This week, Specialist Lending Solutions meets Roger Churaman, Head of Business Development at Paragon Bank.
What locations and how many advisors and brokerage firms do you cover in your role?
I am based in North London and will mainly cover this area and the surrounding Home Counties.
How have you changed the way you build and maintain a good relationship with brokers during the pandemic?
The pandemic has forced me to develop relationships through different means in terms of interactions with brokers. The “new post-pandemic world” will see me interacting through face-to-face and phone visits as usual, but will also see increased use of media technology, like Teams and Zoom, to improve message delivery .
What personal talent/skill is most valuable to do your job?
Time management plays a big role; Balancing the number of broker visits I make, while having enough time to respond to phone and email inquiries continues to be key.
What personal talent/skill would you most like to improve?
Professionally – the ability to keep track of every conversation I have with a broker so I can help instantly when a broker starts a call with “Remember that case we were talking about….”.
Personally – the ability to hit a 300-yard drive down the middle of the fairway every time…or even once.
Where would you rather be stuck, in bumper-to-bumper traffic or back-to-back Zoom calls?
Consecutive Zoom calls all day. At least you interact and deal with business; and when it’s over, you’re home and free to pursue your personal life rather than on a highway miles from home.
What’s the best career-related advice you’ve ever received?
Do the right thing, even when no one is watching. It is the definition of integrity and covers everything.
What is the most original/unique real estate transaction you have been involved in?
I remember working in commercial banking as an account manager where I had to review existing loans on the portfolio. I had to have difficult conversations with a borrower who decided to convert our commercial security into a residence without a building permit. He ran out of funds and we were left with zero value, no planning, no rental income to support the debt. The client ended up in court and served time for storming out to the judge.
What was the biggest lesson you learned during the pandemic?
Besides the importance of a great broadband connection, the value of face-to-face interactions cannot be replaced by any IT. Spending less time with loved ones was a painful challenge.
What was the first social event you attended after the restrictions eased?
My golf club seemed to benefit the most once we got to play, even though my handicap didn’t improve.
What was your motivation for choosing business development as a career?
Like many, I fell into my first sales role and immediately fell in love with the varied interaction with many different people from many different backgrounds. Being tied to a desk all day fills me with dread.
If you could do any other job in the real estate industry, what would it be and why?
Perhaps an architect for the rich and famous – this will allow me to design fabulous properties in a hot exotic location.
What did you want to grow?
I’ve always been good at math and I remember my parents saying that accounting was a good path. As I still feel like I haven’t grown up yet, I still have the ambition to live the lifestyle of a professional sportsman to be honest.
If you had a super power, what would it be?
I guess it would be time travel – to go back and meet the people I didn’t have much time with; and moving forward to see what will become of my family and friends when I am long gone.
And finally, what is the weirdest question you have ever been asked?
Besides the questions here, I remember once during a job interview a few years ago, the interviewer ending the interview with one of these analytical mind game questions. “There is a 15 foot high brick wall. You have to go to the other side, how do you get there? I just thought it was one of those sales people trying to be too smart.