Stanley Finance’s Bertie Stanley has a loan book made up of more than 50 per cent commercial lending. He reveals why other brokers should be adopting this new revenue stream.
When and why did you decide to start offering commercial lending to your clients?
I set up Stanley Finance at the start of 2014 and offered commercial lending to clients from day one. Given I previously worked as a business banking manager for one of the big four banks, it was an obvious choice for this to be a large part of our offering.
What is the commercial market like for brokers at the moment? How do you see this changing over the next 12 months?
I am bullish about the commercial finance broking market. It has significantly more room to grow due to the relatively low market share currently – especially compared to the residential market share.
I continually find that new clients who have been unaware of the offering of a commercial broker are amazed at the results we can achieve for them, so I see future growth as clients find out about the value they can get from a good commercial finance broker.
Who are your primary referrers when it comes to commercial deals?
Existing clients and other professional advisers, such as accountants, solicitors and financial planners.
What are the overall benefits of offering commercial lending to clients?
Clients want to deal with someone who is capable, trustworthy, professional and efficient. If they’ve already found a broker that ticks those boxes, they don’t want to search for another broker for a different lending discipline.
Offering commercial lending allows me to offer a wider range of services to clients – I can provide commercial to existing residential clients or vice versa. It allows us to be a one-stop shop for finance.
What are some of the challenges it presents?
Commercial deals are generally more time consuming than residential deals, so it is important to ensure your time is well spent.
For example, one thing we do after the initial assessment stage is to have a mandate agreement signed with each client before proceeding with a full application.
Depending on the situation, we may also charge clients a fee, subject to complexity and other factors.
How important is education when it comes to commercial lending? Does it require much upskilling?
Yes and no – it depends on what your offering to clients is.
For me and the service that Stanley Finance is offering to our clients, it is extremely important to have in-depth knowledge of commercial lending, as I know this achieves better outcomes for our clients across the board.
My commercial knowledge – from understanding the application of credit policies to how deals are priced, to product selection and more – allows me to provide better advice, strategy and planning to my clients, and it means I know when and how to push banks to get better outcomes for clients.
Understanding the internal workings of banks certainly helps in this regard.
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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