A complex and competitive mortgage market means customers are seeking human contact more than ever, despite the emergence of online players, says the boss of Australia’s biggest brokerage.
A closer look at The Adviser’s Top 25 Brokerages ranking, released this week, shows Australia’s national franchise groups still hold the largest loan books and write the most volumes of any other outfit in the industry.
Aussie Home Loans maintained its number one position after the group’s 1,094 brokers wrote 55,287 loans over the 2016 financial year. However, the ranking also saw eight new entrants including iSelect, which achieved 13th place and boasts a loan book of $937 million.
“We look at iSelect and we have much respect for the business and the team there,” Aussie chief executive James Symond told The Adviser.
“There are a number of new players that are certainly using technology to be their entry into the marketplace. We are keeping a keen eye on that,” Mr Symond said.
“But our business is one that is still growing very strongly and the industry is still growing very strongly by being belly-to-belly, face-to-face,” he said.
“As the industry gets more complicated and more competitive, consumers are needing more hand holding. Today in the Australian marketplace that is something that is done belly-to-belly, face-to-face. We don’t see that changing materially anytime real soon.
“Certainly, change is the one constant in life and you would think technology will play a far more material piece in the industry but I think that is some way off.”
Smartline Personal Mortgage Advisers was ranked third in The Adviser’s Top 25 Brokerages with a $25 billion loan book and $6.2 billion in total volumes over FY16.
The group had the highest broker productivity ($20.1 million) of the three largest brokerages: Mortgage Choice, ranked 2nd, had brokers writing an average $19.9 million in volumes over the year while the average Aussie broker wrote $16.7 million.
Last month REA Group, the parent company of realestate.com.au, announced plans to acquire 80.3 per cent of Smartline for $67 million, giving the company a valuation of $83.4 million.
[ELITE BROKER: SPECIAL EPISODE Top 25 Brokerages revealed]
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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