| Tell us about your job and what’s involved on a typical day?There can be a real mix from day to day. I’m in the office for around 8.45, with a few emails on the commute in and a morning stroll across the Meadows to start my day. Every day and every client is different, usually it’s four meetings a day, as well as meeting a lot of interesting people from all walks of life and all over the world. It’s a mix from meeting new people and helping them understand how to go about buying a home to established landlords looking to add to their portfolio and everything in between, and it’s nice to have that variety. I’ll normally finish around 5.30, head home and get my son to bed and spend some time with the family, and catch up on anything else that needs done that day.
What previous roles and experiences led you to your present position?
I worked for the Bank of Scotland for just over 11 years, starting on the cash desk and moving to mortgages in 2004. I’ve done all jobs there really which gave me a good experience and worked in the branch side, with commercial and Private Banking clients and a lot of time with the self build team there so feel I served my time!
What do you like most about this company?
After coming from a big corporation it’s refreshing to be with a smaller company that holds the same level of professionalism as a large bank, but small enough where every member of staff and client matters. It’s also amazing to me just how many people come through that have been referred by friends, family and co-workers and really makes you proud of what we do day to day.
What do you consider the key challenges for the mortgage industry this year?
I think one of the biggest challenges has always been public perception of the housing market, not always helped by the media being very London focused! Even with increases in house prices owning a home in Scotland is still very affordable, particularly with schemes like Help to Buy and LIFT available. We constantly see people who have been renting for years amazed at what a mortgage costs compared to their rent, and often it’s only once a friend has stepped on the property ladder they decide to look themselves.
What are the most important personal satisfactions and dissatisfactions connected with your job?
It’s always great to see a happy client, and being involved in such a big decision in someone’s life can be very rewarding. It’s easy to forget how much it means to someone to buy their first home and the freedom (and fear!) that can bring. I always try and think back to how I was when I bought my first home and how important it was to get the right advice.
There can be frustrations, like if a lender declines a client for something you disagree with, but the difference with having access to over 10,000 products is you usually have a plan b or beyond, and with experience you start to learn which lenders are right for which clients quickly!
Who is your role model and why?
That’s a tough one because we all have our faults! My Granddad was a huge inspiration to me, someone who managed to work hard enough to put 7 kids through school from Trinidad to the UK and still be a great father to them. He was a pharmacist by trade but he was someone who just loved learning about anything that took his interest and never lost his love of life.
If you could take back one career decision, what would it be?
I decided management wasn’t for me, but only after a seemingly never ending series of half day courses. I will never get that time back!
If we were to ask your work colleagues about you, what would they say and why?
Nothing bad I hope! Probably a mix of my sweet tooth, the amount of water I drink and the amount of useless knowledge I retain.
If you could take three other people to dinner with you, who would it be and why?
With the election being the main topic as I write this, I’d probably say Ed Miliband, David Cameron and Nicola Sturgeon, in the hopes that after a couple of drinks they may actually say what they really plan to do without the hyperbole!
For company and conversation though it’d have to be:
David Attenborough – The man is a living legend. I love watching the documentaries he makes with my son, Matthew, and he just seems to have this amazing knowledge and infectious enthusiasm for life.
Luis Suarez – Controversial yes, and have to stay out of bite’s reach, but as a Liverpool fan he has been I think the best player we have had in my football watching life. It’s going to be a better story than going to dinner with Michael Owen isn’t it.
Scarlett Johansson – Because I’m pretty sure my partner, Tracy, won’t read this.
Salad or chips?
I’d say salad, but I’d be lying.
What are your hobbies?
Things I used to have before I had a kid! Wouldn’t change it for the world though.
What is your favourite film?
Raiders of the Lost Ark
Who is your current mortgage with?
Halifax, although my deal is up soon…..
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