A Big Deal: Aaron Bell

by Aaron Bell20 Sep 2021

Aaron Bell runs boutique mortgage brokerage Home Loan Village. With a complicated loan to settle, time lost due to a bad lender experience, and the end of the client’s cooling-off  period looming, Bell was up against the clock and in need of a smart solution.

The scenario

At Home Loan Village, we recently helped a couple from Cherrybrook in the Hills District of Sydney who were looking to relocate to the Central Coast but wished to retain ownership of their current home in Cherrybrook as an investment property. To help realise their dreams, they needed to first refinance the loan on their existing three-bedroom house, releasing sufficient equity to purchase the owner-occupier house in Ettalong on the Central Coast.

Towards the end of January, we made an application to a major lender that the clients already banked with and which was their preferred lender of choice. While everything appeared to be running smoothly at first, delays at the assessment stage soon threatened to leave the whole deal in limbo. The major lender was making a big play for customers at the time, and we suspect that problems assessing the increased volume of applications were causing delays to creep in. This was something we noticed was occurring across the board with lenders during that period.

Understandably, as the days went by, the customers were getting increasingly stressed and frustrated about the upcoming cooling-off period on the purchased property, a $730,000 house in Ettalong. It came to a head when the customers went into the major lender’s branch asking for assistance, only to receive conflicting information about their application. At that point, Home Loan Village was in desperate need of another solution.

With time running out, the first thing we did was secure an extension to the cooling-off period, managing to increase it from 10 to 15 days. Then, with a little more breathing space, we set about working with the customer and major lender to try to fast-track the loan approval. 

It quickly became clear that any advantages we had gained in extending the cooling-off period would be lost if we continued down the same path. Despite our best efforts, the loan assessor at the major lender appeared to be hung up on several sections of the application, claiming information was incomplete, and was asking for extra levels of detail on top of what we had already provided. 

The solution

With the end of the cooling-off period fast approaching on 11 February, we sought out a different lender that would be able to help the customer out – and quickly. 

Given that there were only days – not weeks – to spare, we realised that a traditional lender probably wasn’t the answer. Instead, we turned to smartbank 86 400, which used a digital application process to provide an approval more quickly than a major lender.  

While we were a little unsure about the new application process at first, we worked with 86 400’s business development manager Hien Nguyen to workshop the deal on the customer’s behalf, and the bank’s head of credit, Adrian Watkin, to ensure that there were no more unexpected surprises for the client.  

Thanks to the helpful nature of the team and the speed of the 86 400 process, the application was completed on Friday, 5 February, with the customers’ ID, income and expenses all verifi ed electronically.

86 400’s digital processes, fast turnaround times and extremely helpful support staff made a huge difference in streamlining the loan process to meet a tight deadline. 

In the end, the entire loan was approved in just three business days – and with just one day to spare before the cooling-off period was due to expire. If it wasn’t for 86 400, our clients would have missed out on buying the house of their dreams.

The takeaways

My key takeaway from the deal – and something I’d encourage other brokers to think about – is to not be fearful of newer lenders with an unfamiliar process. While I was initially hesitant about using a new lender, it turned out to be exactly what we and the customers needed to close the deal in the short time left. 

The bank’s smart technology helped us save precious time on the application, and the 86 400 team were super responsive, fast and easy to talk to about the deal, helping us get the result we needed exactly when we needed it. I’ve worked with 86 400 on many occasions since and have always been extremely happy with its speed and service.

The strong technology platform and knowledgeable staff  at 86 400 are second to none.