New program upskills loan processors into parabrokers

Four-week online course has spots available

New program upskills loan processors into parabrokers


By Ryan Johnson

A mortgage broker has delivered her first training program designed to upskill loan processors and loan administrators to become parabrokers.

Sarah Maxwell (pictured above) founded Pilot Parabroking in 2020 after realising the growing need for brokers to have access to an onshore parabroking service in Australia.

Now her latest project, Co-pilot Parabroker Training, helps develop loan processors into parabrokers. Parabroking is a specialised role that assists mortgage brokers with research, policy checking, and serviceability assessments.

“It's a four-week course offered through our online training school, and every student gets a weekly live session with me,” said Maxwell. “This course is highly interactive and aligns with the current industry requirements, serving as a significant step in the journey toward becoming a mortgage broker.”

The role of a parabroker

The role of a mortgage broker has undergone significant changes in recent years.

In some ways, these changes have been for the better, increasing broker market share to close to 70% of all residential loans. However, it has also meant that brokers are under increased scrutiny and workloads.

Maxwell said the introduction of best interests duty has made the role of parabrokers even more relevant.

 “With increased compliance obligations and the need to spend more time upfront in the home loan process, the role of a parabroker has become essential,” Maxwell said.

“It's similar to how a paraplanner supports a financial advisor, making a good parabroker a valuable right-hand person for a mortgage broker.”

Mortgage brokers are often caught in a catch-22: they want to hire and train more staff to help reduce their workload and free up time, but they don't have the time to train and hire more staff because of their workload.

“It's such a common theme for brokers to say to me that they’ve been putting off hiring because they just don't have the time to take themselves out of the business to train staff,” Maxwell said.

Positive feedback

To solve this problem, Maxwell’s four-week online training course helps train staff without the need for a managing broker or business owner to be there, allowing them to focus on their key areas.

Eligible for employees or contractors working for accredited Australian mortgage brokers, the training is based on the workflow, processes, and procedures followed at Pilot Parabroking.

Fresh from completing her inaugural class, Maxwell said the feedback has been “incredibly positive”.

Speaking to the recent graduate, Judy from KLM Finance said Sarah was the best thing about the course.

“Whether you're on the path to becoming a parabroker or a loan processor seeking in-depth knowledge of the mortgage process, this course offers invaluable insights,” Judy said.

Bradley Morgan from Certitude Finance Group said he was felt “a lot more confident” when asked about the skills he has gained from Parabroker Training.

“Not only with reading fact find forms, tax returns, rental statements, company financials and service request forms, but I feel confident with completing product comparisons, funding worksheets, servicing and writing assessment notes,” Morgan said.

Improving standards within mortgage broking

An advocate for about raising standards in the mortgage broking industry, Maxwell believes parabroking is “essential for ensuring that borrowers receive the best possible advice and service”.

Maxwell said she noticed “a significant gap” in new brokers' ability to accurately analyse complex financial situations and loan scenarios.

“This course aims to build these skills before becoming a broker. Analysing complex financials, including income for trusts and multiple entities, will give an edge and a strong start when they become brokers."

Another important aspect of parabroking, according to Maxwell, is the difference between the role compared to loan processing.

Where the latter only included data entry, packaging supporting documents, and lodgements, parabroking encompasses a wide range of skills.

“The parabroking role requires a deep understanding of the Australian lending environment and a credit mindset," she said.

"While roles like loan processing can be easily outsourced offshore, a parabroker's role demands a better understanding of Australian borrowers' habits and the lending environment.”

Using an Australian-based provider ensures a higher level of understanding in these areas.

In terms of education, Maxwell said she would like to see the career pathway of loan processor-parabroker-mortgage broker become more normalised.

"I see the role of a parabroker becoming more common within mortgage broking firms, with loan processors, parabrokers, and mortgage brokers working together," she said.

What’s next for Co-pilot Parabroker Training?

Being a commercial and equipment finance broker herself, Maxwell hopes to expand the scope of the training into other asset classes going into 2024.

In addition to the standard monthly training course, which has its next intake in November, Co-pilot Parabroker Training has also signed its first partnership with a corporate brokerage.

“We now provide quarterly training for their staff,” she said.

“Overall, I’m optimistic about the future of parabroking and its potential to improve the quality of advice and service that borrowers receive and I think we are well placed to help facilitate and train this growing niche in our industry.”

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