MPA: What changed in your business and your local market this year?
Mark Burton, owner: We lost one broker, which impacted on our overall results. Our market, as has the whole of Sydney, continued to grow, but unlike some of the inner suburbs there is more stock on the market for prospective buyers. This has meant more on-market transactions and more customers seeking mortgages.
MPA: How do you benefit from being part of a franchise?
MB: Aussie is a very recognisable brand and is easily recognised by consumers. Aussie continues to invest in marketing and brand awareness with a TV and online presence. We also have strong systems and support when needed.
With brokers facing more and more risk and compliance requirements and regulation, Aussie has its own compliance team that is able to keep abreast of regulatory changes and make sure that Aussie brokers
remain compliant, which mitigates potential risk to the franchise.
MPA: Other than through client referrals, how do you generate leads on a limited budget?
MB: We have a number of key referrers that are very important to our business. Aussie franchisees are not permitted to pay referral fees, so we are not on a level playing field with some of our competitors. That forces us to add value for our referrers by providing superior service that reflects on them, and, where possible, by referring clients to them.
MPA: Have your clients been affected by recent rate hikes and policy changes, and what are you doing to respond?
MB: We have noticed a drop in settlement volumes of around 10–15%. This is not through a lack of enquiries but rather that we can no longer assist clients due to higher serviceability requirements. It means we have to work even more closely with our clients to achieve their goals.
However complex things are becoming, I see this as an opportunity for all brokers as the rules and regulations are becoming more complex by the month, and a customer is only going to be able to check out one to three lenders, which may not get them the answer that they need and the best result for them.