Specialist Finance Group has launched a new digital CRM that requires mentors to oversee their mentees’ loan applications.
SFG Connect, Specialist Finance Group’s new client relationship management (CRM) system, has been created in partnership with Salestrekker in a bid to improve transparency and efficiencies between mentor and mentee.
Blake Buchanan, SFG’s head of aggregation, acquisition and strategy, revealed that the system allows mentors to keep track of their mentees’ loan applications, regardless of whether the mentors aggregate under the group.
Mr Buchanan said that while the introduction of a formalised mentor system for brokers was a “good step for the industry” and provided a “way forward when it comes to assurances and training for new-to-industry brokers and their consumers”, he said that in the five years since these rules have been in place, there have been some “gaps” that have been identified in training and processes.
Speaking to The Adviser about the new system, Mr Buchanan elaborated: “Some of the issues with mentoring is that you might have a mentor with a completely separate aggregator. So, when a mentee wants their mentor to review their data, it’s a very manual process where they have to give them access to other drives or email over the full file application and go through it via telephone conversations, etc.
“So, we wanted to take all that out of it and make it very system-driven, very efficient and very cool.”
Once a mentee uploads a deal to SFG’s CRM system, prior to submission to a lender, the mentor is notified via text and email that the mentee has a new application for review.
The mentor can then go through a portal to review the application, make notes and recommendations, and ultimately, if applicable, approve the application to proceed to the next milestone.
The mentor can be anywhere in the world, and as long as they have mobile or internet connectivity, they will have complete oversight over the mentee’s deals.
Mr Buchanan added: “It doesn’t matter which aggregator the mentor is with, or if the mentor isn’t even with an aggregator (for example, if they have their own mentoring business), they can still get a portal log in for the system, and get notified at certain milestones when the deal is there ready for review.
“The mentor can then review their file at their earliest convenience and sign off on it so it can move through to lodgement.”
Mr Buchanan said that SFG’s intention is for mentees to have at least their first 12 deals approved by their mentor before lodgement, with the mentor eventually having the discretion to be able to turn off that functionality once they are comfortable with the mentees’ progress.
The former general manager of aggregation at eChoice added that the group decided to develop a system that assists in accountability and transparency following the ongoing scrutiny and increased accreditation standards in the industry.
“What I have seen change recently is that the big banks are holding the mentors more accountable now, whereas, historically, if a mentee submitted an incorrect or fraudulent loan, the mentor was not culpable,” the aggregation head said.
“That seems to be changing. And we do have a responsibility as aggregators as well to make the industry a little bit more robust around the compliance metric… and we are making it better for the sustainability and future of brokers in Australia.”
Mr Buchanan concluded: “So, how do we enforce behaviour so that the aggregator gets overview, the mentor gets overview and the lenders get comfort knowing that the mentors need to approve every deal? We have built the system to provide it. There are certainly no other CRMs that actually mandate those behaviour[s] and that is why these are a little bit different.
“It is an absolute pleasure to give back to the industry with this initiative and to be working with Salestrekker’s phenomenal team to work on this new system, which I think is best in the industry.”
Speaking on behalf of Salestrekker, CEO and founder Dalibor Ivkovic commented: “We are pleased to have partnered with Specialist Finance Group in developing this new and innovative mentoring capability in SFG Connect and Salestrekker CRM.
“SFG liaised with us around this development and we were able to scope the development together and deliver this within a matter of weeks.”
Mr Ivkovic added: “This new functionality has now been made available to all Salestrekker users and their mentors.
“We continually seek to deliver new digital tools that increase broker productivity and improve compliance and look to partner with digital-savvy brokers who a looking for next-generation broker systems.”
[Related: CBA changes broker segmentation model]