Personal Perspectives: Caroline Bacha
Caroline is an Account Manager in Montreal. She shares her experiences from the past few weeks, how she’s supporting brokers in responding to their clients and why constant communication is so important.
What have the past few weeks been like for you?
CB: As changes were happening early on, I was working really closely with both underwriters and brokers. Underwriters had to adjust the way they were processing and thinking. And brokers were concerned whether existing files would still fund if a client lost his or her job. I made sure that I understood the changes thoroughly so I could explain them to brokers clearly.
What are you hearing most from brokers? How are they feeling?
CB: At the beginning, there was a lot of uncertainty about how to respond to clients. I received a lot of customer service related questions. Customer service was inundated, so response times were longer than usual. I have a contact here that is a manager of customer service. He is amazing and incredibly responsive. Every time I send him an email, he responds within the hour. I created a template with all the responses that I received from him in the first few weeks. Any time a broker asked me a question, I had the answer and could quickly respond via email. Brokers really appreciated the quick response and the support in reassuring their clients.
How have you been responding to brokers?
CB: I’ve been reaching out to brokers proactively. We start every conversation catching up personally about family. When we start talking business, I share any pertinent updates or developments. I am also trying to focus on solutions. For example, if clients can’t access a letter of employment, they can proceed with their files as long as they provide their 2018/2019 T4 and two pay stubs. For clients inquiring about payment deferrals, I suggest using the deferred payment option within the five-year term. That option will help clients get back on track with amortization and pay less interest on their principal.
What are you doing personally, in your role, to help brokers stay relevant and resonate during this crisis?
CB: Constant communication is really important. Any time I get an update from upper management, I create my own template right away so I can inform my brokers immediately. It’s critical for me to stay on top of the changes as they happen, so my brokers always know what’s going on.
Any final thoughts?
CB: We are there for our brokers. The 18 underwriters in our office are working really hard to get deals done. And we are being transparent with how we are adapting. Brokers accept that and understand it. Working with First National during these exceptional times, they are really experiencing the true meaning of value beyond rate.