The Australian Lending & Investment Centre
Total value of residential loans FY2016/17: $287,395,489
Total number of residential loans FY2016/17: 983
2017 is a year Mark Davis won’t soon forget. “It’s probably the hardest year we’ve had in the eight years I’ve been a broker,” he says.
Davis was number one in last year's Top 100, and his total of $287m this year places him far ahead of the rest of the pack, yet the impact of regulation and lender policy changes on his performance cannot be ignored. Davis has lost $50m from 2016’s record-breaking total, and although he’s written the highest number of loans over the year – 983 – his average loan value has also declined.
Although The Australian Lending & Investment Centre remains a well-oiled machine, Davis and his colleagues face a major obstacle. “People that used to leverage and borrow up can’t borrow as much as they used to because all the calculations are completed differently,” he says. Furthermore, Davis, who prides himself on a high work rate and near-mechanical efficiency, is being frustrated by banks who aren’t acting the same way. Frequently they are ‘back-flipping’ after giving the approval.
With the market in turmoil, “clients hear about ALIC and what we do and want us to step in and manage their situation better than their previous adviser”, Davis explains. “That sets up opportunities, but we all have to comply within the same guidelines; you can’t pull a rabbit out of a hat.”
Existing customers are also looking to switch lenders following a succession of rate rises, while the changes to interest-only lending are pushing these clients to switch to principal and interest repayments.
A tough year has sharpened Davis’s focus on ALIC’s long-term strategy: to develop the next generation of elite brokers. “We’re presently writing $450–$500m a year and we shouldn’t have to do that … my biggest responsibility is to train up brokers to be $100m writers; that’s a lot of work, but you get your weight in gold because they help you with all your paperwork.”
Backed by his team, Davis is already preparing for the coming buyers’ market: “It’s been a vendors’ market for the last three years and we want our customers to be ready to get great deals and be ready to buy.”