Senior Business Development Manager – South East & London
Senior Business Development Manager
Maria’s tenacity shined through as we made a start on her interview. Before any words had the chance to be spoken, Maria greeted her interviewer with a healthy splattering of coughs and sneezes.
But, despite an offer to postpone until her health returned, Maria was adamant she’d push through it. What a trooper.
And more than that, what an amazing worker. It’ll be clear to anyone who has the pleasure of working with Maria, that she brings warmth, experience, and humour to any situation.
There are few personalities like Maria’s at MFS. As such, we thought we’d share her uniqueness with you.
“I’m always there for my clients, all the time, day and night.”
Interview with Maria Magnussen, MFS’ BDM for South East & London
“Well where do I start?” Maria mused, with a sense of both dread and humility, when asked about how she got into the industry. “Basically, I was good with people and good at figures. I got a job as a mortgage broker in 1988 and stayed a mortgage broker until 2012, when of course the mortgage market had crashed and died.”
Dramatic, albeit – accurate. After the crash, Maria was head hunted into the BDM world. A career path she was primed for, due to one key skill she’d been honing for years. “I’ve got a big gob on me, and I always fancied the BDM role, which I’ve been doing now for 11 years.”
Maria said we could edit out her big gob comment if we wanted to. We chose not to. Her ability to laugh at herself is what makes Maria a joy to work with. Although, we did push this to its limit.
With her career starting in 1988, the interviewer couldn’t help but point out that they weren’t born until 1991. The only part of her response that would be permissible here was: “that really doesn’t help me today.”
What do you enjoy about the specialist finance market?
But back to business. We asked Maria what she liked most about the specialist lending market. “What do I like? The challenges. The daily challenges we face and the creative solutions we can offer.”
We asked Maria if she had any fortune solutions that came to mind, but this was too much of an ask – given the sheer volume. While she may have struggled to narrow the choices down, we’re plenty proud of some of the recent deals she’s helped see through to completion. A few highlights include working with our BTL underwriters to create a unique repayment plan and boost a client’s affordability, exploring a foreign national’s wider circumstances to get a deal over the line, and chasing down valuers to make sure funding was delivered in time for an auction.
All this can be categorised into one crucial feature Maria provides for her clients. “Availability. I’m always there for my clients, all the time, day and night. A lot of the guys I deal with have known me personally for years you know, because I’ve been in the industry so long. You’ve got to be proactive, as well as reactive.”
We thought we’d resist the urge to comment on Maria’s length of service this time.
What about your specific USPs?
When we asked Maria about her personal USP, she came back with another question. “Can I say being female in a male dominated market?” Of course, she could.
We then asked her what she thought allowed her to be so successful in such a male dominated field. Maria’s response couldn’t have been more humble. “It’s just because I’m remembered.”
Jokes aside, Maria pointed out that when you’re at one of our industry events, most of the people in attendance are men. “A female in this industry stands out more, not that we’re any better or worse, but I think we’re more memorable. Also, because of my previous knowledge, people can talk to me on their level. I understand what it’s like to be a broker.”
In what may have been a very tactical career move, Maria noted the wider industry could learn a thing or two by following MFS’ example. “You know what, MFS is one of the only finance companies that has a healthy ratio of females to males. In the early early days, having a female mortgage broker, or having a female BDM was virtually unheard of. If you look at the bridging industry or the specialist industry, there are a few of us now, but I would guess we’re still in the minority, apart from at MFS.”
What do you do outside the bridging world to switch off?
Maria tends to be all business, even when bantering. So, we wanted to focus a bit more on who she is outside the specialist finance world. Unfortunately, we had to reject her offer to “fluff that bit up”. We simply didn’t need to. She has plenty in her life to keep her level-headed in the crazy world of bespoke lending.
“I’ve got a dog, so every morning I take him out at 6:30 for an hour. So that’s my ‘get my brain working’ time.
“Outside of that, I really enjoy socialising with my friends, and my partner. I live in the countryside so I like nice walks along the river, pub lunches, all that kind of stuff.”
As we wrapped things up, Maria only requested that we do what we could to make her comments look “fabulous”, and make her profile “a bit more funny”. This, she argued, would make it more recognisable for her brokers.
The truth is, we didn’t need to do anything to achieve this. Evidently, Maria’s fabulousness and charm naturally comes through in spades.
If you want to work with a BDM who will be there for you, day and night, with a joke and a smile, reach out to Maria directly. Hopefully, she’ll be over her cold by the time you call!