Jessica Robards of OpenDoor Financial Centre reveals her learnings and experience of Suncorp's Small Business SunEducation program.
Promoted by Suncorp Bank.
1. What made you decide to take part in Suncorp’s SME Education program?
I am currently completing a commercial mentoring course, through my licensee, and Suncorp presented at one of the sessions. Within our business, I have primarily been focused on home loans, however I am very interested in looking at opportunities to expand our service offering to our clients into other areas.
2. What were the biggest takeaways you gained from completing the program and how have you since implemented these into your business?
Being someone who has only been in the industry for a relatively short time, I have not had a great deal of experience reading and understanding financial reports. Participating in the commercial mentoring program has been invaluable to assist with commercial clients.
The key takeaway was the confidence that was built. By gaining a deeper understanding this has helped myself to be more confident to assist with both commerical and self employed clients as I now have a clear understanding on how best to help them and what the key items are for a successful application.
I believe the additional knowledge has been invaluable to my continued career development, as well as the ability to expand the business into different areas.
3. What were some of the flow-on effects that came as a result of implementing these takeaways into your business?
As a direct result of my increased knowledge and confidence, I have recently taken on my first commercial client. I was able to assist him to purchase a commercial shed, allowing him to significantly expand his business. Our client was extremely satisfied and I hope to be able to assist him further by referring him to referral partners within our practice, providing him with a holistic financial solution.
I now have a sound understanding of the serviceability requirements to assess a commercial loan, which are significantly different to residential borrowing.
In an environment where credit has become more difficult for borrowers to obtain, the addition of commercial lending to our service offering holds great potential for growth to our business. I now have the confidence to include our commercial marketing service offering in our business marketing.
4. What are some of the challenges brokers face with SME lending and how can this program help mitigate those challenges?
In my case, I feel that there have been three major challenges, with SME lending:
Difficulty understanding the different requirement for the range of lending products available.
The approval process of the lenders
My own confidence
I now have a much clearer direction when assessing a new loan application. I know who I need to approach should I need assistance, and also have a range of tools available to me to assist to structure the application.
5. Having just completed it, what sort of broker (and level of experience) is this program most tailored to? Please explain.
I believe this program would be suited to all brokers. I am a relatively new broker and learnt many valuable skills, however it would also suit more experienced brokers wishing to refresh their skills. In addition, my understanding is that many brokers specialise in residential lending only and I believe completion of this program may assist many to expand their business.
6. What would you say to encourage other brokers to take advantage of Suncorp’s SME Education program?
It’s well worth the time to complete the course. The practical reviews and case studies provided made it really easy to understand and has helped significantly to build confidence and knowledge.
The key advantages are:
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