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Digital disruption not a threat, brokers say

by Francesca Krakue10 minute read

The majority of brokers don’t consider digital disruption to be a significant business challenge in 2017, a recent survey has revealed.

The survey of 70 brokers conducted by lender HomeStart Finance found that only 1 per cent of respondents considered ‘the threat of digital disruption’ to be a business challenge this year.

Instead, many brokers believe the top challenges are market conditions (35 per cent), product restrictions (27 per cent) and finding new customers/competition from other brokers (22 per cent).

HomeStart Finance chief executive officer John Oliver said the results were surprising, particularly given the growth of online lending platforms in recent years.


“These disruptive platforms are generally free and allow lenders to bid for home loans in real time, enabling customers to watch as lenders drive down each other’s rates,” he said.

“One online lending platform that launched in 2016 saw more than $43 million worth of home loans put through its system in its first two weeks of operation,” he continued.

“This shows Australian home buyers have an appetite for online lending platforms and their enthusiasm will only increase over time as they become more confident and trusting in the use of these products.”

Mr Oliver observed that brokers may not currently feel challenged by digital disruptors is because they believe the opportunity for home buyers to meet face-to-face with a lender outweighs the convenience of online lending platforms.

“A recent survey by HomeStart showed that 74 per cent of first home buyers would prefer to meet in person with a lender rather than using various forms of technology,” he pointed out.

Notably, only 1 per cent of the brokers surveyed saw ‘supporting existing customers’ as a significant business challenge, which Mr Oliver emphasised as an aspect of mortgage broking that “shouldn’t be ignored”.

“Keep in mind that word of mouth can never be overrated. Being trustworthy and offering a good service to your clients will result in them recommending you to their friends and family, or being the first choice when they buy their next home or an investment property,” he said.

“Staying at the front of mind of existing customers is another key way to receive referrals and their future business.”

[Related: Digital disruption ‘massively oversold’, says former CBA exec]