5 MORTGAGE CHOICE
Brisbane’s AMA-winning brokerage has undergone an ownership change but continues to challenge at the highest level
Over the years Mortgage Choice Brisbane has emerged as one of the strongest performers in MPA’s Top 10, including narrowly coming second in 2015’s survey. It also walked away with the trophy for Brokerage of the Year – Franchise at the most recent Australian Mortgage Awards. Therefore, the brokerage’s relative drop in this year’s list – albeit to a very respectable ﬁ fth place – comes as surprise by comparison. Looking at the numbers, the brokerage leads the pack in terms of settlements over the past ﬁ nancial year ($329,287,938); what’s brought it down is a greatly diminished total loan book.
And what’s brought the loan book down is a change of ownership within the brokerage: Matt Cunliff e, previously general manager and part owner, bought out the remaining client base but not the book. It’s been the main change for the brokerage this year, Cunliff e explains. “The ownership change has taken up most of the time; the leadership change has taken up most of our time. What we’re really focused on is keeping the business doing what it’s done in previous years … we didn’t want to reinvent the wheel this year.”
Mortgage Choice Brisbane targets casual investors, and unlike many other brokers it sees 2015’s changes in the investor market as a major opportunity. “It’s probably aided in the growth,” says Cunliff e. “We’re a very young brokerage in the scheme of things; our brokers are very adept at change, and when those sorts of things come into the market it validates our job even more so. We’re well aware, we’re well versed in the changes, and we put a lot of time into research into what’s going on in the market and then provide that extra credibility to our clients and referral partners, so those sorts of changes just enhance what we do.”
In fact the brokerage is rapidly expanding, from three and a half to eight brokers over the past year, three of whom were hired in the last three months. “We typically don’t hire straight into the broking role,” explains Cunliff e. “We’ll bring them up through the admin support role, ground them firmly in the business and industry, and the ones that put their hands up we can bring up into the broking role.” The brokerage has nine support staff , divided into teams for loan input and taking files from submission to settlement.
Going from a broker-manager role to the responsibilities of being full owner has been a challenge for Cunliff e. “It’s probably been one of my biggest learning curves … being able to manage your time effi ciently enough to be able to give back to your staff from a managerial perspective, as well as giving back to your clients from a relationship management perspective, is a very ﬁ ne line to walk. That’s done and dusted,” concludes Cunliff e, “so we’re moving on and upwards.”