Self-confessed “tech head”, Kingsbridge Private Managing Director, Sheyne Walsh, is back in the game after a stint at retirement because he missed being in a position where he could “resolve issues and make people’s lives better.”
“I know this probably sounds crazy, but I get a real buzz from helping people. My brother is a Church Minister and I had an inkling to do that too. Maybe that explains it,” he laughs.
“I’ve been in the sector for 30 years and I’m aware that the conventional wisdom is ‘work on the business, not in the business’. I tried that. But at the end of the day mortgage broking is a ‘people person’ business and the only reason I’m still doing it is because I get to improve people’s lives.”
In 1999, Walsh co-founded Kingsbridge and Eagle Pty Ltd, a boutique brokerage house that grew into one of the largest single office brokerages in the country with a portfolio of nearly a billion dollars under management. Kingsbridge and Eagle became part of Centric Wealth in August 2007 where Walsh stayed on as Head of Lending until March 2014.
After a period of “gardening leave,” Walsh established Kingsbridge Private in February 2015.
In the first financial year the business wrote $80 million in loan settlements. They’ve already passed that figure as of January 2017.
Kingsbridge Private does both commercial and residential lending, specialising in complex scenarios.
“The challenge is everyone is becoming a ‘sausage factory’ because that’s the most profitable way to do business,” he says. “We’ve tried to break through that by saying let’s apply some lateral thinking.”
Technology has always featured heavily in Walsh’s world.
He built the operational systems in both his businesses, plus a number of unique selling tools for Kingsbridge Private.
He’s witnessed the evolution from paper-based processing to digital and applauds hi-tech for enabling brokers to engage in a level of customer service that wasn’t even contemplated a decade ago.
“I said to NextGen.Net their ApplyOnline mobile App is unbelievable! It’s an incredible broker tool,” he exclaims.
“For a guy like me who always has a multitude of deals happening and is constantly on the road, it’s one of the best service tools you can have.
“When someone calls I tap on their name on the App and it tells me where the deal is at and all their details. If say a document is missing, it tells me which one. I then tap on the phone icon and it immediately dials the client’s number.
“It also sends milestones alerts. Honestly, for someone who can’t do all the back office work, it’s an essential tool.”
Walsh’s circumstances mirror hundreds of brokers across the country, who are frequently mobile and struggle to service clients and consequently have embraced the ApplyOnline App; which was launched 12 months ago and is now used by over 3,500 brokers.
NextGen.Net Training Manager, Deniz Ertem, says broker feedback has been “extraordinary.”
“We’re in such a mobile culture and the App provides application details at the brokers’ fingertips, up-to-date messages from lenders and really helps put them in control,” Ertem says.
“All brokers have to do is download the App, either from the Apple or Google store and enter their mobile number, and they can see all their applications within their pipeline.
“It gives brokers peace of mind knowing they can access the updated status of all their clients the minute it happens, even when they’re not in the office,” Ertem says.
Declaring “I love technology,” Walsh confesses that the excitement of the digital age and the anticipation of what is likely to be rolled out next is one of the reasons he remains in business.
“We don’t put ourselves up for awards, I don’t self-promote and I don’t need to work, and I don’t know what this business will look like tomorrow,” he says.
“We help people change their lives, but that doesn't mean I’m not ambitious in terms of getting transactions. I’m not driven to own the world, but we do believe if we do it right the rest will follow.”