After last year’s Top 10 Commercial Brokers report, in which many brokers talked of longer turnaround times and tightening credit appetite, 2019 seemed to turn itself around. Most brokers in this year’s listing have described banks leaning more into small business lending and increasing competition which has led to record-low interest rates.
The last few months have obviously changed things yet again, and brokers are facing new challenges as they cope with shifting appetites and an uncertain economy. The commercial finance space has been particularly affected by the coronavirus pandemic: many businesses across Australia have been forced to close their doors to customers, and while some are able to continue serving in a reduced capacity, there are those that are struggling to keep up with overheads and supply costs, and many have decided to close up completely.
Commercial finance brokers have an incredible role to play here, as more businesses will undoubtedly seek financial help. MPA’s Top 10 Commercial Brokers talk about some of the ways in which they have seen businesses affected, and how they are preparing their own businesses to deal with these changes.
The majority of loans settled by 2020’s top brokers were in development finance, followed by commercial real estate. This was the same proportion as last year, but this year the number of loans for SME finance rose considerably. Making up just 3.6% of our commercial brokers’ loans in 2019, SME finance comprised more than 20% this year, demonstrating the growing appetite of banks and non-banks in this segment, and also the importance of this market.
The value of loans settled also shows the differences in the commercial finance market from a year ago. While the average value of loans in this year’s list was 28% higher, at more than $185m, the lowest value showed a drop of around 17% from the value of loans written by the 10th place broker last year. It was the higher value of loans at the top end of the list that brought up the average, with the number one broker writing 93% more in loans than the number one last year.
Our Top 10 brokers might have had a more positive market to work in before the pandemic hit, but there are other traits they share that have surely secured their places in this year’s list.
Most of these brokers have recognised that specialising in one area of commercial finance does not provide the best service to their clients. While many have broadened their market so they offer a range of different commercial transactions, often bringing on new team members to provide an all-round service, others have expanded further and opened financial planning arms, or are offering solutions for home loans.
Read on to see how each of these brokers is adapting and growing their business, and for their advice on how mortgage brokers can expand their offering too.
Thank you to everyone for sending in their submissions, and particularly to this year’s Top 10 for taking time out to talk about their businesses.
A message from our sponsor
On behalf of La Trobe Financial we would like to officially congratulate the 2020 MPA Top 10 Commercial Brokers for achieving the industry’s most recognised and highly sought-after honour for commercial brokers in Australia. This prestigious list seeks to recognise the highest-performing brokers and highlights the contributions they have made to our industry and within their own communities.
As the industry’s top performers, they have set a benchmark of excellence that can be celebrated, respected and ultimately provide a culture and set of practices that others can aspire towards.
At La Trobe Financial, our purpose since 1952 has been to provide financial solutions to underserved markets, and we are therefore, now more than ever, honoured to support this important sector of our industry. Congratulations once again to these brokers for their significant achievement, and we wish them continued success with their cause to make a difference.
Chief lending officer, La Trobe Financial