Jan Gallagher

An interview with Jan Gallagher: BDMs should assess potential cases 'just as an underwriter would'

In an interview with Bridging & Commercial, Jan Gallagher, business development manager at LendInvest (pictured above), looks at education in the specialist finance sector, and having the confidence to say 'no' to a deal.

How do you intend to build long-lasting future relationships with clients as the newest BDM at LendInvest?

I feel that the best way to forge strong relationships with my brokers is for them to see me as an additional member of their own team, someone they can turn to quickly and get a straight answer from.

When it comes to specialist finance in particular, it’s all about education. We are finding that brokers are seeing more and more quirky cases that they need help and support with. There are a lot of specialist lenders out in the market, so it is really important for my brokers to know and understand our criteria and how we fit in the specialist market.

What would you regard as the most important role of a BDM?

I would say there are a few points to this. One is to strengthen the brand of the company you are representing, while also educating the broker around your criteria and talking them through the kind of cases that typically fit, and those that don’t.

It’s also important to know your competition and where you fit within the market. This allows you to ensure that what you’re offering is the most appropriate for the broker’s client. I truly believe that in knowing your competition, even if a case doesn't fit with the company you are working for, directing your broker to a competitor where it will, is a really helpful thing to do for a broker.

Kunal Mehta, managing director at SDKA, believes that combining the roles of an underwriter and BDM is more efficient and helps to build a relationship with clients. Do you agree with this?

I would agree with this, and I do think this is happening already with a couple of key BDMs out in the field.

Like I said previously, when it comes to specialist products, it’s about education, and you should assess a potential case just as an underwriter would. You need to have the confidence to say ‘no’ to a case if you know you’re not going to have an appetite to lend on it. I think it's key for any BDM to have a strong relationship with the underwriting team and gain valuable insight on how they assess cases. This then can be passed on to your broker network, so they too can have an understanding of which cases fit and which don't.

How did you get into the industry?

I took on my first banking job at the age of 16. I worked my way up through various roles within the banking network and gained my FPC and CeMAP qualifications in 2000.

Since then, I have worked in a variety of roles within the industry, including working as a broker in both wealth management and mortgages. I have worked in specialist lending specifically for 10 years now and haven't looked back.

If you didn’t work in finance, what would you be doing?

I would be a dog walker — which is what I do with most of my spare time anyway!

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