BDM in the Spotlight: Ash Fernando, Suncorp Bank

Quality input strengthens small business submissions, he says

BDM in the Spotlight: Ash Fernando, Suncorp Bank

BDM in the Spotlight and State Manager in the Spotlight are a regular series, giving brokers insight into the lives of some of the country’s leading relationship managers.

MPA spoke to Suncorp Bank business development manager, small business and commercial Ash Fernando about how he supports brokers, the value of putting care and attention into small business submissions, and what brokers should expect from a BDM and lender relationship.

For Fernando, the banking and finance industry has been a long-term career choice, having provided opportunities to work in retail banking, operations, credit, aggregation and broking.

As a business development manager for small business and commercial, Fernando advises brokers not to  underestimate the value of supporting data and their own notes when putting together a small business submission.

“Be sure to give your submission care and attention, as it will help you get a faster time to ‘yes’,” he said.

Name: Ash Fernando
Title: Business development manager, small business and commercial, Suncorp Bank
Years in the industry:  14 years
Company: Suncorp Bank
Location: NSW

Briefly describe your role and how you support brokers

As a small business and commercial BDM, my focus is on making is easier for brokers to do business with us.

I look after brokers and support them with small business and commercial lending up to the value of $5 million.

I also help residential brokers to diversify their business and enter the small business space.

A goal that you aim to achieve in your role over the next year?

This year, I’m focusing on the education I deliver to my brokers. I want to understand what matters to them and equip them with practical skills.

That might be how to be more proactive and identify potential in their existing client base, or how to identify the needs of a small business and build a submission.

I want to give brokers the confidence, ability, and knowledge to see more opportunities through to fruition.

What’s your favourite part of the job?

My favourite aspect of the role is meeting and speaking with people.

For me, it’s more than transactional: I really enjoy getting to know a broker’s business and understanding their story.

I have maintained many relationships from when I worked in aggregation – even though the conversation is now different, the personal connection endures.

What sets successful brokers apart?

From a customer perspective, credit knowledge and experience are important, as is the ability to build strong relationships and deliver in a timely fashion.

However, to grow a successful business, brokers also need a broader skillset to scale up their business, diversify their offering and promote it to their clients.

Successful brokers are tremendous entrepreneurs.

Something you’d like brokers you work with to know?

There is a real skill in conveying the value of your transaction and mitigating the risks.

When putting together a small business submission, along with the right data, the broker’s notes play a key role. 

Be sure to give your submission care and attention, as it will help you to get a faster time to ‘yes’.

What should brokers be demanding from a BDM and lender relationship?

A BDM should demonstrate that they are invested in the deal and give the broker a sense that they are ‘on their side’.

Those are the elements that build trust and make it easy for brokers to work with them.

That might be in the early stages of workshopping a scenario, or later in the process through assessment and settlement.

Brokers should feel that their BDM is as invested in them as they are in achieving a positive outcome for their clients.

Describe your ideal weekend

Due to the pace of my role during the week, my ideal weekend is a quiet one spent with the family.

My partner and I have four kids aged 7, 5, 3 and eight weeks, and an 8-year-old cocker spaniel that adds to hustle and bustle of the household.

I enjoy cooking and try to make most meals each week – that’s how I unwind and switch off after work.

In other Suncorp Bank news, its home lending portfolio continued to grow with a 9.1% increase in FY23 while the bank’s business lending lifted 5.9%. The results were announced as part of Suncorp Group’s overall FY23 results on August 11.

Suncorp Bank has also been working hard to win over brokers, improving its performance in a range of areas including turnaround times and communication, after listening carefully to broker feedback.

BDM in the Spotlight features a range of relationship managers and BDMs within the mortgage and finance industry.  Among those recently featured are Commonwealth Bank relationship manager third party banking Jessica Matthews and Moula business development managers Steven Grasion and Sam Brant.