Know Your BDM: Natalie Kay, Evolution Money
This week, Specialist Lending Solutions speaks with Natalie Kay, Business Development Manager at second-tier lender Evolution Money
What sites and how many advisors and brokerage firms do you cover in your role?
At the moment I am dealing with 30 brokers, introducers and affiliates, but the number is increasing every day. They range from small independent brokers to large main brokers and they are based all over the UK so I’m really excited to be hitting the road.
How did you change the way you build and maintain a good relationship with brokers during the pandemic?
We had to adapt like a lot of people have had to, I’m sure, using Zoom or Microsoft Teams – other brands of video calling are available – and regular calls and emails trying to maintain a market presence although virtual now.
Throughout the lockdown I became a bit of an ace at Zoom after many quizzes with my family and friends so it really served me well.
What personal talent / skill is most valuable in your job?
Great communication skills are essential. Obviously, the role is to forge new relationships and, due to the pandemic, re-engagement with existing partners has also been essential.
I would say you absolutely need to be organized with the ability to multitask. I love how busy the role is and how most days just go by. Coming from a sales background, I know how important a quick response is. No day is ever the same, and I get to talk to a variety of different people every day.
What personal talent / skill would you most like to improve?
Guess, being new to this role, I want to gain a better understanding of the financial industry from BDM’s perspective to help build more relationships, but also strengthen existing ones.
Where would you rather be stuck, in bumper-to-bumper traffic or back-to-back Zoom calls?
I hate being stuck in traffic. My partner’s family live in Kent so we regularly get stuck on M6 after visiting them. On one occasion we got stuck overnight from 10pm to 5am, so I had to choose back-to-back zooms, but I would need some lean gingerbread slats on tap.
What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received?
Listen more than you speak. You were given two ears and one mouth for a reason. I love this quote because it’s so true; the best conversations i have are when i have to say very little.
I also found it incredibly useful when I was an underwriter.
What is the most original / unique real estate transaction you have been involved in?
Having over 15 years in the finance industry, I have completed a variety of different properties. They are all unique in their own way. To be honest, I find the people I help much more interesting and memorable than the properties.
I always remember those for whom I really made a difference. This is what makes the job so rewarding.
What was your strategy for adapting to containment?
I have a puppy. His name is Otto and he’s a Miniature Schnauzer. He is almost nine months old now and has saved lives. It’s my escape from home schooling and a break from staring at my screen. We always wanted a dog, but it was never a good time before confinement, he’s just perfect.
Overall, working from home has been great, with the exception of the weird home schooling crisis. You don’t mind responding to some emails after hours as your commute is only to the next room.
If you were the head of the FCA for the day, what would you change in the regulation of the mortgage industry?
I would make sure all lenders and advisors follow the same rules and make sure no rules are broken and no limits are pushed back.
What was your motivation for choosing business development as a career?
I felt I needed a new challenge. I visited a broker with another BDM and really enjoyed it. It was great talking to underwriters and gaining an understanding of the entire customer journey.
I felt with my experience as an Underwriter at Evolution that I could really make a difference. When the opportunity arose, I jumped on it. I can’t wait to meet people in person when we’re finally allowed to do so.
If you could do another job in the real estate industry, which one would it be and why?
I think maybe some sort of celebrity real estate agent or interior designer. I love looking at other people’s homes, stealing decorating ideas on Instagram, and seeing how other people live.
I can waste hours with the Rightmove app trying to find my dream home. Or alternatively, something where I can work with animals – I would love to run a dog daycare business.
What did you want to grow up?
A professional basketball player; I was even offered a scholarship in America. Or a physical education teacher. Things turned out a little different though. I went to college to be a physical education teacher and to have religious studies as a second subject. Strange combination I know.
So much so that there was only one university that offered it. I quickly discovered that it was not for me. I think it takes a special kind of person to teach 11-16 year olds and I didn’t feel like the right person.
I fell into a finance company after college as an administrative assistant and worked my way up the ranks. I love how the role allows me to not only help people but also educate them to reduce any further risk of financial hardship.
What is your favorite face mask pattern / model to wear?
It must be my Liverpool FC face mask, bright red with last year’s Premier League trophy. Although I get some funny looks when I wear it on the Manchester city center tram. I keep my head down as I pass Old Trafford. Maybe I should stick with a red one?
And finally, what’s the strangest question you’ve ever been asked?
I’ve been asked a lot of weird questions, but the one that stuck with me was when I took my niece to Chester Zoo and she asked me: How long does it take for a giraffe to vomit? I thought she was trying to tell me a nerdy daddy joke but no, that was a real question.