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The big four on crucial topics such as turnaround times, remuneration and the future of mortgage broking

SME LENDING The opportunities for brokers continue to grow

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AMA WINNERS 2019 See the winners of the industry event of the year

BROKER TECHNOLOGY Digital tools are becoming more important

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Got a story or suggestion, or just want to find out some more information? ProfessionalAU

UPFRONT 02 Editorial

A busy month and exciting ideas

04 Statistics


Small businesses continue to struggle with finance

06 Head to head

Brokers discuss the balance of tech and face-to-face


08 News analysis

Six lenders look at the small business lending landscape

10 Opinion


Is the dream of owning your own home untenable? The changing market of property investors



Find out what the four big banks had to say in a recent live-streamed panel discussion


ARIS ALLEGOS Small business has always been at the forefront for Moula CEO Aris Allegos. Find out more about his journey to co-founding the fintech





How are digital platforms changing the way you do business?



Find out who were the top brokers in each category at the 2019 Australian Mortgage Awards

MPAMAGAZINE.COM.AU NOW ONLINE: Our daily newsletter. Keep on top of property market trends, business strategy, and what industry leaders have to say.

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Building networks


t has been a very busy month, but what an incredible month too! First of all, it was amazing to celebrate at the Australian Mortgage Awards with all of you who attended. Congratulations to the winners, the finalists and everyone who worked behind the scenes to make the evening a great success. I also held my first panel discussion with the major banks after it was postponed from the start of the year. If you didn’t watch it online, you can read all about the discussion we had in the pages of this magazine – or you can go online now and watch it back! Nearing the end of the year there are more and more events to attend, providing a nice opportunity for me to speak to those in the industry without the pressure of me hounding them for answers or reminding them to send me photos. It is also great to see events being grown from the ground up to support and encourage new or young entrants. I was recently invited to the launch of CAFBA’s Commercial Lenders Young Professionals, a networking group for the under-40s working in the commercial finance space.

It is also great to see events being grown from the ground up to support and encourage new or young entrants The idea came about after two young commercial brokers approached the board at CAFBA and asked what could be done to support the demographic. The board ran with it and arranged events across Australia where these young professionals could come together and build a network of support. It was only going to be a small group for the launch: a number of under-40s with a few “under-40s at heart” thrown in while they gauged interest and kicked off the idea for the first time. The response was incredible. They had already moved their reserved space once to accommodate the number of people who had RSVPd, but even the new space was full to the brim with people. It was a really exciting launch to be part of and a clear sign of the need for these events across the industry. I hope they continue to see the same – if not better – success moving forward, and I encourage all of you brokers to find out more about networking events happening in your area. That network of support is so important.



Editor Rebecca Pike

National Sales Manager Claire Tan

Journalists Abel Riototar

Global Head of Communications Lisa Narroway

Contributor Andrew Bartolo Production Editor Moira Daniels

ART & PRODUCTION Designer Cess Rodriguez Traffic Coordinator Freya Demegilio

CORPORATE Chief Executive Officer Mike Shipley Chief Operating Officer George Walmsley Managing Director Justin Kennedy Chief Information Officer Colin Chan Human Resources Manager Julia Bookallil


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Copyright is reserved throughout. No part of this publication can be reproduced in whole or part without the express permission of the editor. Contributions are invited, but copies of work should be kept, as the magazine can accept no responsibility for loss.


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DON’T JUST TAKE OUR WORD FOR IT... The focus of the JBM Finance business model is to improve the client’s experience obtaining finance by developing the application process to remove all pain points, thus making it more convenient and enjoyable for the client. Since establishing my business in 2014, it has been a priority for me to be at the forefront of technology. The recent implementation of SFGconnect has revolutionised my business in so many ways – and the seamless, interactive customer experience is just the beginning.

AS A “ONE MAN BAND” OPERATION, THE ABILITY TO AUTOMATE ESSENTIAL TASKS WITHIN SFGCONNECT HAS ENABLED MY BUSINESS TO FUNCTION ON A LEVEL THAT MAY HAVE ORDINARILY REQUIRED AN ASSISTANT. This powerful software has facilitated and supported strong business growth whilst keeping costs to a minimum. The benefits and improvements SFGconnect, and the integrated services within the platform, have brought to my business are evident. Setting up new clients and loan applications is quick and easy, whilst compliance is thorough and detailed. SFGconnect allows my business to handle increased volumes and simultaneously comply with all responsible lending obligations. Above all, customers have been so appreciative of the interactive features that have enabled them to work through their part of the application in their own time. More time for in-person interviews and phone calls allows me to discuss important matters with my customers, such as financial goals and products preferecnes, or providing education and advice. SFGconnect is, without a doubt, the software platform that provides my business with an unfair advantage over my competitors. It has simply changed the game.

Jonathon Bowker Prinicipal Finance Broker

1300 303 382 Australian Credit Licence No. 387025

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The state of SME lending Demand for SME loans has been down for five years, but bank approval of loans is growing WHILE 9 MILLION Australians have dreamed of starting their own business, 60% cite access to money as the reason holding them back, according to a new report from the Australian Banking Association (ABA). Its SME Lending in Australia report provides analysis on the current trends in small business lending and helps spur more discussion on what the banking industry can do to make it easier for SME owners to access finance. Based on the research, nearly two-thirds of all small businesses in Australia are sole traders


Australians dream of starting their own business

Since 2014, demand or applications for SME loans have seen a 33% decline; however, over the last 18 months, the rate at which banks approve small business loan applications has improved by around 94%. This results in trends in loan approvals tracking in line with changes in loan applications.

and around one-third employ less than 20 staff. Many small businesses also wait until the last minute to access credit, with nearly 1 in 3 SME owners doing so to ensure the survival of their business. ABA CEO Anna Bligh said small businesses are “the engine room of the Australian economy”, accounting for over 40% of all jobs or around 4.7m people. “Lending to small businesses is essential for the growth and ongoing success of the Australian economy,” she said.


Cite “access to money” as the reason holding them back


Interested in entering the food and hospitality business


Businesses with zero employees

Source: Aussie: Cutting Through the Home Loan Crap report


In 2017-18, only 12% of businesses with less than five employees and 20% with five to 19 employees sought finance; the majority were successful. Business finance sought by type, status and employment size



34% Sought business finance

20-199 employees

23% Sought business finance


Over half of sole businesses operating in June 2014 were no longer operating in June 2018, a survival rate of merely 60%. Larger businesses have higher survival rates. Businesses operating in June 2014 up until June 2018 based on employment size







20% Sought business finance



12% Sought business finance

Small businesses are less likely to approach banks for finance compared to large businesses Source: SME Lending in Australia: Australian Banking Association Economic Report


2014: 1,273,769 2018: 758,922


survival rate

2014: 571,206 2018: 395,953


survival rate



2014: 199,965 2018: 155,270


survival rate Source: SME Lending in Australia: Australian Banking Association Economic Report (original source is ABS, Counts of Australian businesses, including entries and exits June 2014 to June 2018)

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There has been a

33% drop in loan applications

ABA surveyed banks: Small business loan trends, <$2m (index, %)

since 2014

Banks have approved


of small business loans

Index, 2014 = 100
















79 Jun 13

Jun 14

Jun 15

Loan approvals (LHS)

Jun 16

Jun 17

Loan applications (LHS)

Jun 18

Jun 19

Approval rate (RHS)

Source: SME Lending in Australia: Australian Banking Association Economic Report


Small businesses are less likely to approach banks for finance and more likely to approach finance companies. Businesses that approached banks for finance by employment size 2017-18

JUST A LAST RESORT Many businesses access finance to replace equipment and machinery. Regardless of size, accessing finance is a last resort for many of them. Top reasons businesses with 0-4 staff seek finance, 2017-18 of other 24% Replacement equipment or machinery








Source: SME Lending in Australia: Australian Banking Association Economic Report (original source is ABS, Characteristics of Australian Business 2017-18)

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short-term cash flow or liquidity 40% Maintain

32% Ensure survival of business Source: SME Lending in Australia: Australian Banking Association Economic Report (original source is ABS, Characteristics of Australian Business 2017-18)

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How important is face-toface in the tech age? Human interaction remains the best way to build client trust and relationships for these three brokers

James Hasselle

Director Mortgage Choice Miami, Burleigh Heads and Palm Beach

Stuart Turner

Founder Lending Mate

Being a full-time mentor, I see face-to-face time with my brokers as critical. Face-to-face to me is sitting across the table from someone who’s in a different location. My brokers and I use tech, such as Zoom and Skype, to get face-to-face time but of a nature that offers vast savings of time and commuting. Although there are some brilliant tech platforms that we use to make the “background” work easier, I wouldn’t ever automate my business where my role as a relationship builder ceases to exist. People are meant to be around others.

Technology has simplified the data collection process and allows customers to seamlessly provide data in the initial stages of the loan qualification phase. However, I strongly believe face-to-face interaction is required to properly assess a customer’s financial situation and tailor a solution that suits their needs. Sitting across from them is paramount in establishing trust and building strong, lasting relationships. Face-to-face is even more important in an increasingly complex lending environment. The future points towards further automation of the loan application process but at this stage, human interaction on more complex loan scenarios will deliver greater benefit.

I keep a balance between all things tech and meeting a client face-to-face. I do a lot of prospecting via digital platforms to source opportunities; however, once the client relationship is formed, I always recommend we meet face-to-face for a minimum of one hour. This meeting builds trust and strengthens relationships and ensures my conversion rate in what can be a very stressful and emotional process for the client. Once the client has settled, I then revert to digital technology to provide them with market and lender updates on a monthly basis to ensure repeat business. One must embrace technology as the next generation of purchasers are very tech savvy.

Peter Ellis

Associate partner Findex

TECH FOR PRODUCT ASSESSMENT AND INFO PRESENTATION The primary thing the Looking for a mortgage: Consumer experiences and expectations in getting a home loan report highlighted to Loan Market chairman Sam White is the important role technology will play in how brokers assess the vast range of loan products and how they can present information to customers in a clear and professional manner. White is concerned that an inference could be drawn from comments made in the report that brokers only research a few loan options for clients instead of using the broader panel. He said, “in the future, it may be helpful for the technology systems to show clients more of the research and detail that sits behind these recommendations and how they are aligned to the clients’ stated recommendations”.


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The future of home ownership As reports show growing concerns of housing affordability, fewer Australians see owning a home as important WHILE THE Great Australian Dream of owning a home on a block of land endures for most Australians, that dream is shifting and could soon be replaced by higher density living or longer-term rentals as housing affordability remains a problem. CoreLogic’s 2019 Perception of Housing Affordability report shows that 83% of nonproperty owners are concerned about being able to afford their first or next home. While 81% still believe home ownership is important, this has dropped from 89% in the previous survey in 2017. The proportion of Australians who think they won’t be able to move out of home until they are at least 30 has risen from 20% in 2017 to 34%; and despite lower mortgage rates, the report found that households are dedicating an average of 35% of their gross annual income towards servicing a mortgage. Tim Lawless, CoreLogic research director, said the country was at a stage where it can’t rely on lower house prices to fix housing affordability. “That’s one method that’s recently happened, but we need to be looking at more strategic ways to improve housing affordability through removing some of the costs, like stamp duty,” Lawless said. In fact, almost 80% of respondents said the best way to improve affordability was to reduce or remove stamp duty on the purchase. Baby boomers led the growing opposition to stamp duty, with 87% saying that reducing or


removing stamp duty would improve housing affordability.

Unaffordability could change the market Although the housing affordability crisis has eased somewhat, there are still significant challenges and the negative sentiment begs the question as to how much further it can go. Lawless said there will always be access to housing on some level, but it may be a different type of housing. While most Australians will currently aspire to having a detached home on a block of land which still provides them efficient and conven-

“That’s been very common in markets like America,” he said. “We’re starting to see these discussions becoming much more frequent. “Probably the key to unlocking longer tenure cycles for renters is getting more rental accommodation out of the private sector and into the corporate sector.” With more options to stay in rented accom-

“I still think as people move towards having a family or becoming a more mature age, they will be aspiring for home ownership” Tim Lawless, CoreLogic ient access to work, Australia’s capital cities could provide higher density living to give more options to access the marketplace without buying a detached home or townhouse. Longer-term rental agreements are also becoming the way of the future and Lawless said this opens up the conversation about build to rent, where large corporations or institutions provide housing and rely on the return to make a profit.

modation for longer, it could mean the number of people taking out home loans continues to fall. While figures from the ABS for July 2019 did show a monthly increase in the value of finance to owner occupiers, it is still way below the figures prior to 2017. Lawless said he does not see that having a huge effect on mortgage markets because there will always be an aspiration for home ownership.

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“I still think as people move towards having a family or becoming a more mature age, they will be aspiring for home ownership,” he said. “And hopefully as we see this transformation of rentals and the types of accommodation people might be more willing to purchase, we’ll also see the government fixing some of the inefficiencies that are entering the market.”

showed Australian households are feeling overall worse about their net wealth, jobs, income and living expenses. “The financial comfort of Australian households eased over the past six months, with a significant fall seen in comfort with wealth,” said consulting economist for ME Bank Jeff Oughton. “Despite lower mortgage loan rates,

“Despite the latest monetary policy changes, there remains high levels of housing debt worry and actual payment stress among Australians” Jeff Oughton, ME Bank Australians feeling worse about jobs, income and expenses Another survey earlier in the year backed the suggestion that housing affordability was at crisis levels. ME Bank’s quarterly Property Sentiment Report showed that 88% of Australians in the property market think affordability is a significant issue. The bank also published its 16th Housing Financial Comfort Report in August which

expected cuts in personal income tax and higher local and global equity prices, this is largely a consequence of continued decreases in the value of residential property in many parts of Australia.” Household comfort lessened amongst both homeowners with a mortgage and renters, which Oughton suggested could be attributed to the tightening in the availability of credit, continued housing unaffordability, and high

81% 63% 35%

of Australians believe home ownership is important


of homeowners with a mortgage thought they would see difficulty in meeting repayments if interest rates rose by 2 percentage points

47% 45%

say the greatest barrier to owning a house is the deposit

of Australians who are living with parents say they cannot afford to move out of average Australians’ annual income goes to servicing a mortgage

say the greatest barrier to owning a house is loan approval

housing debt and rental payment stress. In line with CoreLogic’s report, ME Bank found the number of households contributing more than 30% of their disposable income towards paying off a mortgage was around 43%. It also found the corresponding figure for rents had risen to 62%. “It’s evident that despite the latest monetary policy changes, there remains high levels of housing debt worry and actual payment stress among Australians,” Oughton said. Data from Aussie Home Loans is painting a positive picture, however, with increased market activity in September. Settlements for investors refinancing with Aussie are up 20%, first home buyer settlements have grown by 9% and owner occupier purchases have increased by around 4.6%, when compared with the corresponding period last year. Aussie CEO James Symond said, “This spring property season we’re seeing some positive results, most prominently among first home buyers and investors refinancing. “It’s an early indication to us that Australians are starting to feel more confident in the market and are wanting to capitalise on the current conditions.”

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Budding opportunities for investors While investor demand has dropped by historical standards, green shoots are starting to appear as market conditions improve and investment lending restrictions ease, writes Andrew Bartolo LOOKING BACK at the past 12 months, it’s a tale of two halves for investors. On one hand we’ve seen some headwinds in the housing market as a whole: compared to the previous 12 months, home loan demand has dropped 19% among investors which is slightly steeper than the 14% drop experienced overall in the market. However, investors still represent nearly one-third of new lending. Although demand is down historically, things are starting to look up for investors. Narrowing in on this calendar year, ABS data from July shows that investor activity has gradually increased. This is likely an outcome of improving consumer sentiment toward the housing market, spurred by increased affordability and borrowing power in addition to a return to monthly housing growth across some major capitals, and easing of the prudential restrictions on investor lending. Further, as savings rates reach historical lows, some investors may see property as a good vehicle to boost investment returns, albeit in a far more illiquid asset class. These favourable conditions had some experts predicting a resurgence of investors back into the market; however, other forces have been at play subduing this outcome. ME’s latest Quarterly Property Sentiment Report suggests enduring worries and decreasing sense of wealth have probably outweighed some of the election-based policy changes at a sentiment level for investors. While the market conditions are right for investors, there’s some uncertainty among households about jobs, concern over the cost of necessities and general worries about the


economy that may impact their willingness to transact in property.

Slow but steady return of the investor While investor activity has increased of late, it is still below the volumes experienced in prior years. However, we expect investor demand to increase over time. Encouraging signs are that rental vacancy rates are low, the prospect of continuing property price momentum is strong and buyer borrowing power has improved. These conditions combined create the perfect recipe for property investment to continue to be an attractive option. As such, while we don’t expect volumes to return to historical peaks in the near term, we do expect to observe continued growth in investment lending.

the property market, it’s important for brokers to cater their businesses towards this group. Not all investors fit one profile and one of the best things brokers can do is identify future investors among their current owner occupier customers. By understanding their current and future goals you can get a holistic view of their needs and take proactive steps to present options for them to restructure their finances and get them on the investor path sooner. Leveraging data is another key aspect of appealing to investor customers. Using property valuation tools and sophisticated analytics housed within aggregator CRMs, it can give you the insights required to contact customers who could be thinking about purchasing an investment property.

While investor activity has increased of late, it is still below the volumes experienced in prior years The rates, they are a-changin’ Since the easing of regulatory limits on investor lending in 2018 and interest only lending in January 2019, we’ve observed intensified competition to attract this type of borrower, resulting in substantial reductions in interest rates for investors. With yet another RBA cash rate reduction in October, and subdued credit growth, it’s expected interest rates will remain low for both owner occupiers and investors as banks compete for a smaller pool of borrowers.

Attracting investors as a broker With investors representing about one-third of

Lastly, ‘Rentvestors’ are often forgotten about. Investors can also exist in the first home buyer market to offer an alternative entry point for those who may not be able to buy in the suburb they want to live in – an option that might become a bigger consideration with house prices on the move. Andrew Bartolo is general manager, home loans at industry super fund-owned bank ME. With 20 years’ experience Andrew has in-depth knowledge of the housing market and understanding of the diverse needs of borrowers.

Home decis Home to Va Basic trust. cash jointly previo settle will b

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A $2,000 blockbuster bonus for your customers. Home Package Plus home loans now come with a $2,000 cash bonus.^ Talk to your BDM or visit to find out more. ^Apply by 13 December 2019, settle by 5 March 2020. Available for eligible new to bank home lending of $250,000 or more taken with “Home Package Plus” and an LVR of 90% or less. Further T&C’s and eligibility criteria apply.

Home Loans are provided by Suncorp-Metway Ltd Australian Credit Licence 229882 (“Suncorp Bank”), to approved applicants only. Please read the relevant Information Documents before making a decision regarding any Suncorp Bank products. ^The $2,000 cash bonus (the “Cash Bonus”) is applicable when you are approved for and settle an Eligible Home Loan with Suncorp Bank. An Eligible Home Loan is a home loan that is: (1) applied for between 2 September – 13 December 2019 and settled by 5 March 2020; (2) a loan amount of at least $250,000 in new to bank lending with a Loan to Value Ratio of 90% or less; (3) Purchase or Refinance, for Owner Occupied or Investment purposes; (4) a Standard Variable or 1, 2, 3 or 5 Year Fixed Rate loan in the Home Package Plus; (5) Back to Basics & Line of Credit / Access Equity is excluded, except when application is split with another eligible loan product of at least $250,000; (6) not established in the name of a company, business or trust. Refinancing of an existing Suncorp Bank home loan or pre-approvals are ineligible for the Cash Bonus. The Cash Bonus cannot be taken in conjunction with “Switch & Save” Offer or any other cash promotional offer, unless expressly stated otherwise. A limit of one (1) payment of $2,000 will be made to a borrower and if there is more than one borrower, one (1) payment will be made to them jointly. Each borrower, whether individually or jointly, can only ever receive a payment of $2,000 once. If any of the borrowers have received a payment whether individually or jointly under the Cash Bonus previously then no further payments will be made. The $2,000 cash payment will be credited to the linked Everyday Options account which forms part of the Home Package Plus, within 30 days of the SGN-089-11_Suncorp_The-Block_BrokerCreative_210x268mm_FA.indd 1 16/10/19 8:47 am settlement date. Suncorp Bank reserves the right to vary or withdraw the Cash Bonus at any time. Applications subject to credit approval. Fees, and charges may be applicable. Full terms and conditions will be included in our loan offer. Depending on your financial circumstances, you should obtain independent advice before making any decisions regarding the Cash Bonus.

a gni elbigi naoL o t kc ro s s re h t o me h t suno eh t f snoiti

will be included in our loan offer. Depending on your financial circumstances, you should obtain independent advice before making any decisions regarding the Cash Bonus. settlement date. Suncorp Bank reserves the right to vary or withdraw the Cash Bonus at any time. Applications subject to credit approval. Fees, and charges may be applicable. Full terms and conditions 10-11_Opinion_SUBBED.indd 11 24/10/2019 8:48:53 AMam ma 74:8 SGN-089-11_Suncorp_The-Block_BrokerCreative_210x268mm_FA.indd 1 16/10/19 8:47 previously then no further payments will be made. The $2,000 cash payment will be credited to the linked Everyday Options account which forms part of the Home Package Plus, within 30 days of the



ARIS ALLEGOS: THE FIRST OF THE FINTECHS Having created its own platform from scratch to service a growing need in the SME market, Moula was one of the first ‘fintechs’ to change the way lending was done. The co-founder and CEO tells MPA they might be much more mainstream now, but they have to start reinventing themselves

SMALL BUSINESS was something heavily ingrained into Moula co-founder and CEO Aris Allegos. As a second-generation Greek Cypriot, he grew up surrounded by family trying to make a life for themselves in Australia. From his grandparents owning the local milk bar to his aunts and uncles in various industries like toys, giftware and accounting services, he says small business really exemplified his upbringing. After studying law and commerce at university, Allegos joined accounting firm Arthur Anderson and then “rocked up as an Aussie” in London in the early 2000s. He began a career in investment banking, later moving to Hong Kong and returning to Melbourne in 2013 keen to start something of his own. The founding of Moula was “serendipitous”, he says. Allegos met up with


Andrew Watt, whom he had worked with in London, and the two made a commitment that they would try something different. Allegos knew from the outset that he wanted to do something with SMEs and Watt was happy to do that; thus, the idea for Moula was born.

nology, and Allegos points out this was before the term ‘fintech’ was even coined. Allegos and Watt brought in their technology founder Piers Moller from the UK and the three of them began to get a feel for the Australian credit regime and what data sources were available.

“From the leadership team through to the rest of the business we have built a real values-driven culture that speaks to how we lend and underwrite” Growing an idea from the ground up With the premise in mind, the first step was understanding the relevant legal regulation and how to build a mature financial services platform. Then it was focusing on the tech-

Although the bank data was there, Allegos says it was not particularly robust in 2013. So the team decided to build their own platform. It took more than a year, but in mid-2014 Moula finally wrote its first loan.

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PROFILE Name: Aris Allegos Company: Moula Title: Co-founder and CEO Years in the industry: 21 Career highlight: “Making the decision to start Moula. It probably didn’t feel like that at the time, because it was a lot of work with no real visibility to what the end game could look like, but now that I look back with hindsight, and I look at the platform we have developed and the opportunity we have had to service a large number of SMEs, starting Moula without a doubt is the career highlight.” Career lowlight: “Being at the peak of my investment banking career during the GFC, it was really hard seeing the impact it had. A lot of people lost jobs and businesses closed down, it was challenging for everyone.”

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“We ended up with something that was quite unique. The uniqueness to this day is very much about accessing more than just one source of bank data and taking all that information to inform our underwrite and provide a better product for our customers,” he says. Allegos says there were some key milestones along the way which provided validation that their hard work was worth it, such as bringing in partners like Liberty and Xero. Five years on from that first loan, Moula has grown beyond “three founders in the back of a small office in the CBD”, but Allegos still strives to build a culture reflective of the one they had at the start. “We have tried to create a work environment which effectively reflects the founders. After spending 20 years working in big banks, we wanted to create an environment which was a lot more relaxed and solutionfocused,” he says. “From the leadership team through to the rest of the business we have built a real values-driven culture that speaks to how we lend and underwrite. That also comes across when brokers meet with our BDMs and have a conversation with us.”

deliver the right products to their customers using us as a lender. Over the last 24 months we have seen a really positive reception from the broker community.” The broker channel is core to Moula’s strategy, particularly with respect to the portfolio the SME group lends to, Allegos adds. “Because of our ability to go deeper into an underwrite and obtain a better understanding of business performance and serviceability, it means we can service a broader segment of the small business market” he says.

Becoming more mainstream While Moula is still dubbed a ‘fintech’, Allegos says the term suggests something shinier and newer than them. The lender went from being generically referred to as an online lender to small businesses and then to fintech “very quickly”. “The reality is that as a business we are both financial services and we are technology; we can’t hide behind the fact that it does describe the platform relatively accurately,” he laughs. “But what’s happened is that fintech tends to now be attached to the ‘new and shiny

“It’s incumbent on us to continue to challenge ourselves to think of new ways of both servicing our customers and new products to enable them to continue to grow their business” Becoming an established player in the finance industry, it has spent the last few years building its reputation amongst those brokers. “We have never tried to rush the development of our relationship with brokers and broker groups,” Allegos says. “Ultimately it’s about them understanding who we are as a platform and how they can


thing’, whether it’s fintech in payments or in lending or roboadvice and what I will say about fintech in lending is, we’re no longer that new and shiny. If anything, we’re becoming relatively mainstream in the offerings we have.” As more ‘new and shiny’ fintechs come onto the market, however, Moula can’t afford to sit back. Allegos says the challenge for the

INTRODUCING MOULA PAY After research by Moula in mid-2019 showed business-to-business buyers and sellers were being held back by cash flow, the online lender launched Moula Pay. This allows businesses to access up to $250,000 to fund business purchases. These businesses can use the cash for goods and services and get three months credit with no interest, fees or repayments required. After those three months, purchasers have nine months to pay off the amount, plus interest, and can pay off early with no penalties. The businesses being paid the funds will receive them within 24 hours.

team now is to “continue to challenge ourselves to remain at the forefront of the industry”. With the continued growth of the company comes more opportunities to do that, and for Moula this opportunity remains in how it caters to brokers, how it deals with its end customers and the sort of products it offers into the marketplace. “It would be naive to think our product will remain the same, so accordingly we need to roll with the very rapidly changing environment of this marketplace,” Allegos says. “It’s incumbent on us to continue to challenge ourselves to think of new ways of both servicing our customers and new products to enable them to continue to grow their business. In terms of servicing customers, that really comes down to our ability to use our existing platforms in a more efficient, effective, purpose-driven context. That comes back to the data capability and the broker tools that exist and the ability for us to make the broker more effective in their ability to bring us customers.”

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Real Life

Stef and Ivan run a booming cafĂŠ and have a dream of owning their commercial property. But limited finance options have put their grind to a halt. Welcome to real life. Luckily, they had a great broker who knew all about Pepper Money Commercial, which meant their business goal was about to become real.

Call 1800 737 737 Pepper Group Ltd ACN 094 317 665 Australian Credit Licence Number 286655 is the servicer of loans by Pepper Finance Corporation Limited ACN 094 317 647.

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The Real Life Alternative

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Four representatives from the major banks took part in a live-streamed interview to discuss hot industry topics such as claw back, remuneration, turnaround times and the best interestsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; duty


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AFTER POSTPONING the MPA Major Banks Panel earlier this year thanks to the royal commission final report, four of the heads of third party finally gathered together at the Hyatt Regency in Sydney in October. The major banks have not had an easy time of it over the past 18 months. With the royal commission scrutinising their loan approvals, processes, treatment of customers and general greed, NPS scores have dropped and market share has been spreading to other lenders. It was not just customers becoming distrustful of the banks; brokers too were not happy about the lack of support from the majors as well as the policy changes and tightened credit following the royal commission. But now that the royal commission is over and the industry is moving forward, the majors

are here to prove they are still in the brokerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s corner and are working to make things simpler for them. As one of the panellists said, their own credit assessors and internal teams have also had to struggle with changes so the banks are now working towards smoothing all the processes over. The representatives from the majors were Simone Tilley, general manager of retail broker distribution at ANZ, Warren Shaw, head of broker distribution at Westpac, Steve Kane, general manager of broker distribution at NAB, and Adam Croucher, general manager of third party banking at Commonwealth Bank. They provided clear and transparent insights into some of the internal workings of the banks and continued to acknowledge that

they knew how hard it had been over the last year for the industry. They each showed clear willingness to consult with and work with the industry moving forward, particularly in terms of upcoming legislative changes such as the best interestsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; duty and then later, the review into broker remuneration. As well as asking questions prepared by MPA, brokers also sent in their own questions. MPA would like to thank each of the panellists for taking time out of their busy schedules to attend and for answering those questions sent in by brokers. We would also like to thank brokers for taking the time to watch the panel and for being so engaged. If you would like to watch the full session, you can do so at

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Adam Croucher Commonwealth Bank

Simone Tilley ANZ

How have each of you been supporting brokers over the past year? The past 18 months have seen more than a few challenges in the mortgage broking industry and now that it is out the other side of the royal commission the banks are looking at how to address “the new normal”, as ANZ’s general manager of retail broker distribution Simone Tilley put it. Working closely with brokers to “restore equilibrium” has been a key priority for ANZ. Tilley says the bank has made a number of changes to better align the intent of policies and the impact they have. It has also listened to broker feedback and is focusing more on education. “We’re now working towards fortnightly webinars and they’re going incredibly well,” she said. “We’ve had record attendances, so we’ll continue to keep that going. Really for us it’s been about striving to be more reliant and consistent.” Recognising the value mortgage brokers provide to the market and borrowers, general manager of broker distribution Steve Kane said NAB had been “the bank behind the broker”. As well as running educational seminars and digital PD days, Kane made note of NAB’s involvement in the Combined Industry Forum (CIF). “We’re really trying to ensure that the best possible outcomes both for the customer and for the broker are recognised,” he said.


Steve Kane NAB

Warren Shaw Westpac

“It’s important that we recognise that as an industry we’ve achieved an enormous amount that was not really possible had we not had that collaborative approach and I think the bank has played an integral role as would my colleagues here in making sure we did that.” Part of Westpac’s advocation for the industry involved “myth-busting” and spreading what brokers do, how they do it and

seeking out broker support and getting their transaction done,” Shaw said. “We think that’s a really important support mechanism we need to keep playing because we don’t want nonfact-based opinion driving legislative change.” Commonwealth Bank’s general manager of third party banking Adam Croucher said education and training had been the bank’s “key mantra”. With more than 41% of new home loans now originated through brokers, Croucher said the commitment will continue to make brokers’ lives easier and improve customer outcomes. “Whether it be our professional development days or our e-learnings we’re doing around particular topics, we’ll continue to invest in the education and training,” he said. “We see that as a real pillar and a platform for our business to strengthen our relationships with our broker partners.” Croucher also said the bank would be using technology to ensure a streamlined process and that the broker is in the driver’s seat along the entire journey.

“We’re really trying to ensure that the best possible outcomes both for the customer and for the broker are recognised” Steve Kane, NAB the quality of what they do, said head of broker distribution Warren Shaw. “It has been another intense year of focus on the industry and there’s lots of opinions being expressed by people who aren’t necessarily as close to it as we are,” he said. He also pointed to the banks working together in situations like the public hearing for responsible lending guidelines, where they had the opportunity to discuss the broker-originated loans and address the myths of the size and lengths of loans. “Whilst the loan size is a bit higher that’s probably driven by the fact that people with more complex needs have a preference for

In our Brokers on Banks survey this year, brokers said turnaround times were their top priority, but that they had worsened. Why is that and what are you doing to help with this? Brokers have commented over the past two years that turnaround times have been becoming increasingly worse. In MPA’s Brokers on Banks survey this year, 52% of brokers said banks’ turnaround times had worsened in the past 12 months. Shaw said he understood that brokers wanted to provide certainty to their customers as quickly as possible, recognising “brokers have got competition just like banks do”.

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BROKER QUESTION In my experience the branch networks seem to have an easier assessment process than brokers. Are each of you addressing this?


Adam Croucher: I think it’s always going to be tough when you look at our proprietary businesses in that they have their own delegations and requirements for verification of documents. The broker channel does have that middle person to verify with our credit assessment. Warren Shaw: From a responsible lending perspective we’ve got the same risk settings regardless of which channel you come through; they’re not differentiating on policy by channel, but there are some processing differences because of the nature that refers to. There’s a bit of work to do there because the oversight controls we have in place under our responsible lending obligations when dealing with third party aren’t there in first party.

The period of constant legislation change means that brokers have had to deal with different policy approaches from different partners and Shaw admitted they had seen a lengthening in servicing times but they had recently been on top of that. When change does have to happen, Westpac tries to keep brokers ahead of it. “We try to signal change as far ahead of it happening as we can, but sometimes we have some external factors at play that don’t allow us to put the lead time in,” he said. “We do have to get better at that, we have to acknowledge, we need to be more agile about our change management and prepare brokers better for big change that’s going to impact how they work with their customers.” Croucher agreed the complexity of lending had increased over the past 12 months, saying

there was “no doubt” there was more verification for them to meet their NCCP requirements. At Commonwealth, the bank has heavily invested in its end-to-end process and added an extra 60 to 70 credit officers to ensure that as the complexity increased it has been able to upskill people so that as with Westpac, they can get any decisions to brokers as soon as possible. “We have been really focused on being consistent with that and we will continue to put our resources in that avenue to make sure that once again it leads into a good customer outcome,” he said. With almost 60% of mortgages written through mortgage brokers, Kane said, it is only natural there would be increased oversight and scrutiny. At NAB, the bank is spending the time upskilling and training staff and ensuring it has the right technology

Simone Tilley: From an ANZ perspective, we have a channel-agnostic strategy, we always have. From a processing perspective there are points of difference due to the responsible lending obligations, as Warren articulated. Steve Kane: There is only one credit policy in relation to the proprietary channels versus third party introduction. The processing areas, whether they be credit areas or fulfilment, are doing exactly the same functions as they would do for proprietary channels as for broker. The difference is there is another layer of oversight because we haven’t met the customer.

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BROKER QUESTION Will claw back be reassessed to fall in line with net of offset commission provisions?


Warren Shaw: We do pay forward a benefit to a broker for originating a loan that broadly underpins the return we’ll receive on a loan over a period of time. So when that economic benefit is broken there needs to be an understanding of how loss of value gets shared. But I think the notion that the level of work a broker’s now required to do and will be required to do to originate a loan, we do need to have a debate about whether it’s too punitive to expect a broker to wear all of the costs of the claw back when a customer-driven event has been outside their control. We haven’t got any plans at this point in time but certainly the issue needs to be debated properly. Adam Croucher: I’d echo those thoughts. I think there’s quite a bit of water to go under the bridge throughout the consultation period with the draft legislation we’re at at the moment and those guidelines, and we understand there’s a lot of work to be done. To Warren’s point, we’re not tone deaf and we’ll work with the industry to make sure there’s an equitable point.


to provide the best service to brokers and customers. “At the end of the day there’s a customer at the end of every transaction and that customer has to be given priority over everything,” he said. Kane also acknowledged that there has been some cultural change and the banks have asked brokers to do things differently. At NAB they have mandated a number of documents, but he said all this does is give the customers a better outcome, streamlining the process and enabling the bank to answer questions and keep brokers up to date with transactions. “It’s not perfect, it still needs a lot of work,

“So they’re available to contract rework and get that first touch decisioning and we’re really working together in partnership in that regard.”

Treasury is looking at including a best interest duty principle into the NCCP. How do you think this will affect brokers? Brokers had also texted into the live panel asking about the banks’ thoughts on the best interests’ duty and whether best interests was really the same as best price. ASIC published a report at the end of August which said that customers who used a mortgage broker expected them to find the ‘best’ home loan.

“I think for complex transactions and big decisions, people are still going to want to deal with people” Simone Tilley, ANZ but we need to make sure our office is up to scratch as well as helping the brokers understand that the environment has changed, the scrutiny is not going to go away and we need to really make sure we work together to drive a good customer outcome,” he said. Accepting that turnaround times were important to brokers, but conceding that the banks had had a challenging year, Tilley said that ANZ was working to get back to two-to three-day sustainable SLAs. She added that even the assessors had gone through the same industry change and complexity, but that “what gets focus gets results” and this was a huge focus for ANZ. “We’re empowering our assessors to make balanced judgmental decisions as they once did and we’re encouraging them to pick up the phone so they are being customercentric,” she said. Another focus for ANZ was driving qualitative file reviews. “We understand we’re the only one in the market doing that and that’s to assist our brokers from a qualitative perspective,” she added.

The same report then went on to say that one in five consumers felt they could have found a better interest rate, or they were not sure if they had a good interest rate. Kane said brokers already put their customers’ interests first, so bringing in a duty would not mean brokers suddenly changing their behaviour. The one thing the industry does have to ensure, he said, are the operational activities like note-taking and keeping records of the entire transaction. Regarding whether best interest is best price he said there were many facets to a loan. “Right from the fact of getting the approval from a loan, the type of product, the circumstances of the individual borrower,” he said. “It’s about the holistic approach of providing a number of options that will meet the needs of the customer but it’s about recording those needs, understanding those needs and making sure that is looked after as the primary function of the relationship between the customer and the broker.” Tilley agreed that brokers are already

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“We really need to free up time for people to have that quality discussion [with the customer], and the biggest inhibitor to that is the gathering of the paperwork” Mark Hewitt, AFG

putting their customers’ interests first, but that legislation would ensure a single standard across the entire industry. This may mean that brokers who do not prioritise their customers’ interests drop out. “If we see a small fallout at the bottom end where people aren’t prepared to accept the higher standards, that may not be a bad thing for the industry,” Tilley said. “I think the majority of brokers now are already doing it [but] it’s having a unified way about how the information is captured and systematised and evidenced.” Shaw echoed the comments from Kane and Tilley, saying he supported the introduction of the duty because it will provide a more consistent protection for all consumers. “I think we do need the guidance and after the legislation has passed there will be

opportunity to talk through what does meeting my duty look like,” Shaw said. “There’s some concern about meeting the duty because it is a principle-based obligation as it’s currently drafted in law so I’m sure we’ll get the opportunity to work with ASIC on that.” Praising the work of the Combined Industry Forum, Croucher said it was a real testament to the industry coming together to ensure it was in the driver’s seat. He also agreed with Kane’s comments about the loan being made up of a number of facets instead of price and this is where the industry’s input into the legislation is important. “We’ll continue to work during the consultation period and beyond which we’re into now to make sure we have a strong thriving industry which is well protected to give great customer outcomes,” he said.

Brokers have just gained a record market share – what do you think is the future of mortgage broking? The MFAA’s latest Industry Intelligence Service reported that the proportion of home loans written by mortgage brokers reached 59.7% for the period 1 October 2018 to 31 March 2019. Kane said he expects to see the broker’s role continue to expand as the trusted adviser of the customer and that that will expand to a holistic relationship in the types of products and services brokers offer. In this way, the broker’s relationship with the customer will be longer, rather than just single transactions. “From our perspective we’ve got a strong focus on small business, a strong focus on business banking and a strong focus to enable

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BROKER QUESTION Will all lenders be agreeing on a standard format for living expenses?


Adam Croucher: I think we are getting into more of a space of real life living expenses and I think open banking has a part to play. I think there is a lot more work to be done as far as a standardised approach; we’re not there yet but we’re certainly making sure we’re getting that live data to understand where a customer’s position is. Simone Tilley: I think we are all heading down the road of actual. There is value in brokers having clarity around what’s expected of them across all lenders rather than each lender having a bespoke scenario around how they interpret living expenses. It’s on our minds and on our radar around making it simpler so that we’re easy to do business with. Warren Shaw: It’s a more complex landscape, that’s not lost on us. Brokers have got different lenders coming at this stuff in different speeds. Some of that is system-based, some of it is appetite. In terms of expenses themselves statistical models like HEM have a role, and I support the comments that we may move to an individual assessment of the expenses. Steve Kane: The categories or the number of expenses or the way they’re being captured hasn’t been standard and therefore that’s created a lot of additional work. We really do need to focus as an industry on the real expenses of the customer. At the moment we’re redoing our expense calculators and redigitising more of it and [we’re] going to provide an easier pathway to do this.


those brokers to offer more services than just a mortgage,” Kane said. “Education and training, lifting the bar, making sure you’re adopting the new standards and putting into your business best business practices to ensure you’re always delivering to the customer’s needs will really see the broker channel continue to expand.” The growing role of artificial intelligence, robotics and digital disruption will play a huge role in the future with respect to processing, said Tilley, but brokers still have a place. “We all love the need for speed and so do our customers,” she said. “But I think for complex transactions and big decisions I think people are still going to want to deal with people. And this business has been based on an incredible strong relationship model being successful over time.” Shaw was also positive about the future of brokers: “We think the future for brokers is really bright,” he said. The figures from the MFAA and Westpac’s own research shows consumers are confused

by the home loan process and brokers are uniquely placed with independence to provide that “navigation service”. “I think as it becomes more complicated and as you bring in digitisation and AI etc, the broker’s going to have a huge role to play, an increasingly huge role to play,” he said. With increasing flows of broker-originated loans going through to Commonwealth Bank, Croucher also sees a period of growth for the channel, but he also sees a period of consolidation. “Brokers offering the choice and customers having the ability to make that choice is great for the industry and the longevity of the mortgage business in Australia,” he said. “As we get into the industry leading some of the changes, the legislative requirements we’re going to get into, there will be a consolidation period. I think we’ve got nearly 11,000 brokers accredited with us and I see that there will be over the next period a level of consolidation and some growth in businesses as they really arm themselves for the challenges ahead.”

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BROKER QUESTION Instant home loan decisioning: How far are we from it? How long before third party can access it?


Adam Croucher: I think we’re all working as hard as we can to make sure that the end-to-end process of getting a loan is a lot quicker. I think as we stare down with a lot of initiatives coming through the digital space and open banking and CCR reporting, we’re getting the tools now to be in the position down the track. Warren Shaw: I think it’s about consistency and what’s a reasonable time to process a mortgage. It’s a big financial commitment. We’ve got online capability there, but it’s only as good as what gets put in and it has to be verified. There’s not going to be a one-hour mortgage any time soon and nor do I think customers want that. Simone Tilley: I think future state we’ll see change in that regard from a digital disruption viewpoint, with the implementation of robotics particularly for simple transactions. I think you’re talking to four of the largest banks in the country with legacy technical issues and that’s the sort of stuff that does hinder progression, because it’s incredibly complex as we integrate with historical legacy assets.

As we prepare for the review in 2022 on mortgage broker commissions, where do you stand on broker commission and how will you be involved in that review? While the federal election this year provided some relief to mortgage brokers, the coalition has committed to a review in 2022 to look at the impact on changing broker remuneration. Moving forward, brokers are keen to know how the major banks will support them as that review comes into play. Tilley acknowledged the complexity of the past 12 months and wanted to stress how important it was for brokers to have the right economic value in their remuneration model. Joining other banks and industry players in the CIF was one of the ways they were listening to “all the voices around the table” and Tilley herself represents ANZ Retail Broker on the Australian Banking Association. “A tremendous amount of effort has been

invested to make sure we’re doing the right thing for all industry participants, knowing very well that brokers deserve the right and fair economic value for what they do and what they bring to the bank,” she said. Before the review, however, Shaw said it was important to remember the “here and now” and ensure that broker remuneration remains intact ahead of the review. Once the review rolls around, he said the banks will then be ready to provide data on loan sizes and tenure to see what might come of any reform. “An enormous amount of work’s been going on and people in the industry representing brokers are alive to the potential issues with that,” he said. “Brokers should have confidence that they have a strong voice about protecting their income; brokers need to be paid for what they do and reasonably paid and undermining their revenue proposition unnecessarily is at the front of all of our minds.” Kane agreed with Shaw and said it was

“Brokers offering the choice and customers having the ability to make that choice is great for the industry and the longevity of the mortgage business” Adam Croucher, CBA

Steve Kane: Getting an answer in an hour would indicate that we would need more sophistication around AI in relation to verification, which will come. It would indicate that every application is put together 100% correct, which is probably never going to come.


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important now to remove some of the complexity brought about over the past year with regards to the differences in the drawn downs. That way, he said, when it comes to the review there will be more certainty and will reflect more than just what remuneration is, but it will reflect the advancement of the broker industry to ensure good customer outcomes. “It’ll be reviewed around the basis of: have these measures we’ve put in place worked and improved the outcome for customers? Has there been any detriment? Has there been any conflict?” he said. “I think that providing we continue to lift the bar and everyone does what they need to do to put the customer at the centre of every-


thing, it will be a much better received review if we’ve done those things.” Praising how proactive the industry had been around remuneration, Croucher looked at the number of things already addressed since the ASIC and Sedgwick Reviews and the royal commission, such as volume-based bonuses. He added that as part of the CIF, Commonwealth Bank would continue to work to ensure fair and equitable pay for brokers. “[The] Combined Industry Forum has really taken such a strong lead in this process. For the protection of the industry and brokers we see it as a very important part during any consultation; we feel that we’ve got our seat on the table and delivering our thoughts and process,” he said.

How do you communicate with brokers when there are differences or changes made to expense verification? With all the changes of the last year and different lenders taking different stances, it is important that brokers keep up to date so they can ensure the best outcomes for their customers. Croucher said that Commonwealth Bank uses its broker platform, education and training days, digital online e-learning modules and face-to-face meetings to ensure brokers are on top of updates. “We make sure brokers are in the driver’s seat to understand the changes,” he said. “We have many different forms of how we keep our brokers up to date with any changes

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and as you can imagine there’s been a fair few this year.” Tilley agreed that the way ANZ shares information was important. The major bank issues Broker News once a fortnight to detail both process and policy changes; when more complex changes are introduced the bank will complement that with a webinar. She also notes the more personal interactions ANZ has with brokers, such as coffee clusters around the country to encourage discussion. “Often when you get like-minded people together talking on a topic it helps iron out the creases and people’s understanding of certain things,” she said. “We generally take a multi-pronged approach to disseminating information so there’s improved clarity in

and we recognise that, but we’ve still got to do an expense interrogation and sometimes customers have got to get match fit,” he said. “I’d like to think as expense landscapes settle – which might take some time by the way – we would have a return to focus on what the regular recurring commitments are going to be pre- and post-loan, which will give a better sense of their ability to afford a loan.” NAB has also used using multiple channels to communicate with its brokers, said Kane. As with Westpac, the group is focusing on its BDMs. “One of the key things for us is looking at the role of the BDM in a more holistic fashion. Rather than it just being a relationship of the broker and firefighting,

“Brokers should have confidence that they have a strong voice about protecting their income; brokers need to be paid for what they do” Warren Shaw, Westpac the marketplace at any given point in time.” Agreeing communication was important, Shaw said it needed to be consistent and slick so everyone gets the same message in the same way, adding that BDMs were critical for on-the-ground delivery. Westpac places a heavy focus on its BDMs and ensures it has adequate and responsive BDM capacity because “nothing is more frustrating for a broker than not being able to get support when they need it”. Addressing some of the stories where customers are turned away from a loan because of spending too much money on takeaway or taxis, he said the banks needed to get a better handle on recurring commitments as a real analysis of spending, rather than these other discretionary items. “People will adjust spending habits when they take on a new debt commitment

really going out there and talking to them about the changes that they are going through and saying this is how it’s going to impact the application process, or whatever it happens to be, and then feeding all that information back so we can look at our processes,” he said. Kane acknowledged that the changes have not been as smooth as they could have been, and it is up to the banks now to educate, train and provide the right systems. “This has got all of our focus,” he added. “We don’t enjoy having longer times to process lending or going backwards and forwards. It’s not the desired outcome for anyone, and certainly not the customer, so it’s incumbent on all of us to do what we can and use the tools that have been brought forward to help us with it.”

BROKER QUESTION Regarding the ratio of BDMs to brokers: When you talk about coaching and on-field support, how realistically is that strategy working?


Adam Croucher: We do a lot of segmentation work to make sure to that exact point that we have our ratios which are achievable for contact with our teams. We have one relationship manager to about 130 brokers in one segment and then our other segments are looked after by whether that’s digital, by whether that’s phone based, so we have really changed it up to make sure brokers have the accessibility when they want and they can get a BDM when they need it most. Steve Kane: There are circa 17,000 brokers. We’ve got an industry inflection point happening where we’ve got a lot of brokers, some very active, very professional, driving the greater proportion of the volume and customers. Then we’ve got others nearing retirement, they might be part time and it’s making sure we put our assets, our people assets, our technology, our support where most of the customers are going to be impacted. It’s fair to say that the high productivity brokers, those that are looking after more customers, will get more attention; it isn’t just simply a matter of dividing the number of BDMs by the total number of brokers.

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Non-banks to the rescue As the challenges for small businesses trying to gain finance increase, six non-banks are providing alternative options. They talk about their drive to help SMEs and how they are working with brokers to do so MPA: What are the challenges currently facing small businesses?

flow and less on hard assets as security, while providing an easier, faster and better process.



Online lender OnDeck conducted research into small business customers and found that two out of five SMEs have sought finance in the past, but almost one in four have been knocked back by their bank. “Australian small businesses employ around 4.5 million Australians and account for 33% of private industry value add across Australian business – yet are often neglected by traditional lenders as being too risky or not asset rich enough,” says Michael Burke, head of sales at OnDeck Australia. He adds that technology is changing the way the market thinks about business loans and this allows specialists like OnDeck to provide a solution to SMEs focusing more on cash

For small business owners that require a loan, one of the main challenges is the type of documentation required to prove their revenue. While PAYG borrowers generally only require their two most recent payslips and personal bank statements, self-employed borrowers need more extensive documentation to assess the same types of loans. “Self-employed borrowers applying for a loan through a mainstream lender usually require two years of tax returns, a notice of assessment from the ATO, and in some cases, their business bank records to show cash flow,” Royden D’Vaz, head of sales at Bluestone, says. “Unfortunately, for many SMEs this is not always possible, for example if borrowers

have not yet completed their latest returns or have traded for less than 24 months.”

Equity-One Managing director at Equity-One, Dean Koutsoumidis, agrees that while running a small business has always had its challenges


According to research by OnDeck, delayed access to finance has the following impacts:


normal business activities were slowed or halted



had to delay the delivery of products/services


were forced to delay debt payments


had to delay buying new equipment


were forced to postpone hiring new staff.

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part have a lot on their plate just to keep the doors open and continue to find ways to prepare for, and invest in, the future,” he adds. He also acknowledges the difficulty small businesses are having with access to credit, most notably in accessing consumer finance, but says new entrants to the scene are a “welcome addition” to the market by placing customer experience and outcome at the forefront of their model.

Pepper SMEs are nimble and dynamic, with the ability to move quickly to gain efficiencies or accelerate growth, but they can struggle to get access to capital to support their changing needs, says head of commercial Malcolm Withers. “While in recent years we’ve seen an exciting growth in lenders in the SME space, we are also seeing traditional bank lenders become more restrictive in their approach to credit and slower in handling applications due to the recent regulatory reviews,” he says.

Liberty Believing that business owners are the backbone of the Australian economy, Liberty’s group sales manager John Mohnacheff says they take significant risks and are “crying out for business solutions”. “perhaps today things are a little tougher”. “Depending on the type of business, new technology-driven start-ups potentially can destabilise many of the once-familiar businesses which have enjoyed their long day in the sun,” he says of some of the general challenges facing businesses. “Compliance challenges seem to be perpetually evolving, and the smallest and simplest of businesses still may find the compliance hurdles facing them quite a burden.” It’s not all bad news; while the mainstream banks may have pulled back from certain areas of SME lending, all is not lost. “Financing options have perhaps become somewhat less problematic, as there is now a plethora of new participants in the SME lending space,” Koutsoumidis says.

“Financing options have perhaps become somewhat less problematic, as there is now a plethora of new participants in the SME lending space” Dean Koutsoumidis, Equity-One Thinktank As well as being time-poor, Thinktank CEO Jonathan Street says this is combined with an uncertain economic outlook, weak consumer and business sentiment, and simple business survivability. “There is a great deal of built up stress in the system at the present time and, while some are thriving, small business operators for the most

He says cash flow is a particular issue for smaller traders and Liberty has listened to this to provide a SME solution to help. The small business need for finance also provides a big opportunity for brokers. “Brokers have an opportunity to help them get the finance they need, all while building a better relationship with the client for future transactions,” Mohnacheff says.

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SME LENDING MPA: What are SMEs looking for when it comes to finance?


OnDeck Off the back of its research, OnDeck sees that small businesses are spending too much time trying to organise bank funding. It found that 57% of SMEs had to slow or halt normal business activities while they waited for money and 40% were forced to delay debt payments. Lenders like OnDeck are hoping to speed up the process. Burke says while it could take 4–6 weeks to get funding from the major banks, OnDeck aims to provide funding within three days. “In an increasingly competitive environment where Australian SMEs are competing in a global marketplace, this time saving can be the make-or-break factor that gives a business a competitive advantage,” he says.

Bluestone D’Vaz agrees that time-poor business owners are looking for fast and convenient solutions. SMEs need finance for a range of purposes, including setting up a line of credit to assist with cash flow, purchasing business assets or consolidating ATO debt; so they need a flexible




About the same to access finance More difficult to access finance Easier to access finance Sources: Sensis Business Index August 2019

Liberty Equity-One Koutsoumidis says SMEs have always been looking for the same thing: “Quite simply, fast, cheap money. This hasn’t changed, really. Ever,” he says.

Michael Burke, OnDeck


All anyone wants when it comes to finance is a timely and acceptable solution which meets their needs, Street says; but all too often they are not getting it. He breaks small businesses down into “two camps”: those that have been in an established and performing business, versus those that may be somewhere between a start-up and two to three years old. With a high failure rate of small businesses in their first few years, the provision of credit, particularly unsecured, is a difficult proposition, Street adds. “With access to credit more challenging than it has been in the best part of 30 years, lender credit appetite and policy constantly changing, product complexity only increasing and new lenders emerging regularly, timepoor business owners should be thinking ‘broker’ now more than ever,” Street says.

a traditional bank, he adds.

“In an increasingly competitive environment… time saving can be the make-or-break factor that gives a business a competitive advantage” finance solution which meets all their needs. “Because they often require funding to secure valuable business opportunities, an expedient turnaround on their application is critical,” he says. As SME owners do not always fit into the standard documentation requirements, many are left looking for a lender who will assess them on a case-by-case basis and accept a wider range of documentation than


What is changing, however, is the market; Koutsoumidis observes there are more participants entering and the existing participants are broadening their offerings and searching for their own point of difference in the marketplace. Taking a more positive view on the SME lending space than some others, he adds: “The supply of credit in this space is adequately meeting demand.”

Recognising the need for fast decisions, Liberty has placed an increased focus on that. “Our turnaround times are industry-leading,” Mohnacheff says. “We offer 24-hour turnaround times and direct access to underwriters so that brokers can be sure of a smooth and speedy process.” To make things easier for brokers who are looking after small business clients, Liberty is building a dedicated business lending department to support the channel. “We’re committed to helping more businesses to get financial with Liberty and this continues our unmatched record of innovation which will again lay a path for others to follow,” Mohnacheff adds.

MPA: According to the Sensis Business Index, SMEs are finding it increasingly difficult to access finance. What are you doing to help these borrowers? In the August 2019 Sensis Business Index, 30% of businesses in Australia said it was harder to access finance now than it was six months ago.

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Source: Sensis Business Index August 2019

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Im req em app

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SME LENDING Bluestone Recognising how time-poor business owners are, Bluestone is placing particular focus on turnaround times. This allows businesses to obtain the finance they need to take advantage of time-sensitive opportunities. The lender recently put in place new policy changes designed to provide business owners with additional ways to prove their income for its near prime product. D’Vaz says Bluestone also “stays away” from automated credit scoring, instead assessing each loan on a case-by-case basis. “This helps us determine individual borrower needs a lot more accurately and supports positive customer outcomes for SMEs,” he says.

Equity-One For Equity-One, helping business owners when they cannot get finance elsewhere is not a new thing. Koutsoumidis says that since its inception over 20 years ago, it has catered to small business owners and provided commercial finance when banks were not. While he says this means Equity-One’s relevance in the market hasn’t really changed, there has been increased credit unavailability in the market recently with the major banks affected by the combination of APRA requirements and the flow-on effects from the royal commission. “This has played well for alternative lenders, not just Equity-One,” he says. “Our loan offerings to SMEs are deliberately simple, because that’s all they need to be. We try to make access to commercial finance simple, as it should be.”

“Brokers don’t necessarily need to become experts in all areas but developing knowledge, confidence and relationships with a range of lenders supported by experienced aggregator


The non-bank launched into the commercial space at the start of the year after brokers asked for an alternative commercial product

“The self-employed market offers a number of opportunities for brokers and moving into the SME lending space is a great first step to diversifying” Royden D’Vaz, Bluestone resources can mean the difference between a relatively static broking business and one where the first thing a client does when they have any type of finance need is call their broker,” he says.


Businesses that approached banks for finance, by employment size 2017-18


0-4 employees

Thinktank Understanding the growing complexity of the small business lending space, Street says it has never been a better time for brokers to help new and existing clients. Thinktank is working closely with brokers to get the best outcome for their customers and is working with aggregator partners on a range of educational and business development events and sessions.



5-19 employees

Source: Australian Banking Association, SME Lending in Australia, August 2019

to the banks. Withers says they have “reinvented the way commercial lending is done”. Pepper’s offering “sits between the banks and the non-banks”, offering both full and alt doc loans, solutions for customers with tax debt, cash out requirements or credit impairments. “In establishing Pepper Money Commercial, we wanted to be part of the solution for SMEs to access the funding they need,” Withers says. “We recognise that brokers have a vital role in helping these businesses, which is why we developed a product that offers flexibility for both experienced or new-tocommercial brokers.”

Liberty Understanding that even the more established businesses will still have cash flow worries, Liberty is piloting a new business loan called Liberty Lift. It offers loans of $25,000 to $1m for businesses with strong credit profiles which have been in operation for three years or more. Loan terms up to five years are secured by business cash flow and not a mortgage security. “For the application we will need the businesses’ financial statements and completion of a streamlined application form,” Mohnacheff explains. “We won’t require a mortgage for security against the loan, so the whole process is hassle-free and supported by Liberty’s leading service levels.”

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MPA: According to the recent ABA SME Lending in Australia report, the smaller the business the more likely they are to seek out finance from a finance company over a bank – why do you think that is?

“Every self-employed client is a business owner so there is an opportunity for brokers to evolve into a business banking broker” Malcolm Withers, Pepper Money

OnDeck Burke says a significant development has been the growing awareness and interest in online lenders. OnDeck recently commissioned research which showed 22% of SMEs would consider an online lender: double the percentage of SMEs in the past. “This is being driven partly by the mainstream banks and traditional lenders, as unsecured lending to small business is a market they don’t want to serve,” he says.

“In addition to this, business owners are usually time-poor and often need to secure funding very quickly, so they don’t lose valuable business opportunities,” D’Vaz says. “Many non-banks are specifically set up to make the application and assessment process simple and turnaround time very fast, which makes them an easier and more efficient option for small business clients.”

Equity-One Bluestone Much of the change is down to the realisation that non-banks and alternative lenders will offer solutions that banks won’t. They can assess each application on its individual merits, while traditional banks have a more rigid approach to assessment.

Koutsoumidis agrees that turnaround times and ease are a big factor in why alternative lenders and non-banks are more attractive. “Banks are hot when they’re hot and not when they’re not,” he says. “Banks have become harder to deal with, and slow to get replies from. This isn’t good for business.”

Thinktank Small businesses are turning more to nonbanks and other lenders partly because of the number of non-banks emerging squarely aimed at that particular part of the market, Street says, as well as the limited appetite from the banks. “In our view, the banks appear to be comfortable to hand over more market influence to the fintechs and non-banks who are proving to be more agile, technologically savvy and customer experience focussed,” he adds.

Pepper Withers says he has observed over time that there is a growing gap between what a business client wants and what banks are able to provide.

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SME LENDING On the one hand, there are SME clients who want a dedicated business banker: “Someone who understands their business and works with them to help them grow and navigate their finance needs,” he explains. “On the other hand, you have the banks who are grappling with how to deliver this in a rapidly growing SME market. These clients are increasingly in need of a diverse range of lending needs, many of whom end up dealing with a bank call centre when they are expecting a personalised service.”

MPA: What do mortgage brokers need to know if they are considering moving into the SME lending space?


“Brokers have an opportunity to help them get the finance they need, all while building a better relationship with the client” John Mohnacheff, Liberty OnDeck With the downturn in the residential property market, tighter restrictions for investor lending and the threat to commissions impacting the broker channel, the need for brokers to diversify beyond residential mortgages is highlighted, Burke says. Diversifying may take brokers out of their comfort zone, but OnDeck is on hand

to provide extensive support with its team of BDMs. “OnDeck works closely with brokers during the first steps in the journey, providing training and sharing best practice. If the broker prefers, an OnDeck BDM can speak with customers directly on the broker’s behalf, though at all times the relationship belongs to the broker,” he adds.

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D’Vaz says that SME loan applications are very similar to vanilla home loan applications, but that self-employed borrowers are more likely to require continuing financial support compared to their PAYG counterparts, because their need for finance is often ongoing. “The self-employed market offers a number of opportunities for brokers and moving into the SME lending space is a great first step to diversifying your business as a broker,” he adds.

Street says he has observed that the best and most effective SME brokers have a number of traits in common. They are all client-focussed and maintain a regular discipline around contact to understand what their clients’ current needs are and what they might be in six to 12 months’ time and as far out as three or more years. He also says they have great relationships with their aggregators, lenders and referral sources, and they are

Reiterating the opportunity for brokers to expand their business beyond mortgages, Withers says “it allows brokers to have great customer conversations, get a deeper understanding of their customer, their plans and how they can support customers into the future with other products”. “Remember, every self-employed client is a business owner so there is an opportunity for brokers to evolve into a business banking broker and provide the personal relationship a SME client is after.”

“Small business operators for the most part have a lot on their plate just to keep the doors open” Jonathan Street, Thinktank Equity-One The SME market is a promising one, adds Koutsoumidis. “It provides brokers with an opportunity to deepen their relationship with their clients, broadening the cache of services they offer,” he says. “This, ultimately, is good for their business as their connection with the client is deeper and more-sophisticated.”

effective at making the most of their acquired experience to work through a deal. “The most successful SME brokers thrive on their clients being comfortable that they obtained the finance that suited their needs and that in turn feeds strong repeat business and high conviction referral,” he adds.

Liberty As one of the biggest advocates for diversification, Mohnacheff reiterates the opportunities brokers have with SME clients. He says brokers should look at their existing databases. “Residential brokers have a wealth of data to help them establish relationships with prospective SME clients,” he says. “Reaching out to existing clients to let them know you lend in the commercial space allows a broker to build their experience within a network that already knows and trusts them.”


Australian businesses by employment size, 2018


of businesses employ less than 20 people


of businesses employ 20 people or more


of businesses employ 0 people


of businesses employ 1-4 people


of businesses employ 5-19 people


of businesses employ 20+ people

Source: Australian Banking Association, SME Lending in Australia, August 2019

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Enhancing customer experiences With technology and digital tools now a necessity, MPA speaks to a bank and an aggregator about how they are growing their technology to provide brokers and their customers great service


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ALMOST EVERY INDUSTRY – if not all industries – has had to adapt to the growth of technology, and the lending and broker spaces are no different. Particularly with the rise of fintechs and the consumer’s reliance on technology, more established banks and lenders have had to keep up with their digital offering. As a non-major bank, Bankwest has the ability to be slightly more agile in developing digital products and services and it has spent the last two years prioritising investment in its digital and broker channels specifically. Wanting to remain relevant and competitive in the marketplace, it has particularly prioritised investment in building a strong, digitally-led proposition. “Our plan is to move customer experience beyond good, or even great, and into amazing – every single day,” says head of third-party banking Ian Rakhit. Also recognising technology is playing a wider role in everyone’s lives even beyond business, Specialist Finance Group has developed its digital offering to improve efficiencies and make it easier for people to engage. “Finance brokers, whilst very busy, are no different than a lot of other people today who are time poor; we’re always trying to fit more into our days both in business and personally,” managing director of Specialist Finance Group William Lockett says. “Technology is now a vital component in helping brokers with their business efficiencies and in the services they can provide and the speed in which they can do it.”

The digital revolution Bankwest’s broker portal has been a longstanding tool, allowing brokers to track most loan applications in real time and view their Bankwest customer details in one spot. But in the past 12 months the bank has launched a number of digital initiatives to

support brokers by expanding its range of tools on the portal. Recently, Bankwest launched digital signing for home loans. Where it previously took 13 days for a new home loan to be made ready for settlement, digital signing has reduced this to within seven days for new home loans and within 24 hours for increases to existing loans. Specialist Finance Group also has digital signing capabilities for those lenders that accept digital signatures. The aggregator launched its broker platform SFGConnect

With continuous developments, it is important to keep brokers updated so they understand how to use these platforms to their maximum potential. For Bankwest it updates brokers directly with eDMs or through their aggregator and BDMs. For its digital signing launch, for example, it took a staggered approach and educated small groups of brokers at a time via eDMs, webinars or face-to-face. The improved efficiency that technology brings allows brokers to remain in regular contact with their customers, adds Lockett.

“Our plan is to move customer experience beyond good, or even great, and into amazing – every single day” Ian Rakhit, Bankwest two years ago, to equip its finance brokers with the most advanced technology platform available for them to use in their business model. The aggregator’s portal allows both clients and business partners of the broker to have some access to the system. The marketing capabilities within SFGConnect let all finance brokers maintain regular contact, allowing for an ongoing and continual business relationship with their clients.

The importance of broker technology Rakhit says the digital tools help to make processes much more transparent and efficient. “Many of our tools are also designed to save brokers time, so that they’re not spending time on tasks that don’t add value,” he says. “Although we’ve made many developments in this space, there’s still work to do.”

“Technology is a key part of everyone’s life and technology builds efficiencies and makes it easier for people to engage,” Lockett adds. Specialist Finance Group provides both initial and ongoing training to all its members. In addition to direct and personal training, it also provides other technology training through its personal development day presentations, regular webinars and members can access SFGConnect tutorials. There is also a dedicated SFGConnect team to help with any issues or queries, who also attend personal development days and visit members regardless of location.

Feedback from brokers Bankwest has seen monthly logins to its broker portal increase by 89% between July 2018 and 2019, showing the desire for more comprehensive tools and the success of the bank’s efforts. Rakhit says each stage of the broker experience was designed in partnership

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with brokers, which helped the bank understand and define what was important to the channel – and what was not. The consultation extended into the testing phase, ensuring what was built was what brokers wanted. “The result of this collaborative process is a range of real-time tools that empower brokers and ensure they can access what they need anywhere, anytime and on any device,” Rakhit says. Specialist Finance Group has also seen a positive response towards its own platform. The feedback from its members has been “outstanding”, says Lockett. “Our members have really embraced this leading technology and another reason for this has been the ease and user-friendly nature of this technology which has made it not only easy for the brokers to be trained but also in how they can use this technology to grow and develop their business model,” he adds.

The future of technology Continuing the partnership with brokers in the design of digital offerings, Rakhit says Bankwest will remain focused on delivering the right solution which meets a genuine need, rather than releasing a number of different initiatives which might not hit the mark. As technology continues to grow and change the way the world does things, face-to-face interaction is becoming less of a necessity. But the relationships brokers have with their customers and those they have with their BDMs is still enhanced by human relationships. However, Rakhit acknowledges that digital continues to be an important part of delivering amazing customer experiences and people are turning more heavily to digital platforms to meet their needs.


“Technology is a key part of everyone’s life and technology builds efficiencies and makes it easier for people to engage” William Lockett, Specialist Finance Group “Our role is to ensure that customers and brokers have the digital platforms available to achieve their goals, while continuing to be supported through faceto-face channels,” he says. Not stopping at its SFGConnect platform, Specialist Finance Group will continue to look at ways the industry can improve with technology. “We never stop looking at ways to improve,” Lockett says. “We continue to speak to not only our members, we also speak to our business partners and our software designers. With the feedback we get and what we believe needs to be

carried out, we look at improving that and implementing new technology as we think is required.” Having seen the rapid growth of technology even over the past few years, Lockett says in a perfect world face-to-face interaction will remain, but technology has the capabilities of taking over more of the human interaction. “It would be sad in today’s market because it takes away the personal element and the empathy people have. I would like to think there will always be an element of face-to-face or human contact in any dealings,” Lockett says.

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$ $







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WINNERS REVEALED The industryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s finest turned out to celebrate another great year. MPA takes a closer look at the winners across all 31 categories


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Event partner

THIS YEAR marks the 10th year of Westpac’s partnership with the Australian Mortgage Awards. It’s an important milestone for us, and we’re very proud to have stood beside the AMAs for the past decade to support and celebrate the outstanding achievements of those in the mortgage broking industry. It has been both an exciting and challenging year for the mortgage industry. The broker community has continued to demonstrate its ability to adapt to the changing operating environment and help customers with their homeownership needs. Australians value the choice and independence that mortgage brokers provide, and this is something we celebrated together at this year’s AMAs. Westpac research shows that more than two-thirds of Australians are taking steps to better educate themselves on the homeownership journey, and we know brokers play a key part in this process. We continue to work closely with brokers to help more Australians achieve their homeownership dreams. The broker channel is a priority for us, and we are passionate about innovating to improve the experience that brokers and customers receive from Westpac. Finally, congratulations to all the finalists and winners – you have shone in an industry that is succeeding through a challenging period. Your hard work and dedication to service set an example that will ensure mortgage broking continues to go from strength to strength. Accredited Member

WARREN SHAW Head of broker distribution Westpac Group

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Zippy Financial Group

FINALISTS Loan Base Option Finance Australia The Perth Mortgage Specialist XIN Mortgage

IN AN effort to connect with local areas and potential industry partners, Zippy Financial set out to create an outstanding and prominent online presence by creating a dynamic and interconnected network of websites, social media platforms, online magazines and direct communication. Not stopping there, Zippy Financial plans to continue looking at the way it reaches its audience. One way in particular it has seen great success is through its growing collection of Zippy-owned community groups.

“It’s a really good start for us. We’ve not won anything for the digital strategy yet, so we’ve wanted this one” LOUISA SANGHERA

Justin Kennedy Key Media

Managing director, Zippy Financial

Louise Sanghera Zippy Financial




FINALISTS Bankwest Heartland Seniors Finance MyState Bank Pepper Money St. George Banking Group

OVER THE last year, Westpac has focused on its digital strategy for both brokers and customers. It continues to invest in its online resources, focusing on broker education, transparency and communication. It does these things through its broker portal, which offers ApplyOnline, the ability to monitor application progress, access to forms and calculators, and access to webinars. It also has a comprehensive eDM program to keep brokers up to date with changes and campaigns and to share additional resources.

“There’s more we can do and more we will do to support our brokers. They’ve been loyal to us, and we’re really here to support them in any way, in any form that they need”

Andy Wright Westpac

Alf Vasta Moneyplace

ANDY WRIGHT Head of product management, Westpac Group


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FINALISTS ANZ La Trobe Financial NAB Prospa Suncorp

AS PART of its digital strategy, Liberty took a more innovative approach than most. Partnering with Nova Entertainment and the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, it went on a search for Australia’s first Comedic Free Thinker, in line with its brand association of providing “free-thinking loans”. The campaign included a talent search on Nova FM and Smooth FM, as well as on digital and social media platforms, increasing its brand awareness, which it knows helps brokers and business partners better engage with customers about Liberty’s products.

“The marketing team has done a fantastic job. They’re a great support to us in the field”

John Moynahan Liberty


Ayhan Baba MSA National

State manager, Liberty




FINALISTS Broker Essentials CoreLogic Ezidox Finsure Broker Academy HLE Nepal Loanworks Trail Book Loans

FOLLOWING ON from its win last year, NextGen.Net has taken out the award for Best Industry Service yet again. The group has continued to innovate over the last year, making significant advancements to its ApplyOnline platform and delivering smart technology to brokers, lenders and other suppliers throughout the loan value chain. The company has also engaged in extensive broker training and engagement to ensure brokers can maximise the use of the technology in their day-to-day operations, understand the new features and use them to add significant value to their businesses.

“It’s been a great success. We’re very, very thankful” TONY CARN Chief customer officer, NextGen.Net

Tony Carn and the NextGen.Net team


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Smartmove Professional Mortgage Advisors

FINALISTS Astute Melbourne City South and Gippsland Atelier Wealth

WINNERS FOR a second year, Smartmove Professional Mortgage Advisors has continued its exceptional attitude towards customer service. The group prides itself on forming trusted lifelong relationships with clients and business partners and has done ever since its inception in 2003. Its team vision is to be unparalleled leaders through trusted lifelong relationships, and the team believes the best way to track the success of this vision is through the words customers use about them. Smartmove continues to invest in training and education to ensure the best service for their customers.

Glenn Crombie – Loan Market

“Customer service is what it’s about. Other awards are amazing, but customer service is what we do”

Gloss Finance


Empower Wealth Mortgage Advisory

Home Loan Experts

CEO, Smartmove Professional Mortgage Advisors

Supra Finance and Property Group Xin Mortgage Darren Little Smartmove Professional Mortgage Advisors

Zippy Financial Group


Natasha Kelso BOQ Broker

Bank of Queensland (BOQ) is one of Australia’s leading regional banks. We’ve been doing business since 1874 and pride ourselves on building long-term customer relationships based on mutual respect and understanding. BOQ offers a full range of personal and business banking services and is regulated by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority as an authorised deposit-taking institution. For more information, visit


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Liberty Network Services

FINALISTS Centrepoint Alliance Lending Finconnect

OFF THE back of coming out on top in this year’s Brokers on Aggregators survey, Liberty Network Services is proving to be the one to beat. Designed to help brokers diversify and increase their market share, it offers a high-touch alternative to traditional distribution models, providing personalised support and genuine business partnerships with brokers. From comprehensive business training to custom training, its goal is to provide brokers with the tools to run successful businesses in an increasingly competitive market. Its loan management app supports brokers to deliver outstanding customer service, while its in-house marketing team runs targeted marketing campaigns to position brokers as true financial experts within their local area.

“It was such a surprise to win. We’re feeling very honoured and appreciated to have won the award” JANE SILVESTRO Sales manager, Liberty Network Services


Deposit Power is celebrating the 30th anniversary of its launch in the Australian marketplace in 2019. Over this period, Deposit Power has helped over 1 million Australians buy and sell property. Deposit Power assists customers who are ready to buy but do not have the cash available to pay the deposit. Typical customers include first home buyers, up-sizers and downsizers who have all their money tied up in equity, and investors who are borrowing 100%. As the only deposit guarantee provider with a paperless process, giving mortgage brokers the ability to issue the guarantee online in real time, our goal is to provide an easy, cost-effective solution for brokers and their customers’ property deposit needs.

Julianne Walsh Liberty Network Services

Jane Silvestro Liberty Network Services

Grant Lloyd Deposit Power

For more information, visit


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Loan Market Group

FINALISTS Astute Financial Management Connective FAST Finsure Mortgage Choice Outsource Financial Specialist Finance Group

OVER THE last year, Loan Market has been “obsessed” with saving brokers time through cutting-edge technology built into its custom-made MyCRM platform, including tools such as the Online Fact Find, Online Leads Generation Program, Stay in Touch client communication automation, and its compliance and audit program. Not only does this provide brokers with the ability to run their businesses and collaborate with their customers, but it also allows them to compete against the changing landscape of online brokers. With a year of industry change, regulatory reform, slower markets and tighter lending in 2018, Loan Market led the way in adapting to that change by blending the online and offline broker-client experience. It also heavily advocated for the broker industry in the face of the royal commission, running a national campaign and raising awareness of the vital role that brokers play.

“If you can get the right tools and combine them with the right brokers and the right advice, awesome things happen, and that’s what we’ve seen” SAM WHITE Executive chairman, Loan Market Group


OnDeck is a technology-enabled B2B lender that can evaluate, approve and fund small business loans up to $250k in as fast as one business day. Over the past decade, OnDeck Group has loaned over US$10 billion to 80,000 small businesses across the US, Canada and Australia. We use advanced lending technology and analytics to assess the health of a business based on actual operating performance and not solely on the owner’s personal credit. OnDeck’s proprietary small business credit scoring system, the OnDeck Score®, uses hundreds of data points per loan application to determine an optimal lending amount and rate for your clients in real time.

Sam White Loan Market Group Michael Burke OnDeck

For more information, visit broker-program

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Pepper Money

FINALISTS Better Mortgage Management Bluestone Equity-One Firstmac Liberty Mortgage Ezy Resimac

SINCE 2001, Pepper Money has helped more than 200,000 Australians achieve their financial goals and has written almost $19bn in mortgage originations – 59% of which has been written in the last three years alone. Pepper Money was created to fill an important gap in the market by helping who could manage repayments but couldn’t get a loan, like the self-employed. The changing and tightening lending market has given Pepper Money a real edge over the past two years. As banks have retreated from lending in their traditional strongholds, Pepper has moved to occupy that space by offering prime, near prime and non-conforming mortgages. At the start of 2019, its move into the commercial space garnered praise from brokers.

“It’s just a real reinforcement that we’re doing such a good job out there, and everyone at Pepper worked so hard” BRETT CONWAY National sales manager for retail, Pepper Money

Rebecca Pike MPA magazine

Brett Conway Pepper Money




FINALISTS ANZ Liberty Macquarie

OVER THE past 12 months, Bankwest has continued its digital investment in the broker channel, rolling out a host of new digital tools. Bankwest enhanced its broker website, giving brokers simpler and faster ways to check their customers’ eligibility against policy. The group has seen a 50% increase in brokers visiting the website since these changes, demonstrating the need and desire for better tools. Bankwest also introduced an online app to its broker portal, allowing brokers to access the credit rules around LVR and postcode policy restrictions. And it rolled out digital signing of home loan contract documents, which provides brokers with the ability to review the documents before they go to the customer.

“Thank you to all our brokers, thank you to all our staff. This really means loads”

Peter Birch Commonwealth Bank

Ian Rakhit Bankwest

IAN RAKHIT General manager, third party, Bankwest


Jane Silvestro Liberty Network Services

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FINALISTS Adelaide Bank ANZ Bankwest Macquarie MyState Bank St. George Banking Group Suncorp Westpac

BECAUSE IT’S a branchless and digital bank, the broker market represents 85% of home loans written at ING. The group sees its broker partners not simply as a channel, but as its shopfront and an integral part of its business. ING puts its success with the broker channel down to both parties working towards the same premise: “to help our customers get ahead”. This purpose is at the heart of everything ING and its brokers do, and the bank strives to help brokers achieve that by providing great products, processes, education and support. Over the last year, ING has produced research on first home buyers and upgraders to help brokers with new and growing opportunities. It also puts on quarterly Listening Lunches, where it can update brokers on future plans and industry trends. It is also developing a new broker portal based on broker feedback and is working closely with the industry to provide the digital service brokers need.

“We’ve done a lot of effort into the broking space in particular, and I’m very proud of our operations, our sales and our products” GLENN GIBSON Head of third-party distribution and direct mortgages, ING


Glenn Gibson ING

Ahyan Baba MSA National

In October 2016, MSA National established themselves as market leaders in mortgage processing by launching a string of digital ‘firsts’ that are revolutionising the documentation and settlement process. It’s no coincidence that lenders who partner with MSA have happier customers and happier brokers. For more information, visit

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Tim Schneider, Choice

HIGHLY COMMENDED David Vizza, Finsure Finance & Insurance

FINALISTS Anthony Zveglic, Finsure Finance & Insurance Ben Livera, Mortgage Choice

DESPITE THE challenges of the last year, Tim Schneider says it has been his most rewarding year yet. Looking back, he says there was confusion, uncertainty, anger and then elation as he and his brokers stood side by side throughout the journey. While it was a year full of emotion, Schneider says now that the rain has cleared, he has never felt closer to his members. “Although there is still work to do and a few more challenges ahead, mortgage broking has won,” he says. “I couldn’t be prouder of being part of the industry and more optimistic that the future of broking is a bright one.”

“To be recognized in a year where there’s been a lot of challenges, I feel really blessed” TIM SCHNEIDER Partnership manager, Choice

James Brett, Connective Jesus Herrera, Aussie Home Loans Matthew Cusworth, Connective Tracey Najjar, Centrepoint Alliance

Tim Schneider Choice

Ian Rakhit Bankwest


As a broker, Bankwest is dedicated to you – finding ways to make your job that little bit simpler so you can get back to the jobs that are really important, knowing you’re being backed by the bank that’s small enough to care, but big enough to cope. For more information, visit


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Sam Tang, Westpac


FINALISTS Amanda Borg, CBA Blake Hauber, Westpac Jane Arthur, ANZ Tony Agliozzo, CBA William Xi, ANZ

IT’S BEEN an impressive couple of years for Westpac BDM Sam Tang. He was a finalist at the MFAA Awards last year, named 2018 Service Champion of the Year at Westpac and ranked number one nationally in the bank’s BDM broker survey. Now he can add Best Major Bank BDM at the Australian Mortgage Awards to the list. Tang puts his successes down to having a dedicated customer focus, acting responsively and reliably, and providing a high quality of customer service. He has more than 15 years of industry experience under his belt, including roles as an assistant branch manager, home finance manager and senior relationship manager.

“It’s amazing to get this award. It’s one of my best, my greatest achievement in my fiveyear BDM career” SAM TANG BDM, Westpac

Sam Tang Westpac

Simon Kerslake Australian Broker



Stuart Moore, ING

FINALISTS Andrew Downie, MyState Bank Clem Marcocci, ING Emma Fiorentino, Bank of Melbourne Geoff Murphy, ING Grace Munro, MyState Bank Mira Doolabh, St. George Nancy Georgy, Bankwest

KEEPING HIS finger on the pulse, ING BDM Stuart Moore takes pride in every one of his interactions. With the number of changes the finance industry has seen over the past 18 months, he ensures he keeps up to date by attending industry events and having continuous conversations with brokers. With almost 10 years of experience as a BDM and actively managing more than 1,000 brokers, Moore continues to gain new insights into what it takes to be successful. He adopts a hands-on approach with his brokers and strives to ensure details are conveyed in a consistent, positive and professional manner.

“It’s a great event. We’re having a good time, and we already have a few awards on the table”

Stuart Moore ING


Tanya Sale Outsource FInancial

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Denya Dean, Bluestone

FINALISTS Chitresh Luthra, Bluestone Darren Stratford, RedZed Erin Manhood, Prospa Pasquale Caia, Pepper Money Patrick Moore, Liberty Suzanne Hemsworth, La Trobe Financial

WITH VARIED experience in the lending space, Bluestone’s Denya Dean has seen loan scenarios from a broker, aggregator and lender point of view. No matter the scenario, she knows the right questions to ask and how to find the solutions her brokers are after. Core to her approach is meeting with 15 to 20 brokers each week and supporting them in all areas of their businesses. Dean has mentored her brokers on everything from how to best source new leads and how to assess a customer’s financials to how to maintain effective notes in their CRM system. Not only a mentor to others, Dean also continues to develop her own training and understanding by seeking out mentors of her own. While 2018 was her first full year working in lending, she won a number of awards, including the MFAA BDM Lender Support Service Provider Award for NSW/ACT in both 2018 and 2019, and she was highly commended for this same category at the AMAs last year.

“I have an amazing team behind me. I couldn’t have done it without them being so patient and so helpful, and I’m so grateful for the team I have” DENYA DEAN PROUDLY SPONSORED BY

BDM, Bluestone Denya Dean Bluestone

For more than 25 years, Mortgage Choice has been helping Australians with their financial needs by delivering a range of financial choices teamed with trusted expert advice. Starting a franchise with Mortgage Choice means more than just starting a business – it’s about building something of your own.

Susan Mitchell Mortgage Choice

For more information, visit


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Adam Wadley, Home Loans

FINALISTS Brice Booker, Mortgage Choice Brisbane City Damien Page, Loan Market Grace Gardner, Aussie Home Loans Kamal Aeri, Smartline Melissa Truong Huynh, Loan Market

DESPITE BEING new to the industry in a tough environment, Adam Wadley has seen volume growth and great feedback from lenders about the quality of his submissions. He takes the extra time to ensure everything is correct, which is vital in today’s lending landscape, where lenders are casting a serious eye over every detail and turnaround times are suffering. Wadley already understands that difficult conversations need to be had, but his honest approach and dedication to great customer service are appreciated by clients. He has already built a strong client base and customer retention, with less than 1% roll-off of clients from his book. Making sure he is available at all times of the day and night, Wadley goes above and beyond to make the home-buying process as smooth as possible for his clients.

“Nights like this are great – you get together with the best in the industry, you let your hair down and enjoy it” ADAM WADLEY Mortgage broker, Home Loans


Adam Wadley

Mike Felton MFAA

The Mortgage & Finance Association of Australia (MFAA) is the peak national industry body for professional finance brokers, lenders, aggregators and service providers. Established in 1982, the MFAA represents more than 13,500 members and contributes to a healthy, competitive mortgage and finance industry through advocacy, education and business-building support. Our finance brokers operate within a professional code of practice that supports the alignment of the retail mortgage market with consumer trust and confidence. Together with our members, we work with industry, regulators and government to assist our members to match consumers with mortgage or financing outcomes that meet their individual financial objectives. For more information, visit

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25/10/2019 3:32:25 PM




Tom Morison, Smartmove Professional Mortgage Advisors

FINALISTS Amy Small, Professional Lending Solutions Christian Stevens, Shore Financial Evelyn Clark, Accession Finance Hoang Nam (Stephen), The Financiers Group Jonathan De Sensi, The Australian Lending and Investment Centre Jordan Beh, Insight Property Finance Joshua Trevitt, JT Home Loans

DISCOVERED BY the directors at Smartmove thanks to his exceptional customer service at a local bottleshop while at university, Tom Morison says he has exceeded his own expectations in his first year of broking. Primarily a mortgage broker, Morison already understands the additional value he can provide his clients by expanding his offering: In addition to almost $50m in mortgage lending, he settled $250,000 in asset finance settlements over the past year. Morison takes a strong stance towards providing excellent customer service, devoting “endless hours to bringing solutions to life within an ever-toughening lending marketplace”.

“Being 12 months in the industry as a broker, I’ve been more of a supporting role, learning the ropes. This is very surreal” TOM MORISON Mortgage broker, Smartmove Professional Mortgage Advisors

Mohit Lal Pradhan, Home Loan Experts Vivian Wu, Ayers Financial Group


Darren Kasehagen Adelaide Bank

Tom Morison Smartmove Professional Mortgage Advisors

As a lender solely dedicated to third-party distribution, Adelaide Bank is renowned for going out of our way to support brokers. We have the strength of the Bendigo and Adelaide Bank Group, a top ASX100 company, behind us and a home loan product range packed full of features and flexibility (our 100% offset fixed account is just the start). For more information, visit


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Damian Medici, Damian Medici Loan Market

FINALISTS Adam Burstein, Nu-age Lending Josh Bartlett, Loan Market Bayside Josh Egan, Astute Melbourne City South and Gippsland Mark Davis, The Australian Lending and Investment Centre Michael Gavan, Innovative Home & Business Finance

TAKING A holistic view of customers’ needs and goals comes easy to Damian Medici, who has a background in real estate sales, property management and banking. He specialises in home, investment, business, and construction loans; insurance; and SMSF lending. In a tighter landscape brought about by the royal commission, Medici and his team have worked to put 93% of applications through without questions or delays, which he accomplishes through stringent guidelines and KPIs to never half-submit an application. “Everyone has a story and goal they want to achieve, and with quality questions and conversations, we’re the people who make their goal happen,” he says.

“It’s really humbling to not only win an award, but to celebrate with so many great brokers” DAMIAN MEDICI Mortgage broker, Damian Medici Loan Market

Michael Vasilaras, Loan Market Bayside Trong Vivienne Than, Home Loan Experts

Damian Medici Damian Medici Loan Market


Equity-One has established itself as a leader in commercial lending by providing fixed-rate solutions with flexible repayment options. Equity-One offers a genuine alternative to business borrowers looking for traditional personalised service. For more information, visit

Niomie Varady Equity-One

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Josh Egan, Astute Melbourne City South and Gippsland

FINALISTS Daniel Green, Green Financial Group Greg Samuel, Samuel Finance Jean-Pierre Gortan, Simplicity Loans & Advisory Jigar Modi, Small Business Loans Hub Kevin Wheatley, Bayside Residential and Commercial Mortgages Larry Zhou, Link Capital Finance Tada Souvannavong, Iconic Financial Services

AN EXAMPLE of how brokers can provide a wider offering to their clients, Josh Egan offers a holistic service thanks to his purchase of a small financial planning business in 2015. Providing a number of services allows him to build deeper relationships with his clients. Understanding the importance of referrals, Egan has developed relationships with business partners and industry players such as accountants, financial planners, car/truck dealerships and insurers to further his service offering. He prides himself on a professional, client-focused business, taking the time to really understand his clients’ needs and working with them to meet those needs. Through his annual client reviews, Egan maintains continuous discussions about their cash flow, whether they want to purchase property and other areas of interest.

“Doing right for our clients is the important thing, but getting an award for doing that is amazing” JOSH EGAN Finance broker, Astute Melbourne City South and Gippsland


La Trobe Financial is one of Australia’s leading non-bank wealth manager and credit specialists. Our commitment to innovation, product quality and superior service has been proven over 65 years. We have a broad product range focused on meeting the needs of customers inadequately met by the traditional banking sector.. For more information, visit borrowers


Josh Egan Astute Melbourne City South and Gippsland

Michelle Bannister La Trobe Financial

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Mark Davis, The Australian Lending and Investment Centre

FINALISTS Alex Veljancevski, Eventus Financial Anthony O'Flynn, IFA Mortgages & Finance Fabio DeCastro, Oxygen Home Loans Jigar Modi, Small Business Loans Hub

FOCUSING IN on a particular niche, Mark Davis’ journey with his clients is never transactional. For him, a loan is the result of doing the correct and ethical thing every single day. Davis starts the relationship journey with each client with a holistic view of the client’s lending strategy, structure preferences and goals. He keeps detailed notes of every asset, past decision, loan and ownership structure to determine his clients’ current and future positions. When Davis meets his clients for the first time, he selects the right business partners for the client’s needs and arranges for them to meet with property experts, wealth management accountants, holistic financial planners and risk advisors.

Louisa Sanghera, Zippy Financial Group

“It’s always about doing the right thing. Stay true to who you are and what you believe, and the right thing should happen”

Stephen McClatchie, Loans Australia


Josh Egan, Astute Melbourne City South and Gippsland

Trent Lee, Mates Rates Mortgage Brokers

Principal/mortgage broker, ALIC

William Unkles, 40 Forty Finance


Peter White FBAA Mark Davis ALIC

The Finance Brokers Association of Australia (FBAA) is proud to celebrate its 25th anniversary this year and is the leading professional association to finance and mortgage brokers nationally. The FBAA not only insists on the highest levels of professionalism, ethics and standards from its members, but is the industry’s association of choice. The FBAA philosophically stands to ensure there is always an option of industry bodies within our sector and that all brokers have a voice which is undeniably represented and heard. For more information, visit

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Robyn Beath, Astute Gippsland

FINALISTS Darryl Bevan, Direct Financial James Florance, Mortgage Choice North Lakes and Redcliffe Maria Nicoli, Loan Market Caroline Springs Maxine Farmer, Maxon Finance Richard Wright, V Home Loans

WITH A career spanning two decades in banking, specialising in small business, home and personal lending, Robyn Beath is driven to not only secure the best possible financial solutions for her clients, but also to help and support them through their journey. While her core business is residential lending, Beath also offers commercial and equipment finance; general, business, and health insurance; and broader financial advice. Beath helps her clients prioritise their financial goals and helps them integrate better practices if necessary, including budgeting, planning for the future and ensuring the right insurance. All her clients are offered loan and income protection via ALI Group and an introduction to a financial planner.

“It’s just an amazing night, and I’m privileged to be here”

Shareek Mohammed, Aussie Home Loans


Tony Bice, Finance Made Easy

Finance broker, Astute Gippsland


Huy Truong ALI Group

Robyn Beath Astute Gippsland

ALI Group is a leading provider of loan and mortgage protection to Australian home and property buyers via mortgage brokers. Since 2003, we’ve protected more than 163,000 Australians with almost $44bn in cover. For more information, visit


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Mark Davis, The Australian Lending and Investment Centre

FINALISTS Amy Small, Professional Lending Solutions Clemens Zhang, Ayers Financial Group Daniel Green, Green Finance Group Jigar Modi, Small Business Loans Hub Jonathan Preston, Home Loan Experts Margaret Wilcock, MW Mortgage & Wealth Tada Souvannavong, Iconic Financial Services


MARK DAVIS focuses solely on investment lending to clients who want to create wealth and improve their overall financial position and who value strategic lending expertise. This niche, and his approach to it, has given him a book worth $1.2bn. Amidst the market challenges of 2018, Davis saw changes to interest-only repayment policies, market concerns brought on by the royal commission, a reduced appetite for lending, concerns about changes to negative gearing and capital gains tax, and increased verification rigour. To overcome the challenges of the past year in the broking sector, he engaged with a larger investment lending panel, which he says enabled him to get some of the lowest investment rates he has ever seen.

“[I’m] very privileged, and I’m very lucky… It’s a good award to win” MARK DAVIS Principal/mortgage broker, ALIC

Brett Conway Pepper Money

Mark Davis ALIC

Pepper Money is a people-focused brand, providing a refreshingly real-life approach to lending across home loans, car loans, equipment finance and personal loans. We work with all sorts of people and businesses, from blue-collar to blue-chip. Whatever the circumstances, we take a uniquely flexible, human approach, assessing each person’s situation individually. Since 2001, we have helped well over 100,000 Australians achieve their financial goals, and we live our mission in everything we do, every day: to help people succeed. For more information, visit

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Simplicity Loans & Advisory

FINALISTS Aqua Door Home Loans Birdie Wealth Essendon Finance Innovative Home Loans Red Door Financial Group Red10 Finance Small Business Loans Hub

FOUNDED IN 2017, Simplicity Loans & Advisory has performed well beyond its size, having settled more than $500m in its first two years. Mostly focused on commercial lending, it offers property investment and development finance, working capital, SMSF lending and low-doc loans. Made up of nine members, ranging from experienced senior commercial brokers to innovative university graduates, the team is well equipped to deal with any need that arises. The brokerage has already been a finalist in the FAST Business Excellence Awards for NSW Commercial Broker of the Year in 2018 and a finalist in the Finance category at the Small Business Champion Awards.

“Everything that we’ve done in our business is about the customer service and making sure that we really deliver on the promises” JEAN-PIERRE GORTAN Managing director, Simplicity Loans & Advisory


Matt Johnson Simplicity Loans & Advisory

Jean-Pierre Gortan Simplicity Loans & Advisory

NextGen.Net is Australia’s leading technology solution provider to the lending industry, focused on delivering quality products and services to a range of banks, non-bank lenders and brokers. Our objective is to provide smarter solutions for now and what’s next – delivering best-in-class software as a service (SaaS) and leading the market in quality management and processing efficiencies. For more information, visit


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Mortgage Choice Morphett Vale

FINALISTS Astute Melbourne City South and Gippsland Ayers Financial Group Loan Market Picton Option Finance Australia

DIVERSIFICATION IS a buzzword that gets thrown around too much, but Mortgage Choice Morphett Vale has proven just how valuable it can be. Five years ago, the group recognised the value of providing a holistic service to customers and building a diversified revenue stream, so it expanded into financial planning by adding a qualified financial adviser. Since diversifiying, the brokerage has seen significant revenue growth, achieving year-on-year growth averaging 18.8%. Over that time, its residential mortgages have decreased by $15.3m, which highlights the necessity of diversifying. Owners Jamie Christie and Scott Bament have seen a number of other benefits from doing so, including stronger relationships with customers and the wider community as they continue to offer a wider range of financial services.

Small Business Loans Hub Successful Ways Supra Finance and Property Group

“I think it’s been a tremendous event, and we feel very fortunate to have won” JAMIE CHRISTIE Mortgage broker, Mortgage Choice Morphett Vale

Kristie De Pol Mortgage Choice


Clive Kirkpatrick Vow Financial

Jamie Christie Mortgage Choice Morphett Vale

Vow Financial partners with ambitious and driven people who don’t just want to grow their businesses, but transform them by offering brokers the key ingredients needed for success. Technology is at the forefront of who we are and what we provide. Our brokers have access to one of the most advanced and integrated lending and CRM platforms within our industry, reducing time and increasing efficiencies. In keeping with our philosophy of empowering brokers, we provide access to a dedicated compliance and governance team and diversified product range, as well as our cutting-edge e-learning platform, giving brokers more opportunities to secure more clients, whilst supporting them at all stages of their careers. For more information, visit


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Astute Gippsland

FINALISTS Aussie Queanbeyan Go Mortgage Mates Rates Mortgage Brokers Mortgage Choice Erina Mortgage Choice Nowra Regional Finance Solutions Tungsten Home Loans

TRANSITIONING FROM a family brokerage back in 2013, Josh Egan began Astute Gippsland as a sole operator before being joined by his twin brother, Nick, in 2015. The brokerage offers a wide range of financial services, including residential lending, commercial and vehicle equipment finance, insurance, and advice in areas like superannuation and investment. A truly regional brokerage, the Egan brothers support the community around them through sponsorships of local charities and sporting clubs. Through their hard work in ensuring they offer the very best, the brokerage has built up a reputation for professionalism, honesty and business ethics.

“It’s been great! We’ve won some awards tonight, so we’re happy” NICK EGAN Mortgage broker, Astute Gippsland

Nick Egan Astute Gippsland



George Smith-Roberts, Home Loans

HIGHLY COMMENDED Narelle Kerstan, Gloss Finance

FINALISTS Amy Small, Professional Lending Solutions Craig Russell, Priority 1 Lending George Mihalopoulos, Connected Finance Jarred Spurr, Sphere Finance Robyn Beath, Astute Gippsland Trent Lee, Mates Rates Mortgage Brokers

UNDERSTANDING THAT members of regional communities can feel like they have limited options when it comes to finance, George Smith-Roberts takes pride in his service and dedication to those clients. With a customer-driven business, he doesn’t mind spending hours on the road to ensure he meets his clients face-to-face. Growing his business in the Lismore and Casino community, SmithRoberts has continued to increase his settled loan numbers and volume in 2019. He also ensures that his team continues to work together to ensure the best possible finance journey for clients, believing that referrals are an important part of being a mortgage broker.

“Very awesome. Very happy indeed” GEORGE SMITH-ROBERTS Mortgage broker, Home Loans

Robynne Frost Suncorp

George SmithRoberts Home Loans

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Loan Market Bayside



OVERCOMING THE challenges seen in the residential lending market, Loan Market Bayside has ensured its profile, service, efficiencies and lender knowledge mitigated any downturn. The brokerage has also partnered with more than 50 real estate agents across Melbourne to improve its service offering and referrals. Going one step further, Loan Market Bayside has also developed its own app to make the referral process simpler for those real estate agents. The app allows referrers to see when the client has been contacted and every other milestone that follows.


“It’s getting harder and harder to win these awards because people are getting so good”

InReach Finance


Aussie Queanbeyan Birdie Wealth

Mortgage Lending Specialists (MLS Finance)

Mortgage broker/director, Loan Market Bayside

PFS Financial Services Small Business Loans Hub

Madison Utley Australian Broker

Zippy Financial Group

Josh Bartlett Loan Market Bayside



Home Loan Experts

FINALISTS Acceptance Finance Oxygen Home Loans Red Rock Group Shore Financial The Australian Lending and Investment Centre

HAVING GROWN for more than a decade now, Home Loan Experts has a team of 23 mortgage brokers, led by managing director Otto Dargan. But the team doesn’t stop there – it also has more than 100 staff based out of Nepal helping the brokerage with its rapid growth. The brokers at Home Loan Experts pride themselves on being more than salespeople, instead viewing themselves as credit experts working to get the tough deals through. Their target markets include nonresidents, the self-employed, unusual employment, impaired credit, low deposit and guarantor loans.

“This is, for us, the most important award, and it just says to us that our peers have recognized what we’ve done” OTTO DARGAN Managing director, Home Loan Experts

Otto Dargan Home Loan Experts

Natasha Kelso BOQ Broker


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Empower Wealth Mortgage Advisory

FINALISTS 1st Street Financial Astute Melbourne City South and Gippsland Entourage Finance Loan Market – One Network Broking Loan Studio Mortgage Choice Melbourne My Home Loan Option Finance Australia Simplicity Loans & Advisory

GOING ONE step further for its clients, Empower Wealth Mortgage Advisory takes a holistic approach with a purpose to educate, guide and transform its clients “to long-term financial peace”. The brokerage specialises predominantly in investment lending, so it is no stranger to the challenges the lending industry has seen over the past 18 months. Nevertheless, it continued to see growth and recognition of its excellent customer service. Rather than let the challenges defeat it, Empower Wealth did a number of things to enhance its value proposition. It launched a cloud-based Money Management Solution in conjunction with a best-selling book, Make Money Simple Again, to educate its clients and provide them with the tools to manage their money. It has also produced a podcast with more than 4.5m downloads and continues to train its brokers and provide them with resources and support.

“It’s a really proud moment for me, but really for the team. It’s terrific to see the fruit of all the work that they’ve done manifest through this” JAMIE SINCLAIR CEO, Empower Wealth Mortgage Advisory


Bluestone is a fast-growing non-bank specialising in home loans for borrowers in Australia and New Zealand who require solutions not offered by the big banks. Since launching in 2000, Bluestone has assisted over 53,000 borrowers and has more than $9bn in assets under management.

Craig Meale Bluestone

For more information, visit Jamie Sinclair Empower Wealth Mortgage Advisory

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FINALISTS MoneyPlace Prospa SocietyOne Wisr

SINCE LAUNCHING in Australia in 2015 after continued success in the United States, OnDeck has gone from strength to strength. With a real passion for the SME market, the lender has focused on how it can deliver quick and easy solutions for its customers. The fintech continues to develop and evolve and recently introduced its proprietary SME credit scoring system, OnDeck Score. This allows OnDeck to quickly and accurately assess the creditworthiness of a business, while giving the business owner the benefit of a simple application process. OnDeck continuously listens to feedback from its customers and brokers, adapting its technological capabilities to provide new services in response. This includes the expansion of its equipment finance solution to help SMEs who wanted loan terms to match the lifespan of equipment, as well as a free credit score calculator on its website.

“Last year was fantastic; this year’s bigger and better than ever. The energy in the room is fantastic” MICHAEL BURKE Head of sales, OnDeck


Michael Burke OnDeck

Brendan Wright FAST

FAST fosters a culture of diversity and commercial acumen, helping our business partners lead innovation and shape the industry. We’re committed to investing in brokers and their businesses so together we can grow and succeed in new markets. For more information, visit


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Home Loan Experts

FINALISTS Astute Gippsland Empower Wealth Mortgage Advisory Loan Market Bayside Mortgage Choice Morphett Vale Simplicity Loans & Advisory

HAVING ALREADY won the award for Brokerage of the Year (> 20 Staff ), Home Loan Experts was selected by the judges as Australian Brokerage of the Year. Placing a heavy emphasis on customer satisfaction, the group has seen its settlement Net Promoter Score (NPS) sit at 80. Never forgetting the importance of the customer, it measures its NPS at various points throughout the customer’s journey – at the first interaction, when the loan settles and when a client engages the customer care team. Communication is also vital, and the brokerage’s support team prides itself on giving continual updates, “even if nothing has happened”.

“We thought we wouldn’t win the first award, and then when we won that, we were absolutely speechless. And then before I could sit down, we won this one, so we’re over the moon” OTTO DARGAN Managing director, Home Loan Experts


John Moynahan Liberty Otto Dargan Home Loan Experts

Liberty is a free-thinking finance company that offers innovative solutions at competitive prices to support customers with greater choice. Over the past 22 years, this approach has seen more than 350,000 customers get financial with Liberty across home, car and business loans, as well as SMSF lending and insurance products. For more information, visit

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Mark Davis, The Australian Lending and Investment Centre

FINALISTS Damian Medici, Damian Medici Loan Market George Smith-Roberts, Home Loans Josh Egan, Astute Melbourne City South and Gippsland Robyn Beath, Astute Gippsland

AFTER TWO other award wins during the evening, Mark Davis of The Australian Lending and Investment Centre clinched the award for Australian Broker of the Year. While Davis had taken a step back from the limelight over the last couple of years, he is no stranger to winning top broker awards. Having been an MPA Top 100 broker many times, he knows what it takes to build an exceptional business and relationship with his clients.

“This is such a hard time and a hard year with all the red tape and changes and everything going on. It’s great to achieve recognition” MARK DAVIS Principal/mortgage broker, ALIC

Mark Davis ALIC


Sarah Willsallen Westpac

We are people always helping people. Westpac is Australia’s first bank. A company built on hard work and the Australian spirit. We have 200 years of experience proudly supporting Australia. But it’s not the years that count, it’s the perspective we’ve gained. Our experience gives us a deep understanding of what really matters. A human connection born of empathy and support for the people of Australia. Help is deeply embedded in the DNA of this country, and our idea of help grows directly out of his national identity. Help when it matters is what Australians do. It’s always been part of what we do. For more information, visit


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Profile for Key Media

Mortgage Professional Australia 19.11  

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