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A turbulent start to 2021 is expected as we’re faced with the challenges of ambitious application targets, further national lockdown restrictions, and the rush to meet the stamp duty deadline.

When the COVID-19 pandemic first hit, our Business Development Team (BDM) really came into their own – not just in terms of business requirements – but also in terms of understanding the importance of peer-to-peer communication at such an unsettling time.

Our team quickly recognised the challenges faced by an energetic intermediary community that had been plunged into isolation, practically overnight, and whose livelihood was suddenly threatened by influences beyond its control.

The team responded by inviting intermediaries to participate in a series of local and national webinars that ultimately reached over 1,000 brokers. The webinars were topical and informative and evolved into a forum where brokers could connect, learn and share. This successful programme of webinars was ‘highly commended’ at the Mortgage Finance Gazette Awards and rated 4.8 out of five by attendees.

Recent feedback we’ve received from brokers on our webinars highlights that the work we’ve been doing in pulling together content on a variety of topics with knowledgeable guest speakers is making a difference in the broker community:

“Proving your support for intermediaries and leading from the front, setting the pace for other lenders to follow. Great and informative webinar.”

“Your webinar series is a brilliant concept. It’s been enjoyable and a great learning curve of not only what Skipton offer, but also the market in general.”

Skipton Building Society for Intermediaries has a national team of BDMs, both field and telephone based, that reaches from Scotland to Devon with many years of experience. Last year, more than ever, the team demonstrated its ability to adapt and innovate, with over 5,000 meetings held virtually! So rest assured we’re doing everything we can, to make things easier for you.

Not only do we have our team of BDMs to support you and your clients, but we continue to focus on improving our technology. Our plan has always been to improve our service with technology that’s designed to make the intermediary role as easy as possible. And, throughout 2020, we stuck to those principles. This resulted in building-out our API connectivity to ID&V, financial crime and electronic income verification which, in practical terms, can translate to a paperless mortgage application process and an increase in the number of offers made in less than 24 hours from submission. During lockdown we also increased our use of Desktops and AVMs to allow valuations to continue and we've continued to use more of these even once the housing market opened, which continues to improve on the service for cases that qualify for this valuation methodology.

Whilst technology has been our enabler to improve service, we have maintained our USP of putting people first, and giving Brokers access to BDMs and Underwriters for support and guidance when it’s needed – a great example of technology and people working hand in hand.

We’re keen to continue our interest in technology and throughout 2021, we will keep discovering new and innovative developments in the mortgage market and continue to look at ways they could potentially benefit the intermediary community we support.

So whatever 2021 throws at you, we hope that the BDM team at Skipton Building Society for Intermediaries can continue to make things easier for you.

Alison Heaven and John Scrivens

Business Development Regional Managers at Skipton Building Society for Intermediaries

These views are Alison and John’s own.

All information correct at time of publish.

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