The main purpose of my job is…

To lead a team of nine BDMs in London and the South East. I look after all aspects of performance as well as reviewing how they go about doing their job. This includes the relationships and trust they build with brokers, responding to broker feedback or working with stakeholders to support our mutual customers. I’ve been in this role for two years and I joined from our strategic partnerships team where I was a national account manager, liaising with networks on a national basis. Before that I was a housing development manager, responsible for relationships with key new-build partners. I’ve worked in the mortgage industry for more than 21 years.

My typical day…

Generally involves getting started early, so I aim to arrive at the office before 8am. First up will be a one-to-one with one of my team before heading out with them on broker visits. I really enjoy this part of the job as I hear direct feedback about our proposition and the overall market. No two days are the same. Lunch is likely to be a quick sandwich and an opportunity to provide feedback to the BDM before heading back to the office. I’ll use this time to return calls and emails. Then I’ll catch up with any projects I’m involved in and write up my notes from the broker visits. The train home provides me with an opportunity to respond to emails and I’ll use the walk home to make any necessary calls.

People may not know that I’m responsible for…

Everything that happens in the London & South East region at Halifax Intermediaries.

A common misconception about my job is…

That I’m an expert on our lending policies and processes; I’m not, unlike our BDMs whose knowledge and expertise astounds me. Occasionally, I will field a call from a broker when a BDM is on holiday. I will always try to help but I’m quick to suggest they still call their BDM as their phone will be diverted to an equally knowledgeable and experienced telephone BDM who can give them support with their enquiry.

My favourite work memory is…

Not long after I was promoted to housing development manager I was asked to a dinner with leading house builder chief executives in Mayfair to give an overview of the UK mortgage market. The evening went incredibly well, despite my initial nerves, largely thanks to a pep talk from my boss beforehand. I had to park my car in a tiny underground car park next to a row of impressive marquee cars. It didn’t look out of place at all. I made sure I reversed very slowly and carefully…

A perk of the job is…

The very occasional round of golf, although my bad back has restricted this much more than I would like. The odd black tie event always goes down well.

To unwind I like to…

Do a lot of family activities. There isn’t a lot of spare time if I’m honest – we are a busy family and a variety of after-school activities and weekend sports mean there is very little ‘do nothing’ time. I coach an U10 football team and, although it’s not necessarily relaxing, it is great fun and very rewarding to see them develop as players and as a team. At weekends I take on a plethora of unpaid jobs, including taxi service, football coach, cricket scorer (in the summer), occasional chef and I am surprisingly handy with an iron (at least that’s the feedback I get). I’m completely mad about AFC Bournemouth – which is where I grew up – and successfully brainwashed my son into following them, too. We try to get to a few away games each season. Visiting Old Trafford, the Emirates, the Etihad and Wembley to watch my team in a Premier League game is as good as it gets for a Cherry. Win, lose or draw, we were there.

Describe the role in five words:

Varied, collaborative, demanding, enjoyable and satisfying.

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