Regional brokers ‘massively important’ to rural communities

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An award-winning regional broker has revealed that mortgage professionals are playing an increasingly critical role for Australians living in rural and remote locations.

Speaking to The Adviser, Joanne Dillon of Smartline Roxby Downs stressed that mortgage brokers are “massively important” for residents of regional towns and communities.

“We are the connectors between what’s on offer in the city, and what can be on offer rurally,” she said.

“As regional brokers, we work to the same ethics, we have access to the same products, services, interest rates and bank promotions as any metropolitan broker; we are the connector between what they’re physically missing out on by not being in the city.”

Ms Dillon, who was recently crowned South Australia’s Best Regional Broker at The Adviser’s Better Business Awards, explained that brokers play a critical role for regional residents, as they “bring opportunities to them that are not represented in their own town”.

In light of this, Ms Dillon highlighted that although the regional market tends to be “discounted as not-for-value or not as important”, it is teeming with opportunity for mortgage professionals.

“I'm in a remote mining town and I've always viewed it as having a town full of busy professionals that are time poor, as you would have in any metro area," she said.

“It's about viewing each client as an important business person that has needs just like anybody else. Rural people have just the same needs as metro, it's probably just delivered in a different format.”

Further, Ms Dillon underscored that one of the biggest misconceptions about regional brokers is that they don’t work as hard as those based in capital cities.

“My biggest bugbear is that our achievements or milestones are [seen as having] less importance, or that we are somewhat less experienced and/or capable.

“Because our volumes may not be as large and because our average loan sizes are smaller, we're deemed to be working less, when in fact, because our loan size is smaller, we re in fact probably work harder. We would be submitting twice as many deals for the same result," she said.

“We are constantly networking and reinventing ourselves within a small community to always remain fresh and vibrant. That takes work.”

Ms Dillon’s comments come after NSW Broker of the Year Ian Robinson told The Adviser that the best part of his job as a regional broker is the opportunity to have a positive influence in a tough regional environment.

“It's been probably one of the most rewarding journeys and fulfilling in the sense that we actually feel like we're making a tangible difference in the marketplace,” he said.

“We're finding that we're not only saving farming families' livelihoods in some circumstances, but also helping the industry grow and become more efficient. Being a part of that journey on an intimate level with the owners of the business is one of the most rewarding tasks that we could be a part of.

“It's a privilege and we're very humbled and very lucky to be in a position to be able to do that.”

[Related: Broker of the Year flourishing in tough regional market]

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