Andy Truong worked at Commonwealth Bank for 10 years before setting up Melbourne brokerage Alliance Mortgage Group almost four years ago. The award-winning broker also part-owns a restaurant on the Mornington Peninsula.
Q: What skills did you pick up in your roles at CBA and as a restaurant partner that have helped you as a broker?
A: Working at CBA gave me the opportunity to build a strong financial foundation, and various lending roles strengthened my lending experience and business networking skills. This provided a large network of business partners in different industries, such as builders, accountants, real estate agents and business consultants, to help establish a large client portfolio in my mortgage business. As part-owner of a restaurant I learned different skills, giving me greater insight into different challenges and how to overcome them.
Q: You have won industry awards – what is the key to your success?
A: These awards were not possible without the support of my business partners and the advocacy of my clients. As a banker, I developed key working relationships with internal and external stakeholders. The key is to have good time management skills and productivity. As a brokerage we are lucky to not need online marketing – all our business has come via word of mouth from clients and ongoing referrals. The key element is honesty/integrity, and by living this value and delivering what we promise it allows business associates and clients to have the trust and confidence to advocate for our business.
Q: Your brokerage includes commercial, investment and personal loans. How important is it to diversify?
A: Very important, as seen when the royal commission recommended residential broker trails be abolished. Diversifying is key to business expansion and to minimising potential threats in changing environments. Our aim is to be a solution-focused business, not just when it comes to pricing but also in delivering a one-stop shop for all our clients’ financial needs. Delivering a wide range of fi nancial products encourages client loyalty and allows us to place our customers’ needs at the centre of everything we do.
Q: Lender turnaround times have been a big issue for brokers. How are you dealing with this?
A: We have priority access to the major lenders and good working relationships with our second-tier lenders, so we can prioritise in terms of either pricing, solutions and/or fast turnaround times inselecting the best lender for clients. Before submitting an application, we workshop it with a potential lender and have a clear line of communication open with clients. If we set the expectations, we can help minimise the impact of time delays.
Q: Where do you see yourself in five years?
A: We aim to grow our business with loan support staff and brokers to help increase new clients. We also aim to have relationship managers, to maintain constant contact with our existing clients through rate reviews, and to provide ongoing banking and lending solutions. We value both existing and new clients equally, so it’s important to invest in our business to maintain strong working relationships with both.