Mortgage Choice and Smartline will operate under one brand, effective in 2022, according to the REA Group.
The REA Group has announced that its broking businesses Mortgage Choice and Smartline will operate under one brand, effective February 2022.
The combined businesses will retain the Mortgage Choice brand, which will see the Smartline brand phasing out following a transition period.
Mortgage Choice and Smartline franchises will continue to operate under their respective brands, transitioning to one brand and one platform from February 2022.
During this time, REA Group will continue to support both Mortgage Choice and Smartline with respective marketing campaigns and lead generation activities, the group said.
In July 2021, Mortgage Choice officially joined the REA Group, which expanded the digital property advertising business’ reach into the mortgage distribution space.
It followed the major brokerage receiving court approval of a scheme of arrangement for REA Group’s proposed $244 million acquisition of the company.
REA’s financial services business already owned Smartline, with the Mortgage Choice acquisition bringing the total number of brokers under the combined group to 940, more than 720 franchises, over 40 lending partners, and a loan book over $84 billion.
Mortgage Choice chief executive Susan Mitchell – who was appointed to lead the combined brokerages in August – commented: “We know our brokers are time poor when it comes to running their businesses and responding to the increased demand for their services. The transition will include rebranding support across the franchise network and a comprehensive training program to ensure minimal disruption to our broking network.
“We are pleased to be able to give our franchise networks certainty around such core elements of their businesses. These are the first major steps in our integration process that will support our ongoing future success.”
In addition, the combined business will move to one broking system by the end of the 2022 calendar year.
More than 900 brokers will use the Broker Platform software, which was originally developed and used by the mortgage business for the past four years.
Ms Mitchell said about the Broker Platform software: “Broker Platform’s market-leading fact find and file management capabilities, along with the ability to integrate with multiple systems, means we can increase broker productivity and create better business outcomes for brokers and their clients.”
Speaking about the brand integration, REA Group chief financial officer and CEO, financial services, Janelle Hopkins said that after conducting “extensive” brand research among consumers and brokers, the group decided to move forward with the Mortgage Choice brand to better position the business for the future.
She said: “For almost 30 years, Mortgage Choice has been a nationally recognised and trusted brand among consumers, synonymous with financial services.
“Uniting all our brokers under the Mortgage Choice brand will support REA’s ambition to create Australia’s leading franchise broking business. While our approach is to retain the Mortgage Choice name, we will leverage the best of the Smartline and Mortgage Choice networks to strongly position over 900 brokers for sustained success under the combined business.
“We see significant opportunities to link REA’s digital capabilities, property insights, and highly engaged audience with our broker network, positioning Mortgage Choice as the leading proposition in market for anyone considering joining a franchise network.”
In July, it was announced that while Ms Mitchell will lead the combined Mortgage Choice and Smartline network and be responsible for the ongoing recruitment of brokers and fostering engagement across the broker network, she will report to Ms Hopkins.
Meanwhile, Sam Boer, who was previously the Smartline CEO, assumed a newly created role as general manager, partnerships and product development, financial services.
[Related: Mortgage Choice officially joins REA Group]