"We need to start thinking bigger"

The past couple of years haven’t been without challenge in the world of mortgage broking, but with a collaborative approach, Caroline Jean-Baptiste believes brokers can work towards better efficiencies and stronger businesses.

The Mortgage Choice broker and author of Buy that house: how kickass women make it happen told MPA that innovation was key to keeping the broking industry thriving over time.

“We need to start thinking bigger as individuals to see how we can collaborate for more efficient and profitable businesses, all while improving the customer experience,” she said. “In recent years, we have all needed to spend more time on compliance, research and submission quality while facing extraordinary turnaround times from lenders.”

Brokers are currently inundated with business; many working long hours to stay on top of demand or turning away leads because they have reached working capacity, she said. This, when coupled with the challenge of navigating new compliance requirements, could be a recipe for either burnout or making unnecessary mistakes, but Jean-Baptiste said there were solutions available to explore.

“Having solid systems in place to manage higher lead volumes, additional research required, and increased compliance will take some of the pressure off, but those looking for a sustainable growing business long term need to consider the outsourced resources available, or to hire within their business,” she said.

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She added that providing education was the biggest opportunity for brokers; the recent implementation of best interest duty doing much to cement brokers’ role in lending as trusted advisors.

“As brokers, we are experts in lending and have the greatest opportunity to educate our customers,” she said. “We have a duty to educate them to ensure we have their best interests in mind, and in our ongoing service, we can educate them in responsible home ownership, how to leverage their equity, when to know to refinance and everything we are already great at. The relationships we have built throughout our careers are where the opportunity sits now.”

In order to leverage these opportunities, Jean-Baptiste recommended brokers step outside their comfort zones and call their existing customers.

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“Ask for referrals, check to see that they are not sitting on lazy equity, help them sell their home by using your networks, make sure they have a wealth strategy in place,” she said. “There is so much value in opening the conversation beyond the transaction to show we care.”