While speaking to each of the winners on this year’s Top 10 Brokerages list, several similar themes emerged: consistency, service, communication and education.
The brokers excelling amid all the lender policy changes are the ones whose robust back-end systems and knowledgeable, often long-standing staff support these four principles.
What’s emerged is that the division between brokers and support staff is blurring. Many of the brokerage owners on this list told us about the importance of training staff from the ground up so they have a clear understanding of how the entire business works. One brokerage has instituted its own broker trainee program; another has support staff who are cross-trained as qualified brokers even though they don’t intend to ever sit in front of customers. Many are also seeing direct results from bulking up their back-end teams.
In order to be a productive and successful operation, collaboration and constant communication internally among staff and externally with clients is imperative. One brokerage has started hosting weekly lender policy update sessions to stay on the front foot. Another broker boss makes dozens of calls to new and existing clients every day, even though he’s also the face of the business.
It helps that many of these brokerages have been able to retain their staff for years – even a decade or more in some cases. One of the notable benefits of that is being able to foster a sense of familiarity and neighbourliness in the office that encourages clients to return to their local broker when the time comes. One broker talked about writing loans for several generations of the same family.
While these brokers are industry success stories, they haven’t been immune to the challenges. With sometimes fewer clients walking through the door, there’s more pressure on brokers to utilise their referral networks, optimise word-of-mouth and Google reviews, and deliver approvals for those who do turn to them. They’ve also experienced lags in loan processing times, shortfalls in valuations, and the headaches that come with lender appetites changing from week to week.
Despite all the inquiries burdening the industry at the moment, these brokers do their work with optimism and pride. They believe that those brokers who continually improve their commitment to customer service, good consumer outcomes and education will come out stronger and more relevant than ever. The 10 brokerages profiled in this report showcase the valuable and meaningful work brokers are doing on behalf of their clients.
How were the winners selected?
This year we asked all of the major aggregators and franchise groups to submit up to three of their most successful brokerages. We ranked them on a combination of four metrics: total loan book size; settlements over a 12-month period; settlements over that 12-month period divided by loan writer; and conversion rate. We rank brokerages on each metric then combine the rankings to produce the final tally. While things in the industry are changing, there’s no easy way to rank on “good consumer outcomes” other than through numbers like these. In the future, we hope to include a larger range of customer service indicators.