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We know what makes a good BDM, say banks

by Nick Bendel10 minute read
The Adviser

Lenders have told brokers that relationships are a two-way street: BDMs must be responsive but brokers also need to solve some problems themselves.

The comments follow criticisms by some brokers about the quality of service they receive from their relationship managers.

The Commonwealth Bank wants to help brokers by showing them how to avoid BDM dependency, said the general manager of broker sales for third party banking, Sam Boer.

“We have the most productive sales team in the industry and that means they are in high demand,” he told The Adviser.


“The job of a CBA relationship manager is to teach the broker how to fish – how to use the systems and support areas to full effect so they don’t have to rely on the relationship managers to get involved.

“I accept that the bank makes mistakes and relationship managers need to be hands-on to fix major issues, but when this becomes an expectation for every transaction, then brokers need to rethink their process,” Mr Boer said.

Westpac’s general manager of mortgage broker distribution, Tony MacRae, said BDMs had to be responsive, proactive and committed to helping brokers grow their business.

“BDMs must be easy to deal with and easy to contact when brokers call with the things that matter to them the most, such as escalating an issue or where an application has gone wrong,” he said.

Mr MacRae said a good BDM also needed “the courage and the ability to say no” to brokers, provided decisions were clearly explained.

Bank of Queensland’s head of broker channel, Brad Rockwell, said relationship managers could be fully effective only if they were empowered by lenders.

“We want to make it as simple as possible for brokers to deal with us and, to help achieve this, we give our BDMs the authority to be proactive and resolve issues on their own instead of having to refer everything to head office,” he said.

ING Direct’s head of third party distribution, Mark Woolnough, said relationship managers needed to focus on brokers’ deadlines and priorities while also keeping end customers in mind.

“The structure we've created has found that right balance of giving brokers what they need when and how they need it,” he told The Adviser.

NAB Broker relationship manager Nick Murray, who was named Best Lender BDM at the Victorian Better Business Awards, said the key to keeping brokers happy was reliability.

“I think in a nutshell it’s doing the simple things and doing them well, so returning phone calls and emails,” he said.

“As long as you set the expectations up front and you live by those expectations, that’s how you’re going to have a successful relationship.”

Mr Murray added that he had learned the importance of delivering hard truths during his eight years as a BDM.

“There’s no point saying you can do a deal when you can’t do a deal just because you want a sale,” he told The Adviser.

“That’s only going to end up in a lack of trust from the brokers and they’re not going to want to deal with you after something like that.”

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