Top Broker: BDMs must evolve into 'educators'

Top Broker: BDMs must evolve into 'educators'

Top Broker: BDMs must evolve into

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 “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 “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.”