Clive Kirkpatrick, general manager of Vow, shares his tips for how brokers can thrive in the current environment, and reels off the South African delicacies he would serve to MFAA CEO Mike Felton
Q: What’s the greatest challenge for brokers at this time?
A: The greatest challenge is to get customers to service. We’ve had some rate cuts, but not many, if any, lenders have implemented the changes released by APRA that allow lenders to service on a base rate plus 2.5% rather than the flat 7.25%. We have seen some lenders move on this, and this is good news. Additionally, I agree with Westpac’s position regarding forensic analysis of expenditure being forced upon lenders as opposed to some form of HEM or middle ground. I really don’t think the work the assessors are doing and the time it is taking to go line by line through a customer’s expenses actually improves the credit decision.
Q: What’s your favourite way to relax after a stressful time at work?
A: I enjoy cycling (although my body doesn’t show that). I also really enjoy dinner and drinks with friends (my body does show this).
Q: If you had the MFAA’s CEO over for dinner, what would you serve?
A: With Mike Felton being from South Africa, I’d serve biltong, boerewors, bobotie and pap.
Q: What are your top survival tips for working in finance?
A: Resilience is key to survival. We go through ultimate highs and ultimate lows dealing with customers and lenders, but that is what makes this such a wonderful profession. Brokers need to remain focused on what’s important, and that is providing a holistic solution to their customers. It’s so very important to have a deep understanding of your customer base. This will take a degree of investment in both time and money to ensure you have a contact program and do targeted marketing based on triggers such as interest-only expiries, car lease terminations, and so on. Brokers are given so much information by their customers because they are trusted, and we need to utilise this more effectively because the customer expects us to deliver more. Additionally, if you, as the broker, do not satisfy more of your customers’ needs they will seek out other providers and you will lose part or all of their business. One lender recently told me that, of all the broker-derived business coming to them, 60% was being refinanced by another broker! As everyone knows, it’s getting more difficult to source new customers, so why would you allow them to leave you so easily?