A leading Sydney mortgage broker says technology has become his primary focus after launching an online tool that now generates 20 per cent of his leads.
Ren Wong of N1 Finance, who was ranked number 26 in The Adviser’s 2015 Elite Business Writers list, is looking to further develop his mortgage comparison website in 2016 by enhancing its mobile capability.
In April last year Mr Wong launched Chengdai.com.au, an Australian mortgage comparison website for Chinese buyers. The site is in Mandarin and provides information on a wide range of mortgage products and car loans.
“We have at least 4,000 unique visitors a month,” Mr Wong told The Adviser. “It makes up about 20 per cent of our leads now. It’s important to us because we run on a PAYG model instead of a commission base. The website provides leads to our brokers.”
Mr Wong said most visitors to the site are younger investors or first home buyers, who are comfortable going online to research financial products.
Importantly, the website feeds all of its leads and customer data to N1 Finance, which is where its true value as a business comes into play.
“We treat it as a technology business,” he said. “We need the data from our visitors for us to be able to analyse where we will direct more marketing dollars into richer segments. Capturing that data is very important. It’s not just a mortgage business for us. It’s a technology business.”
One example of how the broker uses this data is by viewing where customers are coming from at a postcode level.
To remain competitive, the website now offers free price estimates through a partnership with Residex. If visitors want a more detailed report, they must register as a member, which gives N1 Finance even greater data on its future customers.
“Technology and fintech is now our main focus,” Mr Wong said. “It has been for over 12 months now.”
“You have to be more than a broker. Mortgage broking is an industry, but is has to become a technology-dominated industry. Otherwise you will be left behind.”
N1 Finance is now developing a mobile related tool for its comparison site after seeing a surge in visitors using their mobile phones.
Last month the group partnered with Seekahome.com.au to launch a new app that allows property owners to create free rental listings within 90 seconds.
Snailapp offers landlords the opportunity to source tenants directly with a built-in messenger service allowing direct contact between tenant and landlord.
James Mitchell has over eight years’ experience as a financial reporter and is the editor of Wealth and Wellness at Momentum Media.
He has a sound pedigree to cover the business of mortgages and the converging financial services sector having reported for leading finance titles InvestorDaily, InvestorWeekly, Accountants Daily, ifa, Mortgage Business, Residential Property Manager, Real Estate Business, SMSF Adviser, Smart Property Investment, and The Adviser.
He has also been published in The Daily Telegraph and contributed online to FST Media and Mergermarket, part of the Financial Times Group.
James holds a BA (Hons) in English Literature and an MA in Journalism.
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