Characteristics of top commercial brokers

MPA asks a range of lenders what the best commercial brokers have in common and how the space has changed in the last 12 months. 

MPA: What characterises the best commercial brokers you deal with?
Thinktank
It is generally a combination of qualities …Chief among them are a good knowledge of finance and debt, an ability to identify transactions and bring them together, a strong affi nity with their client and that client’s needs as they develop over time, having a core of two to three strong lender relationships they can turn to in different situations, and probably, above all, an ability to not only see things in advance but to quickly adapt when the circumstances in front of them might change. The most successful brokers never seem to get flustered; they keep it objective and focus on producing the best end result for all of their clients. 

Liberty Financial
For a start, every residential mortgage broker selling commercial finance has been open-minded enough to recognise the high value of diversifying their business and trying something new. There are two key things a broker needs to do to stay competitive: be innovative and relevant. Those brokers who are looking at ways to broaden their business, so they can sell more and have more reasons to connect with customers, are destined for greater success. 

NAB Broker
The best commercial brokers are those who have great customer conversations and thus build strong credibility. If a broker really gets to understand their customer’s business goals, as well as the ins and outs of their business, they are able to compile a very compelling loan proposal that does justice to the customer and their business. 

La Trobe Financial
We see the most rapid growth for fi nance brokers, both residential and commercial, coming from those who are inquisitive and hungry to try new things … Specialist lending is a great conduit to achieving these outcomes as it allows brokers to cater for more events over a client’s journey, and that is not just limited to ‘credit events’ where they may hit a bump or two along the way. Through innovation, specialist lenders are able to provide products that cater specifically for particular market segments, such as our recently launched Aged  Care loan … finance brokers can ensure their clients remain clients for life.

ING DIRECT
Knowing and ‘owning’ their customer. They can quickly identify the strengths and weaknesses of a proposal or a customer’s business. On the back of this they’re not scared to ask the hard questions. They know that if they don’t, the bank will. It’s all about open communication.

Suncorp
The best commercial brokers are ambitious and strong home loan brokers with self-employed customers who have the desire to have deeper conversations to explore small business opportunities. Brokers need to be able to take a holistic view of their customer’s business to truly take on the role of a trusted adviser and achieve a long-term relationship. 

ANZ
The top commercial brokers are passionate about helping customers. At ANZ we share this philosophy and are right behind our accredited brokers to ensure they win with their customer. 

MPA: What’s changed in the commercial lending space over the last 12 months?
NAB Broker
Over the last 12 months there has been renewed appetite from the SME business community for commercial lending. The climate for commercial lending is favourable in Australia, with the April NAB Monthly Business Survey indicating conditions are well above average levels for the past year, at +9 index points. The commercial lending space has also been shaped by regulatory changes. We would encourage brokers to consider these changes as an opportunity to build stronger customer relationships.

Thinktank
Across the board, commercial lenders have been a lot more accessible and flexible in the way they approach the market, engage with brokers and stimulate new business opportunities, which has been encouraging to see. There has also been a tremendous amount of profoundly good work being done by aggregators in supporting commercial business through programs advancing broker skills and knowledge development, while working closely with lenders to bring industry participants together more eff ectively. In the last six months there has been some selective adjustment to policy and pricing by a number of lenders as the wholesale cost of funds increases and concern for the broader property market is taking hold. 

ING DIRECT
The noise around diversifying into commercial lending has become louder. Brokers have seen residential investment lending soften, and they need to make up volume elsewhere. Aggregators continue to forecast strong growth in commercial lending, and at ING DIRECT our volumes increased by 38% last year.

La Trobe Financial
For us, it has clearly been the increase in the overall size of the commercial lending opportunity. It has grown signifi cantly as demand for commercial property has lifted, both from SMEs looking to purchase the premises from which they operate their businesses (particularly in SMSF structures), to investors looking to take advantage of the higher yields commercial property offers…
All of this has been compounded by the recent regulatory changes which have resulted in some lenders tightening their overall appetite for commercial and investment loans generally, which pleasingly for us has resulted in the origination of a high proportion of what are traditionally known as ‘bank deals’.

Suncorp
The market is increasingly competitive, with SMEs becoming an area of increased growth and focus for many major and non-major banks moving forward. Banks will continue to off er strong, competitive off ers in the SME lending space, which will open more opportunities for brokers who can offer the whole package.  

Liberty Financial 
The finance industry has obviously gone through a lot of change in the last 12 months, particularly with banks restricting their investment lending. As a result, the demand for Liberty’s products, in both the commercial and residential investment space, has increased signifi cantly. As SMSF lending gains popularity as well, we’re seeing more borrowers looking to buy commercial property through their SMSFs. 

ANZ
It has become considerably more competitive, which is providing customers with lots of options. At ANZ we have been focused on deepening customer relationships rather than just chasing single transactions. 

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