Published: 27 September 2022
The Darlington Intermediaries team manage the relationships between Darlington Building Society and mortgage brokers, with the aim of making complex cases simple.
The team comes under the leadership of Head of Intermediary Distribution, Chris Blewitt, who started with the Society in 2015 as manager of the Darlington branch and has been with the Intermediaries team for five years. He spent the first three years as Business Development Manager in the North West before being appointed to his new role two years ago.
Chris says: “Our biggest source of pride and satisfaction is working with mortgage brokers and being able to help clients to achieve their dream of home ownership when they may have had their hopes dashed elsewhere.
“The chances are that we’re dealing with clients who’ve tried elsewhere and had their dream shattered. What we try to do is pick that dream back up again by supporting brokers. It’s about putting keys in clients’ hands when they’ve previously had them snatched away. Helping people is our bread and butter.”
The Darlington Intermediaries team has benefited greatly from the investment in new systems made by the Society over the past 18 months.
For example, a new telephony system, with more dedicated lines, has enabled the team members to quadruple the number of calls they can handle.
“It not only saves the brokers’ time but gives our team more scope to build the relationships with brokers over the phone, and to be far more proactive about new product launches and solutions,” says Chris.
“Brokers are seeing more complexities in the way people work, especially since the pandemic, so having more advanced technology at our fingertips makes it easier for brokers to do business with us and it makes a huge difference.”
At the turn of the year, the new IRESS mortgage, sales and origination platform went live. It is far more user friendly than the legacy system and speeds up the decision-making process for brokers.
An affordability calculator has also been added to the website, so brokers can log on, insert their clients’ circumstances, and quickly see what financials are workable.
The Darlington Intermediaries team was set up as a subsidiary of Darlington Building Society eight years ago.
The team prides itself on being able to come up with mortgage solutions in more niche areas where clients’ circumstances are less straightforward.
Once the team has helped to come up with a solution, brokers can log on to the online system and produce a Decision in Principle, which is then picked up by the underwriters.
The team comprises:
• Senior Business Development Officer James Travers.
• Business Development Managers: Sarah Rose (North); Amanda Smith (Midlands)
• Associate Business Development Manager, Tim Vigeon (South).
• Business Development Officers: Harvey Montgomery, Rebekah Thorpe, Adam Fulford, and Charlotte Gillespie.
• Intermediaries Support Team Leader Victoria Seaman.
• Mortgage Processing Administrator Eden Holmes-Carrington.
What’s to come
“The aim is to use the time that has been freed up by the new technology to be much more proactive and hands-on in managing the relationships with the brokers,” says Chris. “There will be more outbound calls to improve the education around our proposition, creating a more collaborative approach, so we can identify the underserved parts of the market.”
The development of the website will also continue to further enhance relationship-building.
What’s it like to be part of the Darlington Intermediaries team?
“The most satisfying part of my job is supporting our amazing team to grow and develop whilst building relationships with our brokers to ensure a smooth transition from initial conversation to offer” – Vicky Seaman
“I feel like a detective sometimes picking out parts and helping our brokers find a solution, the best part of this is that the solution isn’t always obvious to the broker or client and that way I know I am adding real value” – James Travers
“There is nothing better than arranging appointments with new brokers and taking them through our USP’s, seeing the shocked look on their faces when they realize just how many ways we can support them and their clients” – Amanda Smith