Over the 2018 financial year (1 July 2017 to 30 June 2018), the lending market was subject to huge scrutiny, with commissions and reviews of the finance sector seemingly coming out left, right and centre. But as the young brokers in The Adviser’s 30 Under Thirty ranking for 2018 show, with market uncertainty comes opportunity for brokers to become the trusted home loan adviser.
Subdued market sentiment and industry uncertainty were no obstacle for this year’s 30 Under Thirty finalists, who collectively wrote 5,429 home loan applications in the last financial year.
Topping the list for the third consecutive year is George Samios from Madd Loans, who wrote 535 residential mortgages worth a total of $117.4 million and $10.2 million in commercial and business loans.
Faris Dedic from Red Door Financial Group, who placed eighth in the overall ranking, leads the pack in commercial and business volumes, which totalled $41.2 million. Mr Dedic is also the youngest finalist, only 24 years old.
Almost half (14) of this year’s finalists are new to the ranking, with the highest-ranked newcomer, Jordan Beh, placing third.
Mr Beh wrote a total of 158 mortgages worth $81.7 million and $6.4 million in commercial and business loans.
Nitish Kumar from Clarity Financial Group, who placed 14th in the ranking, has made the list despite having been a broker for just one year. Nonetheless, he still wrote a whopping 127 residential loans worth $56.8 million and $2.2 million in commercial and business loans.
Reflecting on his success in The Adviser’s 30 Under Thirty ranking for the third year in a row, Mr Samios said: “Having all the awards under your belt makes it a bit easier for a client to trust you.
“Clients often say: ‘You’ve won quite a number of awards. It means you must be doing some good things in the industry, and that’s why we came to you’.
“Whether they verbalise it or not, I think we all know that if they look you up and you’re award-winning, that makes a difference.”
When asked what tips he would offer to new and aspiring brokers, Mr Samios stressed the importance of customer service.
“Always think about the clients, think about the best outcome for them, try and educate them as much as you can on products and how to pay off their loan faster, give them that next level of service,” the Madd Loans founder said.
“People have a high expectation of service these days, so make sure you give it.”
The Madd Loans founder, who recently celebrated his 30th birthday, concluded: “Follow up with people; don’t expect them to come to you. You have to make sure you’re proactive.”
Q. WHY DID YOU FIRST BECOME A BROKER?
I was a St. George BDM for about three years and I was speaking to my current business partner, Rachel, who was the owner of Sphere Finance at the time. We had a good chat and she asked if I’d co-run the business with her, and I saw it as a great opportunity. As a BDM, I was helping brokers achieve what they wanted to achieve for their businesses, and I thought, why don’t I give it a go myself?
Q. WHAT CHALLENGES DID YOU FACE WHEN YOU FIRST STARTED?
Understanding all the products to meet a client’s needs, rather than just one product that meets a broker’s needs, was probably the hardest part.
When I was working at St. George, I knew one banking product only, but as a broker, [I have] to research and remember all the products, options and niches offered by different banks to provide them as an option to my clients.
Also, getting back into the swing of walking a client through a loan application wasn’t difficult, but it was an aspect of the role that I had to adjust to.
Q. WHAT TYPE OF LOANS DO YOU TYPICALLY WRITE AND WHAT CLIENTS DO YOU SERVICE?
I write a variety of loans, so I don’t really specialise in one thing. On the [NSW North Coast], we have a bit of a mix.
It’s such a mixed demographic up here. We range from first home buyers to people buying their 10th investment property to self-managed super fund lending. There’s a lot of variety in the book at the moment. I’ve got 68 per cent owner-occupied and the rest investment, so it’s a pretty fair even split between what I do.
Q. HAVE YOU OBSERVED ANY NEW THEMES EMERGING FROM CLIENTS RECENTLY?
From a product point of view, there’s been a lot more demand for splitting loans. From my actual client base, I’m seeing more first home buyers.
Q. WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THE NEXT 12 MONTHS?
My plans for the next 12 months are just to continue writing, crack that $100 million mark, but also grow the business.
I want to go as hard as possible for the next 12 months and maybe take a step back and just mentor the brokers that are here and train them to make sure they can take the next step.
Q. HAVE SERVICEABILITY CHANGES AFFECTED YOUR BUSINESS?
We have a lot of clients come in and say: “I hear it’s tougher to get loans.” There are definitely banks out there that are scrutinising things that probably don’t need to be scrutinised, and it’s definitely harder at the moment to get a loan approved.
However, we haven’t slowed down from the volume side of things. We get all the information up front, spend another 40 to 80 minutes checking everything, and
submit the deal the right way, the first time. I’d never submit a deal if I didn’t have everything up front, or if I was not confident enough that it will go through with what’s been given.
Q. WHAT TIPS WOULD YOU OFFER TO NEW OR ASPIRING BROKERS?
Be patient and be thorough. Make sure that you’re taking the extra time to go through everything before submitting the deal.
Also, get accredited with as many banks as possible. I think you need to have accreditation across the board, because different banks have different niches that specialise in different types of lending.
Q. YOU USED TO WORK IN A BROKER SUPPORT ROLE AT FINSURE. WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO BECOME A BROKER?
I was working with Adrian Lee (the current managing director of Catalyst Advisers) at Finsure, where I was in a broker support role.
As Catalyst grew, I took a liking to the idea of becoming a broker, and that natural progression took place, from broker support to an accredited broker, and I’m now looking after all of the residential lending at Catalyst.
Q. WHAT CLIENTS DO YOU SERVICE?
The first thing I did when I became an accredited broker was tap my parents on the shoulder and say: “Hey, guys, you’ve got a home loan, I’m sure I can be of assistance. You’ve kept my room clean and the fridge full for the last 24 years, so the least I could do is save you some money.”
Now, it’s predominately residential. Last year, I would have done three or four commercial transactions, but I understand the metrics of the commercial deal.
Q. WHAT ARE YOUR FUTURE PLANS?
Plans for myself and the business are just to ramp up growth, get in front of businesses and potential referral partners to make it clear how we can add value to their customers.
In an industry that is being restricted, in terms of lending off the back of the [financial services] royal commission, it’s very easy to become complacent when you’re writing decent volume. However, it’s probably on everyone’s mind to double down and grow just in case it does get a bit tougher in the lending side of things.
Q. WHAT TIPS WOULD YOU OFFER TO NEW AND ASPIRING BROKERS?
My advice to any broker is to persevere. Starting out on your own is definitely tough in terms of getting runs on the board, have repeat clients and building the foundation of a customer base.
I’ve seen and mentored a couple of brokers, some left the industry, and some went on to bigger and better things. It’s a harder slog than you think; however, if you’ve got a long-term view of business, and a long-term view of your clients, it’s definitely worth it.
Charbel Kadib is a journalist on the mortgages titles at Momentum Media.
Before joining the team in 2017, Charbel held roles with public relations agency Fifty Acres, and the Department of Communications and the Arts.
Charbel graduated from the University of Notre Dame Australia with a Bachelor of Arts (Politics & Journalism).
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