Big thank you from

Jenny Munro talks to Amanda McCreery

Amanda McCreeryAMANDA McCreery, 29, from Lisburn is a Regulated Mortgage Adviser for the Northern Bank branch in Bow Street.

She studied psychology at Queen's University but when she graduated had no idea what career path she should take and worked in retail before taking up a job with the bank in 2001.

I wake at 7am and get ready before having breakfast. As I live in Lisburn it doesn't take me long to reach the office. Mornings are spent checking e-mails and preparing for the day as well as Team meetings within the Branch. These incorporate sharing best practices as well as in-house training and development.

When mortgages are the products in question I would usually facilitate the meetings along with two other colleagues who deal with mortgages.

As mortgages are heavily regulated by the Financial Services Authority, only regulated advisers at the Bank are authorised to discuss them in detail with customers. Other members of staff are more than capable of handling general queries though.

I normally take my first customer interview of the day at around 10am. It will last approximately one and a half hours. Discussions in the interview revolve around compliance and regulatory issues followed by detailed examinations of the customer's situation such as income and expenditure. I then go through all the relevant mortgage products and, based on the customer's circumstances, I recommend the best Northern Bank product to suit their needs.

The bank prides itself on being able to offer our customers advice on what is potentially the biggest purchase of their lifetime. The interview would then go on to discuss all the insurances that are relevant when someone has a mortgage such as life and critical Illness cover as well as accident, sickness and unemployment cover and home insurance.

Post Interview activities include collating all the information together and creating an application from which a decision to lend can be made. This decision is based on a number of factors and is made either by myself or by the bank's credit department in Belfast. depending on the amount being requested.

Once an application has been approved and all relevant documentation has been signed, the file is then sent to our Mortgage Processing Unit in Belfast who prepare the pack to send to the solicitors instructing them to get security in place. I usually take my lunch break at 12 noon and when I come back I'll prepare for the next appointment of the day which is usually at 2pm.

Between 1pm and 2pm I go through my e-mails and contact customers who I have missed during the morning interview. I will also use this time to check up on the progress of existing applications, through the customers' solicitors/estate agents.

From 4pm to home time I catch up on pending paperwork and make calls for appointments scheduled later in the week. I gather basic information from the customer so I can reduce the amount of time that they need to take out of their day to see me.

Any free time is spent teleconsulting - this involves contacting customers to tell them of the range of new mortgage products available at the bank. Since our acquisition by Danske Bank last year there have been vast improvements made to the service that we can now offer to our customers across the board. I leave work any time from 5pm - 5.30pm and go home and have dinner. I like to walk in the lighter evenings and in my spare time I enjoy going to the Mourne Mountains.

Spending time with my friends and family is very important to me too. Before going to bed I might relax with a crime novel.

My day goes by very quickly but 1 do get a lot of satisfaction from helping someone purchase their ideal home and helping the customer find the right mortgage for them.

Ulster Star