While this year has seen a wave of increased activity for brokers, it has also seen plenty of change – which is why a good aggregator is essential in the current environment says Andrea McNaughton. MPA spoke with the Loan Market executive director - network success about the qualities that make an exceptional aggregator and the ways the 2019 AMA winning Loan Market stands out from the crowd.
The centrepiece of its offering
As Aggregator of the Year (over 500 brokers) at last year’s Australian Mortgage Awards, it is easy to see why Loan Market topped the rest when it came to its service proposition.
Not only is its award-winning MyCRM considered the leading technology platform in the country, says McNaughton, it is also the centrepiece of its offering; powering every part of LM brokers’ business “The Loan Market Way.”
“Even before COVID-19 changed our lives through Zoom calls and digital VOI, Loan Market had already created a network of paperless offices catering to the modern customer.”
She says LM also developed a bespoke BID solution integrating technology with compliance.
“The Loan Market Way is the culmination of client and broker research, consultation, regulatory compliance and user experience design.”
Brokers are offered a wholly digital experience, right from the start of a new relationship with a client, through to post settlement marketing – encompassing every step in between.
“Ensuring Loan Market’s brokers are at the forefront of digital innovation means they’re able to adapt and capitalise faster than others.”
Attributes of an exceptional aggregator
Culture and leadership are important qualities to consider when choosing an aggregator, says McNaughton.
“Over the last few years, our executive chairman Sam White has been a strong advocate of Loan Market business owners at times of challenge and uncertainty.”
“Communication with the network about regulatory change and how Loan Market answered the challenges was a high priority for Sam and our brokers appreciated it.”
Professional development and guidance are also areas that LM has excelled in.
“We have a multitude of communities that enable brokers and their support teams to get the right support and guidance they need from both corporate and their fellow network members. We facilitate professional communities for our client service managers, new business owners and our hugely popular Leading Ladies program.”
Loan Market also offers a unique franchise agreement that allows brokers to walk away after 14 days’ notice while retaining full rights to their trail, if the aggregator doesn’t live up to the standards it promises.
“There are no lock-in contracts. Because brokers are not ‘tied in’ to Loan Market, the brand needs to constantly demonstrate value to its members.”
Adapting to change
While the pandemic has created a wave of new activity for brokers, thus increasing market share for the channel, it has also brought plenty of stress. Brokers have found themselves growing their teams and hiring support staff while streamlining their processes as part of a rapid digital transformation.
“A good aggregator is so important in the current environment because change can be overwhelming.”
“Change and adaptation can pose challenges in time, security, goals and more.”
She adds that brokers turn to aggregators for leadership, training and support to grow a bigger business.
“Brokers need more support staff to help navigate added requirements and extra volumes. They want an aggregator who will develop their staff into being highly-trained in technology, customer service and generally become quality assets for their business.”
“We’re both a partner and an aggregator for our businesses – and prioritise our offering in that order.”
Supporting brokers over the coming year
The next 12 months will see the implementation of BID, representing the biggest shift in brokers’ activity for some time, says McNaughton.
“But we welcome it rather than fear it.”
“BID brings with it added compliance and regulatory procedures. But there’s a host of opportunities at the same time which we’re looking to harness for our brokers, making our service offering and appeal stronger than you’d find at a bank.”
“Subsequently, Loan Market has developed the BID Risk Assessment Report. It hones-in on the group’s file processes, lender spreads, interest-only owner-occupier loans, accreditations and other potential risk indicators, drilling down to an individual broker level.”
Following the Federal Budget announcement last week, Loan Market believes brokers are set to be in high demand over the next 12 months.
“The Federal Government has set a Budget that supports real estate construction – and with interest rates set at record lows there’s a lot of interest from the marketplace.”
“Our affiliate Ray White recorded a bumper start to spring with $4.87b worth of home sales in September, underlining the demand.”
“Our Broker Success Managers (BSMs) will have a dual focus: coaching network members through the changes that BID requires and helping them grow their team with Loan Market Way trained staff, and assisting brokers to capitalise on market conditions by helping to drive leads through referral partnerships, refinancing and pre-approving buyers.”