All the action from the Australian Mortgage Awards, held in Sydney on 19 October
A record crowd of more than 650 mortgage professionals gathered at The Star in Sydney on 19 October for the 2018 Australian Mortgage Awards, sponsored by Westpac.
Celebrating mortgage broking’s top talent, the event saw a total of 31 awards presented to the industry’s best brokerages, banks, non-banks, aggregators and individuals from across Australia, including 14 dedicated broker trophies.
“It’s a dynamic time for our industry. We face immense change, new challenges and opportunities, technological disruption, continued regulatory change and changing customer behaviour – which is why coming together at events like these is paramount, giving us all the opportunity to network, share best practice and celebrate excellence,” said Warren Shaw, head of broker distribution at Westpac, which also won the award for Major Bank of the Year.
The gala evening was hosted by one of Australia’s foremost stand-up comedians, Lawrence Mooney. Guests were also treated to music by popular band Furnace and the Fundamentals and soloist Linden Furnell, as well as an aerial acrobatics display.
Kicking off the awards, Shore Financial took the Australian Broker trophy for Most Effective Online Presence – Broker, in recognition of its revamped website and social presence, which now generates a steady stream of leads every month.
CEO Theo Chambers said, “We have put a lot of money into creating lead funnels using social media such as Facebook and then directing traffic back to our website where existing and potential clients can read more on our web page.”
Later in the evening, Shore Financial was also named ME Brokerage of the Year (>20 staff).
Sweeping the board in multiple categories, Josh Bartlett, mortgage broker at Loan Market Bayside, won the awards for Equity-One Mortgage Fund Broker of the Year – Productivity, ANZ Brokerage of the Year (1–5 staff), and the highly coveted Westpac Australian Broker of the Year award.
Commenting on his secret to success, Bartlett said, “It’s about having a great team, great processes and working with a great aggregation service. The people that we meet love our service and what we bring to the table. Customers absolutely love what we come up with, and we just love finance.”
In a hotly contested category, Alex Veljancevski of Eventus Financial was named Australian Young Gun of the Year – Independent.
“I did not expect to win this award, so it’s a very humbling experience and I appreciate it so much,” he said.
“I think it’s because we really go above and beyond for our clients. I get very personal about getting a result for clients, so I really try to understand what they are trying to achieve.”
Meanwhile, Mick O’Shea, finance broker at Loan Market, won the Young Gun of the Year – Franchise award, and the trophy was presented by MFAA CEO Mike Felton.
He said, “I think this is one of the premier events of the year. It’s been an outstanding event and top quality as always. We’re proud to be involved and to partner with AMAs again.”
The award for FBAA Broker of the Year – Independent went to Will Unkles, director of 40 Forty Finance. It was presented by FBAA executive director Peter White.
In the three years since launching his firm, Unkles has seen 100% annual growth and has big plans for the future.
“I’m really shocked by the whole thing. I came here not expecting to win – I was just really happy to be nominated. This is my first Australian Mortgage Awards, and it’s great fun,” he said on the night.
“The growth of the business has been mostly through my own network. It’s all been organic word-of-mouth, positive experiences, and clients have sent their family and friends to use my services as well. So it’s been a crazy three years, but we are starting to feel the benefits. I definitely want to grow at 100% again this year.”
WORD FROM THE WINNERS – BANKWEST
Bankwest took home two awards in the highly contested categories of Non-Major Bank of the Year and Most Effective Online Presence – Lender.
The bank’s general manager of third party, Ian Rakhit, says, “These two awards are a sign of how hard we work to make brokers’ lives more simple and easy, and they are testament to the work being done behind the scenes as well. We’re on a journey to create a world-class home loan experience, making it simpler and easier to support brokers in servicing customer needs.”
Bankwest has adopted an incremental, broker-led approach to building and delivering its new online presence since November 2016 with the launch of the Home Loan Tracker Application. This is a web-based tool designed to keep brokers and customers informed throughout the home loan application process, from lodging the application to approval and the first repayment.
In July 2017 Bankwest launched the Home Lending Portal, which allows brokers to track critical information and the real-time status of current home loan applications; monitor existing customer loans; and access a range of other helpful information. This was followed by the launch of the Home Loan Pricing Tool, which offers ‘real-time responses’ to mortgage rate requests, providing brokers with decisions on discretionary rates for prospective homebuyers.
The year was rounded off with the launch of the new Bankwest website, giving brokers access to key product, policy and pricing information. Finally, in July 2018 Bankwest launched free, upfront auto-valuations, and brokers now have the ability to request an auto-valuation prior to starting a new home loan application.
“Bankwest was one of the first institutions to step into the brokering world, and through this careful balance of digital and real people support I’m looking forward to seeing Bankwest continue to work closely with brokers to meet customers’ changing needs in the future,” Rakhit says.
“I couldn’t be more proud of the team I’m lucky enough to work with every day at Bankwest.”