9 James Hasselle, Mortgage Choice

Mortgage Choice, Miami and Burleigh Heads
Aggregator: Mortgage Choice
Gold Coast, Qld
Total value of residential loans FY2017/18: $141,069,584
Total number of residential loans FY2017/18: 703

In 18 years of broking, James Hasselle says this is the hardest lending environment he’s ever experienced.

“The biggest challenge has been the change in lender servicing and the time it takes for the bank to go through and process an application, and sometimes they’re a little bit too one-sided,” he says.

Turnaround times, credit assessment and the lenders’ interpretation of their own policies have all been affected, and sometimes even the lenders realise they’ve gone too far. Some turnaround times for the bigger lenders have blown out to between seven and nine days, he says.

It’s now more important than ever for brokers to set their clients’ expectations. “We’re literally saying, it’s going to be a tough journey. We’re still getting them approved, but expect us to potentially come back with questions.”

While his team has always done a lot of client discovery, now it’s about making sure that’s all properly documented for lenders. They've also bolstered internal processes and started using new technology to keep in touch with clients and make sure they’re booked in for their annual home loan ‘health checks’. They're educating clients about what changes they need to make to prepare for positive credit reporting.

“At the moment, it’s never been harder to get a loan and it’s never been tougher to understand it. Just normal Aussie mum-and-dads find it hard to understand how complex it has now become, and this is where we can basically help the customer more,” he says.

While all this has been going down, Hasselle has also been helping another franchisee transition into retirement. He’s taken over the running of that business, expanding his footprint on the Gold Coast.

“I’ve done this a long time and I still enjoy it. I still love it ... and I’m passionate about what we do and how we do it, and how we can improve it and be part of financing Australia.”

How to retain staff

Hasselle believes the key to this is allowing sta­ to have a business within a business, so it’s in their interest to look after their clients so they keep coming back. That has yielded results, with generations of family loyalty and word-of-mouth referrals.