When I decided to strike out alone as an individual broker, the biggest decision I had was which aggregator was I going to join?
So I met with quite a few aggregator BDMs and took advice from brokers and other brokerages to see what would fit with that first chapter of my new adventure. Then, based on my own personal broking tenets, these were the game-changer items that gave me that final lightbulb moment of knowing where I needed to go:
- Look for a CRM system that will support your own natural servicing style
- The customer always comes first! So I wanted a system which offered the platform to automatically set reminders to contact clients at every milestone of the loan process e.g. anniversaries, birthdays, interest only and fixed-rate expiry dates.
- Time-saving is critical for me so the ability to streamline the process of inputting data and transfers was paramount.
- Finally, look at how well the CRM system supports you in preparing the ongoing flow of information you need for your clients.
- Compare the period of time to keep trail
- Each aggregator has period of time that you must be with them to keep 50 per cent-100 per cent of trail. Some aggregators won’t allow you to move your trail on to the next place, or cut your trail, so find out their individual policy from the onset.
- What are the monthly costs?
- The aggregator will charge a percentage of the loan as part of the cost or a monthly set fee. You will find there’s a sweet spot, depending on your numbers, which will then help make this a relatively black and white decision.
- Can you obtain leads if required?
- Many aggregators are now offering leads, at a large commission and trail cut, so research where and how they are obtained. People promise leads but I would say not many deliver. Determine the quality of any lead program the aggregator offers.
- Have a closer look at the brokers that are already there
- It’s not hard to find out which aggregator the top brokers are in. There’s a reason they’re there and why they support a certain aggregator, so don’t be afraid to ask around from brokers you admire.
- What support can you expect from the aggregator team?
- How much training, information and support do you receive? PD days etc.
- Do they genuinely care, or are they just what I term ‘standard suit’ people?
- How much industry experience in lending is in that team? Having people who have never been brokers or work in the industry looking after you is not in your best interest.
- Does the aggregator fit your business style?
- Personally, I like a family style culture, where they’re receptive to good ideas, are flexible and where continual improvement in all aspects of the business is valued. Getting the right ‘fit’ should start from the moment you walk in that front door.
I hope these points have helped anyone else who may be looking around for an aggregator and that you find a place that supports how you want to live your own professional adventure!
Hank "The Bank" Hong has been in the residential and commercial lending industry since 2002 and has recently opened his own brokerage with eChoice.