9 ALLIANCE MORTGAGE SOLUTIONS
In response to bank restrictions on investors and overseas clients, this brokerage is diversifying and reasserting its expertise in the market
Established in 2012, Alliance Mortgage Solutions has been on an upward trajectory over the past few years, from receiving the Australian Mortgage Award for best new brokerage to achieving Top 100 spots and successive appearances in MPA’s Top 10. Yet there are signs the honeymoon has come to an end, with APRA’s restrictions on investment lending and, more recently, banks reducing or in some cases pulling out of lending to foreign investors. It’s the end of the beginning for Alliance, and the start of a new phase for the brokerage.
Overseas lending restrictions have had a number of immediate effects on the brokerage, explains co-founder and head of partnership development Donald Tang. His planned trip to six Chinese cities, in conjunction with an Australian property developer, has been postponed. Additionally, Tang explains, “we’re suffering a 20–30% decrease in our volume because of overseas investor policy tightening up”. More locally, their fortunes have been mixed, observes Tang. “We were suffering a little bit of a decrease in the volume of investment lending, but home loan lending has increased so we’re fine.” Changing lender policies have also impacted on their conversion rate slightly.
Alliance is, however, weathering the storm, unlike some of its competitors. Tang therefore believes the disruption in the market presents a good opportunity. “During that hard time, a lot of clients have a clearer vision; they can see which brokers are professional and which brokers are not. More people are trusting us, which is another reason we are receiving more enquiries from the market.”
Consequently, the brokerage is expanding, says Tang. “We’re still recruiting people; we’ve got five new guys coming on board – they’re doing their accreditation right now.”
Tang is also looking to diversify the brokerage. “In the next year we’ll do more on the commercial side … we are promoting our commercial products and also equipment loans.” Alliance is already writing commercial deals for existing clients, although Tang believes eventually 60% of commercial business will come through new clients and is promoting the brokerage’s commercial lending presence to local clients. While being careful with budgets, says Tang, the brokerage looks to expand. “We believe the best way to control costs is to make more profit! We don’t mind spending money, but we don’t want to waste money.”
Embarking on a marketing drive has also meant a renewed focus on the Alliance Mortgage Solutions brand. “No matter the individual’s reputation, if the group’s reputation is bad people will never trust us,” observes Tang. “In the marketing materials we always put the company’s name and logo on it instead of the individual person; that’s our first priority.”