Stephen Calvert, Business Development Manager at Furness Building Society

Meet the BDM Blog Series: Stephen Calvert

‘‘From branch to broker - I've enjoyed the best of both worlds''

It’s the fourth part of our ‘Meet the BDM’ series and this month, we’re moving over to our telephone team based at our head office in Barrow. First up is native Barrovian, Stephen Calvert, whose decade-plus tenure at Furness started in our branches in Barrow and Grange-over-Sands. He now uses his vast experience and desk position alongside our underwriting team to help brokers handle complex cases quickly and cheerfully.

I was born and bred in the shadow of Furness Building Society in one of our old buildings on Parade Street. So when I joined the Society aged just 24, I was already familiar with the brand and company.

Perhaps it was this familiarity that aided my first foray into the world of financial services. I began working on the customer enquiries desk at our Barrow branch having left behind a management job in the leisure sector. I found I had a knack for dealing with people and helping them solve problems and that’s something that has served me well throughout my 14-year stint here at Furness.

I’ve taken a number of roles in that time, from team leader in our Grange-over-Sands branch to manager at our Ulverston branch. I was also part of a two-year project that saw us carry out a business-wide system upgrade. But it was getting my Certificate in Mortgage Advice and Practice (CeMAP) and becoming a mortgage advisor that put me on the pathway towards my current position.

Being there for brokers

In 2016 I joined the broker side of the Society in our newly formed Furness for Intermediaries department and I have remained here ever since. It’s the longest I have remained within one team at Furness and it’s a mark of how much I enjoy working with brokers.

I’ve seen a great deal of change within the intermediaries market in the last six years. There has been a fair amount of challenge and obstacles for brokers to navigate in this time. I think we’re all prepared for this to be the way of things as events across the world continue to impact our daily lives.

But despite the tough and testing climate, I know I can have very frank and honest conversations with brokers and this is something I really enjoy. There is a mutual understanding that both sides simply want to do the right thing by the customer and source a mortgage solution that suits their needs.

Working alongside our underwriting team

There is a lot of variety in my role which I love. I deal with brokers representing a broad range of applicants from some wonderfully diverse backgrounds, from Scotland to the south coast. However, there is a general theme tying all of the cases together and that is complexity around income.

At Furness, our flexible and bespoke approach to underwriting means that we can consider those with multiple or complex income streams - and this sets us apart from other lenders. Customers are assessed on individual merit by a real person so their overall financial situation can be taken into account.

As a telephone BDM, I also sit alongside our underwriting team and this is a key advantage for brokers with particularly complex cases. I’m able to quickly run the details by an underwriter for an initial appraisal as to whether this might be a customer we can support. This means cases are dealt with quickly and efficiently and I don’t waste a broker’s time.

Service with a smile

It’s probably because I enjoy my job so much that I don’t feel the need to do a great deal in my personal life! When I’m not running around after my kids or supporting Barrow AFC (and Manchester United - but don’t tell anyone!) I’m quite the social hermit.

My partner and I enjoy music so now that life has opened up again we have a few festivals and gigs on the wish list. I might get around to them one day soon but I’m generally very content with both my personal and professional life and feel extremely grateful for it.

Stephen Calvert is Business Development Manager for the North and Scotland at Furness Building Society.

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