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How going virtual has boosted this broker’s client base

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Malavika Santhebennur 5 minute read

In the latest Elite Broker podcast, broker and podcaster Marcus Roberts discusses how he attracts clients outside of his local area, including expatriates.

The Sydney-based Brighter Finance founder told The Adviser’s Elite Broker podcast that while his local market is the inner-west in Sydney, the ability to conduct virtual meetings during the coronavirus pandemic has opened avenues for where he can service and speak to clients.

“As many brokers would, I’ve got clients that are interstate, I’ve got clients that come from overseas that are Australian expats, and I’ve got many of them from all parts of Sydney and New South Wales,” Mr Roberts said.

Mr Roberts said he has relied almost solely on referrals to grow his client base.

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“We are in a very lucky position where clients are referring [others], and referring early as well. I’m very lucky in that I might have a meeting with you today and then I’ll get two enquiries the next day from your friends,” he said.

“I think that’s very fortunate that I’m meeting these clients that are happy to refer in the early days and [are] not waiting until their loan has settled, especially expats.”

Mr Roberts explained that servicing expatriate clients is a more specialised field because there may not be as many brokers servicing this segment.

“If you’re in a business as an expat in Singapore, and you speak to a couple of other expats there in Singapore, they [might ask], ‘How did you get a loan?’, and you [may recommend] me,” he said.

His comments have come at a time when several banks have been removing their expatriate and overseas buyer products from their product suite over the past few years in a bid to reduce their risk appetite for non-core lending.

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However, non-bank lender Better Mortgage Management recently launched the Aspire Expat loan for non-residents and expatriates, which is available to Australian or New Zealand citizens living and working in another country, and also for permanent and temporary residents of Australia with an “acceptable visa”.

Commenting on lenders’ appetite for overseas and expatriate borrowers, Mr Roberts told The Adviser that lenders have gradually been returning to this market and have started to “come back online” after retreating from the market at the peak of the COVID-19 crisis in March through to June or July 2020.

“I think as a lot of lending policies were changed from the early days of COVID,” he said.

“We saw some lenders move out of the space. We saw some lenders put much harsher restrictions on that ex-pat lending space. I personally had less inquiries in the early days of last year compared to what we have today.”

However, Mr Roberts noted that as some lenders gradually began easing their lender policy restrictions once the peak of the COVID-19 crisis subsided, “we’re starting to see that from lenders around expats as well”.

Mr Roberts also said that conducting client conversations online has boosted his productivity and improved the quality of his conversations with his clients.

“I feel that I’m far more productive not driving to see someone at 7pm because both applicants now have come home from work and they have now settled the kids and so forth,” he said.

“I think it’s also brought a lot of people down to earth to some level. People understand that when they see me on video and I’ve got a baby gate behind me, I’ve got a child screaming at the fish on the wall or something like that, that’s just the way that life is at present.”

To listen to the full Elite Broker podcast with Brighter Finance’s Marcus Roberts, click here:

[Related: Why the future is bright for Marcus Roberts]

How going virtual has boosted this broker’s client base
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Malavika Santhebennur

Malavika Santhebennur

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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