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A day in the life of… Will Clifton, senior underwriter, Accord

My alarm goes off at…

…6.15am, and my daily regime to get ready for work always includes ironing a shirt. I iron clothes only when I need them, much to my mum’s dismay!

I can’t leave the house without…

…my partner, Nadine. I take her to work on the way to my office.

I travel to work…

…in my car. Including the detour to drop off Nadine, it takes 40 minutes, door to door. There’s usually a squabble over our driving music: I’m a big R&B fan whereas she likes drum and bass.

The main purpose of my job is…

…ultimately, to help borrowers secure the home of their dreams by providing common-sense lending decisions to brokers in a timely manner. In addition, I support my team manager and act on her behalf when she’s not in the office.

I’ve been in this role for…

…two months — although I’ve been an underwriter with the Yorkshire Building Society Group for almost three years, recently being promoted to senior underwriter.

I joined from…

…Santander, where I sold credit cards and current accounts in a branch. For me, being an underwriter is far more pleasant than working in a sales environment.

To get my foot in the door, I…

…started out in the Egg customer service centre. I was keen to work with mortgages so, after nine months, I transferred to the underwriting team. Initially I dealt with branch lending.

However, customer behaviour showed that, before applying for a mortgage, they prefer to get a view on what a number of mortgage lenders can offer them, and to do this in one place — in other words, by going to a broker. So, knowing that the intermediary market was the place to be, I began working for Accord.

My typical day…

…starts by reviewing the application pipeline and valuations from the previous day, delegating them among the team.

Next I review outstanding AIPs to ensure brokers get a prompt lending decision. Then I process new cases, which involves calling a broker to say I’m working on their case through to offer, and to get an overview of the application, giving me a chance to iron out potential issues at the outset.

On a monthly basis, all the senior underwriters meet after lunch to discuss team quality checks and any noticeable trends, or potential ways of improving our processes. My final task of the day is quality checking the AIPs that were processed by the underwriters the day before.

People may not know that I’m responsible for…

…receiving initial enquiries. Sometimes it’s best for brokers, rather than contacting our sales team, to come directly to the underwriters with their queries on quirky cases because we are the ones making the lending decisions.

A common misconception about my job is…

…that we just tick boxes to comply with policy. As fully trained underwriters we can be flexible, and we have the authority to make a common-sense decision on a case, provided we have reasonable explanations for any irregularities.

My favourite work memory is…

…of accompanying one of our BDMs on broker visits; the brokers were excited to meet an underwriter in the flesh. We have a reputation for being unreachable, so it was nice to show that we are human! At one firm I demonstrated how we were able to lend on a number of complex cases — which they didn’t think we could do. Now they regularly place cases with us.

A perk of the job is…

…making a difference to people’s lives. For instance, it’s great to be able to make a first-time buyer’s dream of owning their own home a reality.

To unwind after work, I like to…

…take my dog, Harley, for a walk. I also love to cook, so I enjoy the challenge of making something different.

My role in five words is…

…rewarding, diverse, busy, developing and fun.

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