How this broker settled construction loan in one week during COVID-19

Cameron Price has experienced a whirlwind of change since starting out as a broker in 2006.

After the surviving the GFC and the Royal Commission, he has since gone on to help clients navigate the finance challenges of COVID-19.

MPA spoke with the Melbourne broker about a recent client scenario that gave him many sleepless nights but had a happy ending.

Footie friends gave him the opportunity

Price became a Mortgage Choice broker in 2006 after his now business partners approached him with the opportunity.

“I’d known them for quite a while because we’d been playing district football together for a number of years,” he says.

“I also used the guys when I bought my first place in 2004.”

After working in a data networking role at AAPT for several years he decided it was time for a change and came on board at the franchise.

An industry of change

Over the past 14 years, the industry has gone through many fluctuations. Price says while many external events stand out for him, he hasn’t personally gone through any major challenges in the role.

“The GFC happened just after I started, that was a massive challenge, especially with what happened with commissions.”

“Then we’ve had the banking Royal Commission, we’ve had what’s happening now – but I don’t think there’s been just one challenge for me personally.”

“It’s just continually trying to adapt to change.”

“You’ve got to have a really good team around you to manage that.”

Settled in one week

He recalls a very recent scenario in which a client was close to settlement on a construction loan.

“The builder cost was significant – it was $2.7m for the construction. It was also low doc which made it quite specialised.”

“These clients were in a catering business; they would organise lunches for kids at schools.”

“When the schools shut down, obviously the lender got very concerned.”

“The valuation was about to run out and the lender was pulling the product on a certain date.”

To make matters more stressful, the clients had already knocked down their existing property and the building permit hadn’t been issued yet.

The lender gave them one week to settle.

“The other bank that was holding the existing mortgage hadn’t received the discharge.”

“The way this lender had structured it, the clients funds had to happen at settlement rather than the start of construction – so they had to find $450,000 cash to make this happen.”

“So, within a week, they had to find $450,000 and we had to make sure the outgoing lender was going to refinance.”

All this occurred in the lead up to the labour day long weekend, with settlement due on the Tuesday.

“Thankfully the clients were amazing.”

They were able to borrow money from a family member and ended up on the phone to the outgoing lender after it had said it wasn’t ready to settle. The client managed to get the loan settled that day and the builder successfully got a permit after liaising with the local council.

“I had several sleepless nights over that product and that scenario.”

“Everyone just pulled in the right direction to make it happen. We were certainly all happy when it did.”