A leading broker is expected to surpass $1 billion of settlements by the end of this year, having settled $952 million in loans since 2011.
Loan Market Bayside broker Josh Bartlett first started his Victorian brokerage in 2011 and frequently ranks highly in The Adviser’s Elite Business Writers ranking.
According to Loan Market’s executive chairman, Sam White, Mr Bartlett could reach the billion-dollar milestone by the end of the year, noting that market confidence delivered by the Coalition government’s re-election, APRA’s credit easings and anticipated RBA cash rate cuts could all lend a hand in him reaching the goal.
“It’s well documented that volumes have been down over the last 18 months due to a variety of reasons, led primarily by the credit squeeze,” Mr White said.
“The majority of brokers I’ve spoken with over the last fortnight have reported a surge in enquiry and intent from borrowers, and they’re very optimistic about the remainder of the year.
“I know Josh is reporting the same. He was likely to reach the magic number around November, but with the bounce in market sentiment, he has the chance to reach his milestone well ahead of time – maybe even over the next quarter.”
Speaking to The Adviser, Mr Bartlett said that his volumes have “steadily increased” over his career, rising from around $40 million in his first year, to $73 million in his second, then to $100 million before surpassing the $200-million mark in the past couple of years.
The Victorian broker added that while the decrease in house price and property transaction growth in Melbourne had meant it was “harder to increase the volumes year-on-year”, he had noticed that buyers were coming back to the market following the federal election.
According to Mr Bartlett, the volume of enquiries has risen by 50 per cent in the last fortnight, and he is now holding up to 22 meetings as week.
When asked how he has written nearly a billion dollars-worth of loans in less than a decade, Mr Bartlett said the success came down to his team and processes.
“People often ask how we do it, and each person in the office contributes to this success. There is no way one person can do it all.”
According to Mr Bartlett, it has taken time to find a process that works.
“Every broker may be different; some brokers prefer to follow a file all the way through to the end, while others are more sales-oriented and know that their time is better suited to being client-facing or finding new leads. Every person has a different system and most brokers have tried several, but you just have to find out which system is best for you.”
The Loan Market Bayside principal added: “In years one, two and three, when I was still relatively new (having gone from telling people to do push ups one month and then becoming a mortgage broker the following month) I probably wasn’t a great manager and I probably didn’t know how to train my staff at the time very well. But in the last three or four years, we’ve had all the same staff and we’re getting better and better. We just all love our jobs and even though we’re super busy every single day, we’re still laughing, smiling, and excited when we get loans approved. So that all contributes to the success.”
Mr Barlett added that he believed the “biggest key” to their success was that they have team meetings each morning to discuss the open files, how to deal with requests coming in, or problem-solve scenarios.
“In the beginning, I would just hand over a file [to the client service managers] and say what the rate was or what the deal was, and that was it. But now, the girls are fully across the whole process.
“Now, I run my whole appointment on personality tests. I figure out who [the clients] are and then try and design something that suits their personality.”
As an example, Mr Bartlett said that you have to be careful “not to step on the toes of someone who has already educated themselves on mortgages, but still make them aware of all of the intricacies of the different products”.
He added that he also asks his clients to rate how good they are with money on a scale of one to 10 (and if they are a couple, to rate one another too) to ascertain “if one is an extreme spender and one is an extreme saver and create a plan that will get them on the same page together”.
“Because you can’t control a meeting or get the most out of it if they are disgruntled with one another. But once you can get them working together, we can come up with a solution that suits both their personalities,” he added.
He concluded: “So when I hand over the file to the girls, they know the personality of the client (for example, the husband is a 9 out of 10, the wife is a 4 out of 10, and who the decision-maker is), and tell them how and when that client would like to interact, the reason why they chose their products, etc. That way, they can understand what that person is like and what is motivating them before they even speak to that person.
“So once I’ve met a client, I will let the client know who they will be dealing with moving forward and that they can deal with them if they ever can’t get through to me. And then my team know how to answer all the questions because each day we go through the files in the morning meetings.”