Aussie Liverpool franchisee Evelyn Burton speaks about how she has prepared for the best interests duty and how she navigates the conversation around her pay structure with her clients.
The mortgage broker, who first joined a Wizard store in 1999 before establishing one of the first Aussie stores in Australia when it bought the Wizard franchise network in 2008, said Aussie began preparing for the incoming best interests duty (BID) legislation in August last year.
Ms Burton explained that she and her staff have already implemented the practice of documenting their conversations with their clients.
“When we speak to a client, we let them know: 'Look, we might have 20 lenders on our panel, we’re obviously going to look at what’s going to suit you best. We’re going to compare them for you and then we’re going to give you those options',” she told The Adviser’s Elite Broker podcast.
“And we want to make sure that the options that we’re offering you do suit your needs the best, and making sure that we identify those.”
She and her staff immediately document these conversations to ensure that they have records to show why they made certain decisions and choices for the client.
“We’re always told to work smarter. We’re working harder now to try and get those loans across the line, do the best for the client, and make sure that the client realises that everything that we do, and the choices we make, are based on them,” Ms Burton said.
“Not because it suits me as a broker, not because of anything that I might be earning.”
Ms Burton said she is upfront with her clients about how she earns her money, and encouraged other brokers “not to be frightened” to conduct that conversation with their clients.
She said she explains to her clients that she will not earn any money unless she settles their loan.
She tells them: “The only way I’m going to settle this loan is if I do the right thing by you, if I am the one that shows you the best way and gives you options that makes you happy.
“At the end of the day, if that happens, the lender is then going to thank Aussie for introducing that business to them by way of paying commission.”
She ensures that clients are clear that they do not pay her the commission, nor is it deducted from their loan.
She explains to them that the Aussie brokerage receives the commission, which then pays Aussie Liverpool, which then pays Ms Burton.
“So, I’m going to work hard, work harder than someone sitting there that’s going to earn a salary regardless of what they offer you,” she said.
“I think very few clients don’t realise that we’re being paid commission. They don’t have a problem with it.
“I’ve never had anyone have a problem with that, providing they can see that I’m genuinely trying to do what’s best for them.”
Loan trends during COVID-19
Since the coronavirus pandemic affected Australia and its economy, Ms Burton said she and her brokerage have been engaging in more refinancing work for their clients, as purchasers retreated amid the uncertainty.
Ms Burton said her clients were sitting on pre-approved loans but did not proceed to purchase properties during this period.
However, she saw increased enthusiasm from refinancers.
“When we started contacting our clients asking them, were they okay, a lot of them wanted to look at switching rates,” Ms Burton explained.
“So, we shifted from a purchase environment into a refinance environment.”
However, once the federal government began rolling out stimulus and survival packages such as JobKeeper payments, Ms Burton saw a shift back to the purchase market again.
This, along with new incentives for the property market, has prompted clients to explore purchasing property, including off-the-plan purchases, or selling their existing properties.
“There may be an area where we can actually get a really good deal because someone has to get into the market. So, we’re seeing purchases again,” she said.
To listen to the full podcast with Evelyn Burton, click here.
[Related: Why this leading Aussie broker values brand]
Malavika Santhebennur is the features editor on the mortgages titles at Momentum Media.
Before joining the team in 2019, Malavika held roles with Money Management and Benchmark Media. She has been writing about financial services for the past six years.
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