Ciarán Leddy is Business Development Manager for EBS based in Dublin. In an interview with IIBN Ciarán tells us that EBS provide mortgages for first time buyers, movers, clients looking to switch providers to either save on rate or get the cash back offer, holiday homes or Irish expats looking to buy property in Ireland. Our cashback offer provides 2% of the mortgage amount following initial drawdown plus a further 1% after 5 years.

You can visit the EBS website here

What are your main priorities and goals in your role?

Business Development. My role is very much relationship driven. People buy people as we all know. I get referrals from existing clients but also professionals in many different industries. I also look to generate business by way of presentations to staff in companies. Of course, as a follow on to this but equally as important is providing a quality service to clients once we start working on an application together. Time is a key factor in this i.e. the length of time it takes to get an approval but more than that, clients want to be kept informed of what is happening throughout the process and this is something I endeavour to do.

What are your biggest challenges?

At Present Covid-19 is posing challenges with regard to being able to meet Face to Face. However, I think we are all adapting to this by using video calls on a much more regular basis.

Secondly, the challenge of credit restrictions will always be a factor in seeking to get mortgage approval for clients but this is a part of the job and something that I continuously strive to work with and adapt to.

How has your business strategy been adapted in the context of the Covid-19 crisis?

As previously mentioned, I have had to adapt the way in which I might otherwise promote the business. Not being able to meet face to face or present to larger groups is far from ideal but using the available technology such as the various online meeting platforms (Zoom, Team, GotoMeeting and Skype) is a must in the current climate.

What are the challenges facing your industry going forward?

The ongoing shortage of supply in the property market has far reaching consequences. The estimated required number of units is 30,000 per year with some sources putting this figure as high as 50,000. This shortage of supply greatly impacts the number of mortgage drawdowns in any given year. Of course, Covid-19 is also having an impact with (according to Banking & Payments Federation of Ireland (BPFI)) the level of approvals from August 2019 to August 2020 down 11%. However, we are seeing signs of improvement with the month on month growth from July of 2020 to August 2020 being 14.1%.

What new trends are emerging in your industry?

There has been an increase in the number of first-time buyer applications and a reduction in all other sectors i.e. movers, switchers and mortgage top ups. Again, according to the BPFI the value of FTB mortgage approvals increased by 11.2% year-on-year to €556million, while the value of mover purchase approvals decreased by 13.6% year-on-year to €267million. RIL mortgage approval values decreased by 44.9% year-on-year to €11million. Re-mortgage/switching approval values fell by 14.0% year-on-year to €97 million while the value of top-up approvals fell by 43.8% year-on-year to €15million. 

Are there any major changes you would like to see in your sector?

The industry has gone through a period of change in the last number of years with the introduction of the Loan to income (LTI) and Loan to value (LTV) restrictions in 2015. These restrictions are reviewed annually but as of today the Central Bank of Ireland (CBOI) have seen fit to maintain these restrictions as is. Other European countries have also introduced similar mortgage measures in an attempt to safeguard their financial systems.

Are you finding any skills gaps in the market?

Many Irish banks are not in a position to talk to Irish expats as they will not provide a “foreign currency” loan. EBS are quite happy to talk to Irish people earning in a foreign currency who may be looking for a holiday home in Ireland or a home to return home to.

How will Brexit affect you, or have you started to feel the effects already?

Being that I am based in Dublin & working in the mortgage industry I try to look at the positives for Ireland coming out of Brexit.  We have already seen companies relocating their European headquarters to Dublin, which will hopefully bring with it more jobs and more opportunity to business.

How do you define success and what drives you to succeed?

Customer satisfaction. When I am working on an application for a customer. I am always willing to give 120% to get an approval. I always try to put myself in the customer’s shoes and realise how important it is to them to get an approval. It allows customers to continue to realise their ambition of owning a property or maybe even that one particular property

What’s the best advice you’ve been given, or would give, in business?

Two things –

  1. From a business development point of view, it’s important to be constantly having conversations with people to promote the offering. Sometimes this means setting up an appointment / meeting to present. Getting the meeting is half the battle so focusing this is just as important as knowing what you are going to say when you do.
  2. Be true to yourself – too often people set themselves up for failure by trying to portray themselves as something they are not in order to get a new role but ultimately, they get found out. Try to find something that you enjoy doing because more often than not, if you enjoy it you are probably good at it too.

What have been your highlights in business over the past year?

The most recent highlight has certainly been joining the team at EBS. I am currently in week 6 as I write this and I am finding that working closely with a dedicated team who are looking to promote and do business just as much as I am is fantastic.

What opportunities or plans for growth do you see in 2020/21?

I think we will continue to see growth in the mortgage market in to 2021. As previously mentioned, at present one of the big constraints on the market is supply with estimates of what is required being anything from 30,000 units to 50,000 units per year.

Where do you want your business/brand to be this time next year?

This time next year (if not sooner) I would like my brand to be one who is known for providing top quality service for clients looking to get mortgage approval. I would hope that should an Irish person living outside of Ireland be considering buying a property here to either return to Ireland to live in or as a holiday home, my name and EBS is at the top of their list.

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