Major aggregator launches broker education programme

by Mike Wood05 Mar 2021

Connective, one of Australia’s largest aggregators, have launched a new education programme in partnership with Melbourne Business School to help mortgage brokers stay on top of the latest developments in the industry.

Brokers can access a portal of live and on-demand content, latest updates on the lender information and workshops tailored specifically to their sector.

This year will mark a return to in-person events, with the Commercial and Asset Finance Conference and the National Residential Conference making a comeback in 2021, along with the more than 140 virtual events that brokers can access.

Education is at the forefront of many broker’s minds in 2021, after the challenges that were faced in 2020. The industry’s capability to be agile in such a turbulent year has reaped benefits, with records being set in early 2021 thanks to confidence gained last year.

“Brokers were able to communicate more effectively and faster with their customers than the banks were able,” said Mark Haron, Managing Director of Connective. “Education was crucial because there was a big education piece that needed to go into the payment pause programme and, of course, brokers got onto that quickly.”

“I think they’re also a little bit more financially literate, which was important because they then turned around educated their customers, had those conversation with them. I think brokers adapted much quicker to those policy changes than the banks and a lot of the bank staff.”

“What we find consistently is that banks can make very quick decisions at a very senior level, but that doesn’t cascade down through their whole staff network as quickly as they would have liked it to, and that’s where broker stepped up and entered that role.”

“They were able to educate their customers and as we’ve seen great competition in the mortgage space, customers and are now turning to brokers and asking them ‘what does all this mean?’ And brokers have been great educators of their customers and that’s leading to broker market share increasing.”

This is the second year of the partnership that Connective has run with the Melbourne Business School, and they have improved the programme based on feedback from their inaugural course.

“I guess one of the big learnings that you have from last year is that brokers want to hear more from professional educators that is not necessarily specific to writing a loan or what they do on a day to day basis,” said Haron. “It’s more about resilience, how to manage themselves, how to manage a team. That’s been a big part of our focus last year and going into this year.”

“The other component is the technical aspect and staying on top of what is happening in terms of product and policy is crucial. Another learning from last year in terms of things moving so quickly was that we saw a significant increase in participation from connected brokers because they needed quicker access to information that was crucial for them to do their roles properly.”

Along with technical aspects, the course offers brokers the chance to reflect on where they are and what they want to achieve.

“One of the key components of the Melbourne Business School programme is that we want brokers to take a little bit of time out where they are sitting back and thinking about their business, what they want and having conscious thoughts about how they want to take it forward,” said Mark Haron.

“Brokers have been working 150 to 200% harder last year and, yes, they’ll end up with more business, but there’s so much more work and effort going into it. There’s two things that have to be addressed there, which, if you do it through an education series, gives brokers the chance to sit back and ponder them.”

“One is ‘what is this doing to me mentally and physically?’ and two is ‘How much can I continue to do this?’, in terms of potentially changing the structure and what they want to focus on with the customers so that they can make sure that they have a strong, sustainable business.”

“We’ve been positioning the professional educators from Melbourne Business School to pick up on these things. The first section for this year is talking about the housing market and economic side of things, what is potentially coming now. How do brokers position their business to both protect them from any challenges but also to take complete advantage of opportunities.”