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The value of face-to-face interaction

Marcus Dussard

July 20, 2021

Marcus Dussard is sales director at Hampshire Trust Bank

I joined HTB back in March 2020 just before the first lockdown and, to be honest, this sometimes feels like yesterday and at other times feels like a decade ago.

It’s this kind of emotional swing and time sensitivity (or lack of) which has made this pandemic so tough for so many people. A major component within this has been the lack of personal contact, face-to-face interactions and the ability to attend live events.

All of which have previously been integral in my personal and business life, and I’m sure that these factors have also affected many other people along the way.

Upon starting at the company, it soon became apparent that close relationships are fundamental to the HTB culture. From my perspective, it was vital to form strong lines of communication with the operations director, head of underwriting and completions team as quickly as possible, even as the world around us seemed to close in.

This chain is particularly important for HTB as the type of business we write tends to be multi-faceted and full of complexity.

From dealing with a limited company offering in an offshore trust through to a UK national securing a couple of buy-to-let property. One of our strengths is that we deal with each case on its merits.

For the larger, more complex cases, this tended to involve getting all the major stakeholders into a room and talking through its many characteristics.

Thanks to technology, we were still able to do this via video calls and our approach remained the same but I think I can speak for everyone when I say that we were all chomping at the bit for that physical, roundtable pow wow to become second nature once again.

We’ve all experienced just how integral technology has become and this trend will continue moving forward. Like most lenders, we integrated desktop valuations during the pandemic and have been using eSignatures for a while now.

We’re always looking to positively enhance our proposition through relevant tech-based solutions but there is no getting away from the fact that the specialist mortgage market remains reliant on relationships, communication and face-to-face meetings.

A vital part of our proposition will always involve strong levels of interaction with brokers, gathering feedback and listening to their needs.

This has proved especially valuable over the past 12 months as products and criteria have had to evolve quickly to meet their clients ever-shifting outlooks, attitudes, social requirements and financial situations.

The nature of today’s mortgage market means that all lenders and service providers are constantly searching for ways and means to get their business offerings in front of their customers.

Over the pandemic we saw in rise in virtual events and we are now slowly transitioning to live events and, hopefully, a return to some kind of normality.

As a lender, we can’t wait to get our BDMs back out on the road on a regular basis to maintain, build and enhance intermediary relationships across the UK.

On a personal level, I’m also keen to get back out there as much as possible. Even though we have discovered new ways to communicate, the importance of face-to-face interaction across the intermediary market remains evident and I look forward to catching up with each and every one of you (in a safe and secure environment) sooner, rather than later.


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