Broker Support Profile: Debbie Lees, Regional Manager

1. How long have you been a Regional Manager in Intermediary Relationships for Nationwide and The Mortgage Works? And what does the role involve?

I have been with Intermediary Relationships since its launch in April 2008. Initially I covered part of the North West and Scotland before I moved to covering the North West.

I have a team of eight Business Development Managers and as well as carrying out joint visits and appraisals, I manage budgets and arrange team meetings. I analyse packaging, quality and activity data to ensure we are giving the best coverage to our databases and are also helping our brokers to get quicker offers for their customers. I also deal with queries from both my team and key firms.

2. What is the best part of your job?

Having been a broker and a BDM before becoming a Regional Manager, I love to get out and about with my team, meeting their firms and listening to broker feedback. Every day is different, we can visit a one-man band, then move onto a firm with dozens of brokers and next call into an Estate Agency. I was recently observing a call at a broker’s home who wanted to take advantage of the lovely weather and hold the meeting outside, all was going well until the next-door neighbour decided to get his chainsaw out and cut down some trees!

3. What is the most challenging part of managing eight Business Development Managers?

We are all home-based and spread over a large geographical area so only get together as a team once a month, this means we’ve had to get much better at using technology. We have regular conference calls and video meetings to ensure that everyone is kept up to date with changes, but more importantly, this gives us the platform to share ideas and hints and tips as to how we can make life easier for our brokers and their clients.

4. What do you think are the main challenges facing brokers at the moment?

Without doubt the launch of ‘Open Banking’ and the new ‘Digital’ era is upon us. Whilst I don’t think ‘Robo-advice' can ever take the place of a client being able to talk to a qualified broker, I do think the ease of acquiring advice determines where a client chooses to get their advice from, so brokers will need to invest in technology.

5. What common misconceptions are there about your role?

That we are only interested in achieving targets. The vital part of our role is that as a team we are providing the best possible service to our brokers, keeping them informed and up to date with changes, as well as giving them tips around packaging and business quality in order to make the customer journey as smooth as possible. Crucially, we also need to be available to help if something doesn’t go to plan.

6. Looking after the North West, have you noticed any patterns/challenges emerging from brokers in this region?

There does seem to be an influx of investors buying from outside of the region due to the low purchase prices and good yields, that said, in general, wherever you visit there appears to be a lack of housing stock and that poses a problem for both residential and buy to let purchasers.

7. What are the main reasons brokers should choose TMW over other lenders?

TMW offer a wide range of product options for landlords and have made a lot of positive changes over the last 12 months and beyond, largely due to broker feedback. We now pay procuration fees for product switch applications and we’ve launched Portfolio and Limited Company lending.

We’ve re-entered into 80% LTV products, plus we’ve removed maximum age for experienced landlords up to 65% LTV, meaning that older landlords can continue to use their rental income as a pension for life. Of course, we also have a large team of BDM’s who can provide support as well as our Dedicated Broker Support team on Broker Chat if a broker needs to discuss a new case before submitting.