The best relationship with customers is one borne out of an educational interaction, according to Shore Financial’s CEO Theo Chambers, and that is where he intends to continue his work over the next year.

Rather than having interactions where they are selling to customers, he says, “We want to create relationships from educating people.”

By improving their digital presence and offering tools like property seminars and online content, Chambers hopes to build customer trust by enabling them to have better conversations.

Already, the relationship with the borrower is not just a transactional one. The group has the biggest team out of all of our top 10 and this includes financial planners, which work alongside the mortgage brokers to provide advice.

They work together not just to give the customer the most competitive rate, but to provide a larger service, particularly with property investors.

“We really engage in consumers’ journey of house hunting and by having highly educated individuals who understand tax strategies personally, they can relate to our clients’ goals and their motives when purchasing their second property or upsizing,” Chambers says.

One of the biggest challenges over the last year for them was the training and recruitment side of the business. Holding interviews with someone that ticks all the boxes in terms of their resume, training and education is fine, but it’s not as easy to assess their worth ethic and attitude, which is crucial in this industry.

The other challenge was the market and having to manage expectations. Over the last two years, with changes from APRA, plus the royal commission and higher assessment rates, it’s harder for people to borrow money.

“The morale of our team got disheartened with the extra hoops we’re jumping through to get loans approved,” Chambers said. “We’re the bearer of bad news, telling the consumer they can’t afford what they want to do.”

Despite the challenges, the last year had some great highlights for Shore Financial. Individual team members have continued to develop in their roles and the group’s property seminars have shown great success too.

The brokerage also offers exclusive rights to a number of real estate groups, allowing brokers to partner with agents and provide a more seamless transition for customers.

It’s these holistic offerings that Chambers really wants to focus on moving forward. The brokerage is already offering a diversified product portfolio with residential, car finance and commercial loans and is working on the launch of a white label product.

Chambers remembers a line he learnt working at a major bank ten years ago: “If you sell a consumer 3.8 products or services, that consumer becomes a client for life. So, we want to try make sure we’ve got 3.8 products or services in place with our clients.”

Total loan book: $2,575,392,184
Total settlements 1 March 2018 – 28 February 2019: $940,514,047
Number of loan writers: 24
Avg. annual volume per broker: $39,188,085
Conversion rate: 51%