School of Sales will bring in fresh blood

In football a good manager must strike a balance between having experienced hands guiding the team and bringing in new players to add an extra dimension. They also need trainees willing to learn the ropes to ensure the team remains strong in the future.

The same is true of the mortgage industry but sadly we are facing a drop in the number of people wanting to join our ranks, making future staff shortages a concern.

Now may seem an odd time to talk about recruitment considering the state of the market, but recent research from the Association of Mortgage Intermediaries found that 59% of its members expect to maintain similar staffing levels over the next year. Around one in five believe they’ll take on more workers.

Despite this encouraging sentiment, brokerages are finding it difficult to grow because of the lack of new blood available to them. The average age of practising brokers is such that in 15 years’ time a large proportion of them will face retirement.

To make matters worse, many brokerages cannot afford the time and investment required to get young trainees up to speed. Instead we continue to see the same faces moving from one firm to another.

From the perspective of lenders, some of the sting has been drawn from the problem by the growth in technology that’s streamlining the mortgage application process. Automated valuations, decisions in principle and online applications are playing their part.

But having efficient sourcing and decision-making processes will only take lenders so far. The heart and soul of their operations will remain the trained and experienced staff who act as day-to-day contacts for customers.

Time is of the essence for brokers and working with lenders that have trained and highly motivated staff ready to help at the drop of a hat is vital to their businesses. With this in mind, we’ve taken on board some of the lessons we have learnt from our parent company Banco Santander and have invested in a training scheme that we call the AfI School of Sales.

The programme is aimed at maintaining strong service standards across our broker business and we have plans to expand the training further to ensure customers get the best from us too.

Lenders must not only ensure a steady supply of fresh blood is injected into the industry but must also invest in their training to ensure the services they offer improve. If we follow these principles we can provide brokers with the support they need to weather the harsh market conditions the industry faces.