DARLINGTON Building Society has made two key appointments to strengthen its relationships with mortgage brokers across the country.

Amanda Smith and Sarah Rose have become Business Development Managers with Darlington Intermediaries, which was given its own brand by the Society two years ago as part of its drive to introduce mortgage solutions with increased flexibility.

And Chris Blewitt, who took over as Head of Intermediary Distribution at the start of the year, has described the appointments as “the perfect combination of experience, knowledge and connections”.

Amanda, who is based in Birmingham, will be looking after the Midlands and East Anglia, having been recruited from Clydesdale Bank, where she has worked as a Relationship Manager for the past four and a half years.

Before that, she worked for the Royal Bank of Scotland and Natwest, and has nearly 20 years’ experience in the Midlands.

Amanda, a mother of two grown-up boys, said: “It feels like a great time in my life to tackle a new challenge with a blank canvas, and I’m really excited to be taking on this role.

“Darlington Building Society has a growing reputation, with a personal touch and real sense of pride that really appealed to me.

“The Society has some fantastic products and I’ll be operating in a part of the country that it hasn’t been able to fully explore before, so I have no doubt there is massive potential.”

While Amanda brings vast external experience and contacts, Sarah Rose is a shining example of how Darlington Building Society continues to invest in growing its own talent.

Born and raised in Darlington, she had worked as a travel agent for nine years before joining the Society in the completions department – checking cases before offers were made. She moved to the intermediaries team six years ago as a Business Development Officer, liaising with brokers by phone, and has also worked as an underwriter for the Society.

Her promotion to Business Development Manager will see her taking to the road, covering the northern region, from Chester to Scotland.

Sarah said: “I wanted to further my career, and this was the perfect opportunity. I want to be able to get out there and say I made a difference to someone wanting to buy their own home. I really enjoy working with brokers and helping to get those complex cases over the line.

“I’ve always thought of Darlington Building Society as a great place to work, with a family atmosphere. The staff are so friendly and supportive of each other, we benefit from great leadership, and I can’t wait to take this next step with the Society.”

Chris Blewitt said: “We are building a brilliant team at Darlington Intermediaries, and Amanda and Sarah represent a powerful combination – they are the perfect pieces of the jigsaw.

“We have some key relationships in the Midlands, but we’ve never had boots on the ground, and Amanda brings vast experience, skills and contacts in that part of the country.

“In Sarah’s case, she has grown with Darlington Building Society, so she knows the products inside out, and her experience as an underwriter is a real bonus. Essentially, she is now bringing in the business that she would have previously assessed and approved herself, meaning she knows exactly what we are looking for in order to get the ‘applicant’ into their own home.”

As well as Amanda and Sarah in the field, Darlington Intermediaries also has five Business Development Officers operating by telephone.

“What we can do as a lender is brilliant, and we are now building a quality team that will help us get the message out there about what Darlington Building Society has to offer,” said Chris.