2016 Wrap up - Sam White Interview

2016 saw yet another big year for Loan Market and the mortgage broking industry. In an interview with Chairman Sam White, he summarised the highs and lows of the last twelve months - this is what he had to say…

What were some achievements with referral partners in 2016?

The biggest thing that happened this year was the strong progress we made in responding to the referrers’ request for transparency in what we do with their leads. We wanted to make sure they knew what was happening every step of the way, which is why we developed and have continued to improve our lead management app Connect.

Something that has always made us very proud is our Net Promoter Score (NPS - a measurement of customer satisfaction). We have a collective focus on this and I am pleased to say that it has increased to 89 at the end of the year, further reflecting Loan Market Franchisee’s high level of integrity with customers.

This year, we expanded our broker’s referral partner base and have understood for a long time our franchisee’s relevance in helping customers to make informed decisions, which in turn has given them more confidence in making transactions. This year in particular, we’ve helped do that with other referral sources, namely those in accounting and financial planning.

We’ve seen the benefit of expanding our lender panel this year - Loan Market has one of the broadest lending panels from any mortgage broking group. We saw the importance that this year brought to changes in bank regulations. Having an extended lender panel means there are more choices for customers, and importantly, more solutions, particularly in an environment where lenders have been constantly changing criteria in response to APRA requirements .

With robo-advice on the rise, is there a potential threat for brokers?

Like all businesses, we’re not immune to changes in our industry. We’re aware of the way technology is progressing and changing the way consumers engage and buy goods and services. We see our role as not to resist this progression but rather to adapt to it, making sure our customers are getting the best possible advice.

Our vision is that robo-advice won't replace quality brokers, but rather the brokers who use great technology will replace those who don’t.

We’ve made significant investments this year to make sure our brokers will have the technology available to them and look forward to rolling out this platform in the second half of 2017.

What were some challenges the business faced this year?

Without a doubt the biggest challenge our brokers faced was keeping up to date and guiding customers through a multitude of changes to lending criteria from all the different lenders, as a result of APRA becoming more involved in looking at our lenders’ policies. The result has been that some customers who previously would have easily qualified with a particular lender were getting declined with that same lender but welcomed by another. People’s ability to buy homes may be based on the work a broker did with that customer. Its meant more work for brokers but it has also meant that having them involved early on in a client's decision to buy has been more important than ever.

Our relationship with Ray White

One of the greatest highlights of 2016 was the LINK programme, where we generated over 8,000 leads in two months as a group, across Australia and New Zealand.

What’s more important, is we brought a strong focus to our mortgage brokers about the value of appraisals to their agents and started our process of measuring how well we can generate referrals back to real estate offices. Over the next 12 months we’ll be working with our brokers to find ways to help identify more appraisals for the Ray White group and our other real estate partners

We’ve seen a growing number of Ray White offices looking to introduce customer centres where clients who come through ‘open-for-inspections’ are able to use our broker services. We’ve seen Loan Market playing an integral in helping our joint customers buy and sell with confidence.

What are your tips for a successful 2017?

  • Get on Connect - talk to your broker about the benefits.
  • Discuss your plan with a broker to review what’s working/what’s not.
  • Everyone deserves to have a trusted relationship with a broker. If you’re not happy with yours, talk to us so we can ensure you are.

Thank you to all our referral partners for their work and support, it’s been a record year!