Top Broker: BDMs must evolve into 'educators'

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The head of CMP’s “Mortgage Brokerage of the Year” is urging BDMs to embrace an expanded role as educators, a way of increasing their utility to mortgage professionals, looking to grow their own usefulness to clients.

“Just as the job of a mortgage broker is evolving into more of an overall financial advisor, so is the role of the BDM to be more than just a face in the office,” Brian Matthey, head of Verico The Mortgage Professionals in Kingston, Ont., told MortgageBrokerNews.ca “Visiting an office on a regular basis is definitely still a must, but the successful BDM today is creating more of a presence through education and direct interaction with mortgage agents on more levels. BDMs who also plan their visits in advance and have them advertised throughout an office will find more success than just dropping in as busy agents today may not have the time to get the full benefit out of a drop-in visit.”

The advice comes as BDMs find their roles changing, with a growing number of lenders looking to remove them from the traditional role as a go-between for disputes between brokers and underwriters. The idea is to free up the time of those salespeople, allowing them to exclusively focused on attracting new brokerages and their business.

Many mortgage brokers have reservations about the changing roles, suggesting BDMs are best left as lender representatives for their existing clients and, where necessary, as mediators in underwriting disputes.

Matthey, whose firm won the CMP award for Mortgage Brokerage of the Year (more than 25 employees) is also suggesting an expanded role for BDMs that would effectively increase their interaction with the existing broker-client base.

“Lender products, their niche markets and rates are equally important,” said the 21-year industry veteran, “but continually updating agents on changes that will affect them plus educating them outside the box with seminars on various topics such as  social marketing, bond rates and trending is where a BDM can shine above anybody else. Coordinating periodic sales meetings with broker offices gives them the opportunity to showcase their product line-up, keep them top of mind and highlight product that solves problematic applications or niche situations.”

Another high-profile Ontario broker is also calling for lenders to look at returning limited application approval power to BDMs, at the same time making those front-line reps more accountable for their underwriting decisions.

“I am very fortunate to have worked with competent BDMs who are generally responsive and proactive in their approach to problem resolution,” Calum Ross, senior VP of The Mortgage Centre-Mortgage Professionals Inc., told MortgageBrokerNews.ca. “I also believe BDMs should be given discretion to make exceptions on mortgage deals but only if they are also held responsible if the mortgage ends up in default.”

While Matthey isn’t speaking directly to that proposal, he supports the continuing role of BDMs as a sort of peacemaker for brokers and underwriters.

“With competition being keen at every level, the BDM who successfully navigate themselves between the underwriting department and the mortgage agent and keeps the channels always open in case of a problem will create the necessary liaison to have their company at the forefront,” he said. “Agents remember problems quickly solved, but they remember more problems that weren’t. Service levels today mean more than ever before with people expecting answers quickly and the BDM that keeps the application and approval process running smoothly will find themselves a lender of preference even if their rates may not always be the best.”

  • John Dearin on 2011-09-29 4:49:53 AM

    We depend heavily on our BDM's not just to resolve disputes but to run deals by to see if they fit, prior to our submission. If a lender is going to remove that function from our BDM, then we would have to look strongly at moving our business to a lender that has a BDM that can advise us. If others follow suit, the lender will then definately need the BDM to run around after new business.

    John Dearin

  • Angela Wong-Liao, Invis Inc on 2011-09-29 6:41:46 AM

    In my opinion, the role of the BDM is acting as a mediator between agents and underwriters, the BDM should have some discretion in regards to pricing and to promote and educate the agents about the different mortgage products from the lenders that they are working for. The BDM should not have approval limits or any approval authority because of a potential conflict of interest, however, an experienced BDM should be able to help the agents to package the deals within the perimeter of the lender's guidelines if requires. I find one of the challenge is that good BDM changing lenders constantly and as a result of these constant changes, we, the mortgage agents/brokers have difficulties in establishing a very strong business relationship with these good and experienced BDM.

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