Bring back the human touch of BDMs

Being a self-employed mortgage broker is a lonely existence. And just when they need to see a friendly business development manager, they seem to have all but disappeared.

Are BDMs a dying breed, extinct or just spread too thinly? These are questions posed to me on a regular basis by brokers at the coal face. Many of my sources say they haven’t seen their BDMs for months, if at all. Nobody needs me to tell them how many hats a small broker has to wear to run their business and now their help appears to have vanished.

There’s little doubt in my mind that it’s lean, mean corporate policy that dictates this type of thinking and the demise of a role that is considered disposable. OK, the number crunchers can point to their bottom lines and show that by cutting back on BDMs they have slashed overheads and increased profits. If everything was black and white you’d be hard pressed to defend the need for BDMs by the laws of accountancy. But of course everything is not black and white and there’s a story behind every headline – or bottom line.

One example is Royal Mail. This dinosaur of a company has turned massive losses into a profit. The bottom line looks great, the directors pay themselves huge profit-related bonuses but the service is less than second class, as consumers well know given the increasing number of complaints to the regulator.

Might I suggest that Royal Mail CEO Adam Crozier had a simple remit and an easy task to make the company more profitable? No mention of service standards here and nothing us long- suffering consumers can do about this monopoly. The moral of the story is that in many cases it is easy to achieve a short-term fix, but what of the bigger picture and the future of a company?

In my experience, BDMs were not just sales people that came round two or three times a year for a cuppa and a gossip. Here was an opportunity to air all the little niggles you might have experienced talking to somebody who in most cases had the clout to implement the action required to make your life better.

This was a win-win situation as it was also an opportunity for your BDM to pass on tips he had gathered from his experience to help you while plugging his latest products to increase his sales.

I see a future without BDMs as a bleak and dreary one for brokers, but equally so for mortgage providers trying to get their products out into the marketplace. Some things are best not resurrected but BDMs do not fall into that category. Let’s bring back the human touch.