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The keys to success

reporter 4 minute read

Business development managers can play a key role in the success of a non-bank – so what sets them apart, and why can they make or break a relationship?

Business development managers (BDMs) are often considered the life blood of thenon-bank sector.

Their ability to fast-track deals, work through scenarios and help brokers connect with decision makers often makes for a quick, efficient loan process – and therefore happy brokers and borrowers.

MKM Capital’s credit and compliance manager, Mary McGowan, says BDMs are integral to the success of non-bank lenders.

“BDMs are critical because they’re the interface between the brand and the broker and borrower,” Ms McGowan says. “Everyone carries on about service, but it comes down to your experience on the day.

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“If you get someone who doesn’t give you good service, you will remember it and that can have a lasting impact.”

A Helping hand

A good BDM will help brokers work through scenarios and find a suitable solution for their client. Ms McGowan points out that borrowers are not all “vanilla flavoured” and so sometimes the broker and BDM need to work together to find a flexible solution.

This is where the non-banks can really differentiate themselves from their competitors. According to Ms McGowan, because non-banks are less constrained by stringent policies, BDMs aren’t just the face of the brand. They can actually make a difference and get a deal over the line.

Mortgage Mart’s Doug Daniell agrees and says good BDMs are relationship and solutions-driven.

“It’s good to have continuity with your BDMs and that’s something you really get with a lot of non-bank lenders,” Mr Daniell says. “You need somebody with extensive knowledge with whom you can bounce around scenarios.  Then if something does go off the rails, you’ve got somebody who is accountable.”

Good BDMs, however, aren’t just in the best interests of the broker; they can help non-banks get more business.

“Whether or not brokers sell non-bank products comes down to, in many cases, the quality of the lender’s BDMs,” says Homeloans’ general manager for sales, Greg Mitchell.

Pepper’s director of sales and distribution, Mario Rehayem, says the non-bank sector relies on BDMs to educate brokers and to help them say ‘yes’ to clients more often.

“When you’re a non-conforming lender like us, education is crucial,” says Mr Rehayem. “We don’t just open our doors and have business flood in like a major bank. Wehave to educate the broker to be in a position to educate the consumer. This is where BDMs are essential.

“If the broker doesn’t understand the product and the availability of the different product specs that we have, then how are they going to be able to educate the client about their options?

“We put a lot of people on the ground to ensure that we’re delivering the message day-in and day-out.”

In fact, Sintex’s general manager, Cathy Dimarchos, says BDMs can replace big budgets and help a non-bank establish itself as a key player in the marketplace.

“As with any business, without a BDM or a salesperson touching base and reminding people what is on offer, it is difficult to stay top of mind,” she says. “In many ways, the BDM replaces the media campaigns and at the same time offers on-the-spot answers and solutions.”

Advantedge’s general can confidently go to and be sure they know what they’re talking about.”

Different brokers, different approaches

Despite a general consensus that non-banks have flexible, effective BDMs with solid broker relationships, not every broker wants the same thing from their BDM.

Director of Iden, Barrie Gaubert, recalls that at the recent Mortgage & Finance Association of Australia convention, numerous brokers approached him and noted that if they don’t see a BDM in their office, they are unlikely to have a solid, consistent relationship with the lender.

“On the other hand, you have brokers who say, ‘I don’t have time to have a coffee with a BDM. I just want to get on and do business’,” Mr Gaubert says.

Non-banks, he says, are well suited to cater to these different approaches because their BDMs are flexible and keen for business.

“Great BDMs have connectivity, they have relationships and they have the ability to know what will work for each broker in different situations.” This ability to adapt and find a solution has helped many brokers maintain strong relationships with non-banks and their staff.

Indeed, Liberty Financial’s national sales manager, John Mohnacheff, says many non-banks would become virtually irrelevant were it not for their BDM force.

“The only way we can get cut-through is by having more soldiers on the ground,” Mr Mohnacheff says. “Business walks into the banks; nothing walks into ours. We have to charge and battle. We have to invest heavily in our BDMs. We want the brightest and the best.

“We talk about choice and innovation and we deliver that. We are fun to do business with. We try and be trusted advisers to our brokers and their businesses,” he continues. “If we didn’t have BDMs, we would be irrelevant to the broker.”

The keys to success
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