It’s been a big week at Mortgage Choice, as REA Group announced that it was seeking to acquire the well-known broker franchise group.
Before that news was announced, Australian Broker recently sat down with four Mortgage Choice franchise owners, as well as CEO Susan Mitchell and David Zammit, general manager broker and wealth management distribution to discuss Australia’s booming property market, technological advancements in the mortgage broking industry and how to get ahead as a broker.
“I have been a Mortgage Choice franchisee for almost 20 years, and the brand has continued to grow from strength to strength,” said franchisee Leanne Johnstone. “The brand helps enormously and enhances credibility. In terms of head office leads, being part of a strong brand like Mortgage Choice certainly benefits. Obviously, the best leads are referrals from existing clients, and we’re really fortunate to get lots of those. Also, the size of the network – that means for newbies coming in there is this great brand that other people are recommending, providing you with the opportunity to get more quality leads.”
David Zammit added that this was a great time to be a broker, especially at Mortgage Choice: “Established brokers like the group here are absolutely flooded with [business], but a lot of new brokers coming in are not finding that,” he said. “Being able to set people up for that lead generation and get their business working from the start is absolutely key to success, because we know that somewhere between 40 to 50% of those brokers will drop out in the first two years because of the lack of leads. In January/February we’ve had the largest two months in the last couple of years of acquisition of both franchise owners and loan writers. We’re likely to get to, by the middle of the year, a double-digit percentage increase in loan writers across the network.”
It's not just getting new customers, but retaining them too. Mortgage Choice CEO Susan Mitchell spoke about the positive feedback that customers provide about franchisees.
“We hear from customer satisfaction surveys, and they’ve come back and said they love the customer experience,” she said. “They also love their broker. We have also gotten great feedback from people that look to buy a franchise, who say, “Wow, this is completely above other ones I’ve just gone and looked at”.
Franchisee Jane Vaughan said that things were only going in one direction for the industry. “I believe it’s just going to keep going up,” she said. “At the moment it’s the houses that are in absolute boom, but once everybody can’t afford a house, it’s going to filter through to the unit market. As soon as everybody can fly in from overseas, there’s a lot of people who are going to say, “I have residency in Australia, and that’s where I want to be when they have the next lockdown”. My thoughts are, get in now, it’s just going to keep going up.
This is an extract from our roundtable with Mortgage Choice - you can see the full story in the print edition of Australian Broker which is on desks from April 5.