MPA: What changed in your business and your local market this year?
Anthony Smith, owner: This year was a big one for us, as we opened another office in Port Melbourne. Based on Rouse Street, it’ll be serving the local areas in addition to Albert Park, South Melbourne, Middle Park, Prahran, Windsor, Armadale, Malvern and Toorak.
It’ll be headed up by Chris Howitt, who’s been part of our team with Mortgage Choice since 2004. As well as being a highly experienced broker, Chris is also a keen property investor himself, which can really help our investor clients.
Also working across the Cheltenham and Port Melbourne offices is broker Craig Micallef, and the office is managed by Glenn Mayne.
MPA: How do you benefit from being part of a franchise?
AS: I’ve been with Mortgage Choice for over 16 years now, and the brand can be an advantage. Potential clients have often heard of the brand, and that can give them comfort that they are dealing with a large and established company.
Mortgage Choice has expanded into financial planning, and we work with a dedicated financial planner, Jeff Morel, who can help clients with insurance, investment planning and tax strategies. Added to our commercial and vehicle lending offerings, this gives a broad range of clients a good reason to get in touch with us first.
MPA: Other than through client referrals, how do you generate leads on a limited budget?
AS: Returning clients make up the majority of our business. We also receive leads from business partners, sporting clubs and our website, in addition to the client referrals that we love to receive.
MPA: Have your clients been affected by recent rate hikes and policy changes, and what are you doing to respond?
AS: Yes, many clients have been greatly impacted by the policy changes; the unintended consequences of these changes will be felt for many years. We have changed direction with our business in the short term and are trusting that logic and sanity will eventually win through when it comes to policy.