SPECIAL FEATURE: When telephone BDM’s work

Sarah Davidson

October 30, 2012

Matt Fleming-Duffy, finance broker at Wessex Investment Management, viewed Barclays’ decision to replace face-to-face service with a telephone business development manager with scepticism predicting it would spell trouble for future service levels.

He said: “More and more lenders are cutting costs by opting for internet webchat, telephone helpdesks and remote BDMs in favour of non-personal contact with both their customers and intermediaries.

“We had a good relationship with our local BDM based in Dorset, however when we lost her due to redundancy we were assigned a telephone BDM, Alan Crawley, based in Cardiff. With only a long-distance relationship remaining with Woolwich, I must admit that I expected service levels to decline. But that was not the case.”

Fleming-Duffy’s case ran into difficulties when his client’s ex-partner refused to sign paperwork to allow the loan to complete. Due to this delay the offer, valuation and deal were allat risk of expiring resulting in the collapse of the 70% loan to value remortgage.

He said: “With only two working days left, this seemed like an impossibility. As I prepared for the worst, Alan ensured the offer was re-issued and completed on the last day possible by chasing his own underwriting and completions teams and indeed the Woolwich-appointed solicitors.”

Cost-reduction strategies are necessary for lenders to remain in the market place but as Barclays has shown this does not always have to be at the expense of good service. Fleming-Duffy’s experience has left him feeling confident that Barclays’ recent changes have moved forward its proposition in a positive way.

Fleming-Duffy added: “We often hear bold statements from providers wishing to engage with intermediaries, who can be very critical of poor service I’ll admit, but committed staff who care about brokers is the best way to cement relationships.

“Let’s hope that this is sustainable and they look to retain excellent staff such as Lucy Gulwell who is top notch at mortgage administration assistance and Alan Crawley. Good staff really are the most important assets a bank can possess.”

David Finlay, intermediary managing director for Barclays, said: “We are delighted to receive such positive feedback – our aim is to ensure our brokers have the right contacts in the right place at the right time, continually looking to improve our service to intermediaries and their clients”

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