A healthy broker-banker relationship in the mortgage industry contributes to smoother operations, improved customer experiences, and overall market success, according to mortgage broker Redom Syed, director of Confidence Finance.
While that might seem obvious to some, Syed (pictured above right) said understanding how to foster this good partnership could be what gets the deal across the line.
“Customers win with better service and better results,” Syed said. “There's also increased certainty that if something doesn't go right, that there's support there to solve problems quickly.”
“Mortgage processes invariably go wrong at times, whether its credit decisioning, documentation or settlement processes – there can be issues that arise, and our job is to solve them quickly. Good relationships are key to problem solving.”
What makes a good broker BDM?
In an era marked by increasing rates and unpredictable conditions, business development managers (BDMs) are evolving beyond mere intermediaries to emerge as a crucial bridge connecting brokers and lenders.
However, embodying the skills that brokers want can be difficult to achieve. Responsiveness, communication, product knowledge, and customer service were the top factors when brokers rated BDMs in Australian Broker’s 5-Star BDMs 2023 awards survey.
But out of 900 BDM nominations, only 55 BDMs were judged to have five-star rated skills across all four metrics.
For Syed, his Westpac BDM Naveen Merani (pictured above left) has these skills in spades.
“For BDM relationships, the key is accessibility and a desire to solve problems quickly. Naveen ticks all the boxes here and is consistent. This helps ensure our customers have the best possible experiences with Westpac,” said Syed, who has worked with Merani for four years.
For Merani’s part, he sees his job as being a “trusted adviser” to brokers.
“I help brokers identify their target markets and explain the different bank offerings available to those clients,” Merani said.
“Providing ongoing coaching and hands-on support can help brokers’ businesses grow exponentially. In return, Westpac earns the opportunity to help more customers with similar needs.”
What makes a good lender?
With many borrowers facing the mortgage cliff, lenders providing competitive options is crucial in today’s market.
Syed said the streamlined refinance policies from different banks has provided options for these borrowers to refinance.
“This is important, particularly for borrowers stuck with lenders who are not providing interest rates in line with the current market. This is happening more than usual with fixed rates expiring onto higher than market variable rates,” Syed said.
“By using common sense hurdle rates, Westpac led the way and have opened options for good borrowers. Thankfully, a handful of other lenders have joined in providing real competition for borrowers.”
In particular, said Syed, property investors stuck with higher rate non-banks have been “big winners” from this competition.
Syed pointed to one example where an investor, previously tied to a non-bank lender, encountered constrained refinancing options due to increased interest rates affecting borrowing capacity.
“He had a decent income rise, but not enough to negate the borrowing capacity drop from higher interest rates. He had a fairly substantial offset balance and had no plans with his excess funds,” Syed said.
In response, the investor chose to make a substantial mortgage payment, enabling a switch to lower rates and ultimately saving more than $17,000 in yearly interest.
“This helped him achieve his goal of lower interest costs and a faster paydown of his debt,” Syed said.
Syed also said he welcomed lenders introducing products with reduced clawback periods, such as Westpac’s products, which came into effect from August 1, 2023.
“With refinancing rates much higher than in the past, the average loan tenure has come down. It's great to see Westpac supporting brokers this way,” he said.
“They’re also leading the market with mortgage insurance waivers, including an Australian first for nurses and midwives. Recently joining the home guarantee scheme has made Westpac a great option for first home buyers too.”
Warren Shaw, Westpac head of broker distribution, said brokers played an “important role” at Westpac and having a good relationship with them was essential to ensure customers receive the “best possible service”.
“Driving these relationships are our BDMs, who are a valuable support for brokers, like Naveen has been for Redom,” Shaw said.
“A good relationship is beneficial for both parties, whether it’s being able to work together to quickly resolve a tricky loan scenario or generating business and referrals, that relationship is key.”
While Syed’s number one priority is supporting his customers, he recognised that “without strong banks supporting brokers, we wouldn't be able to grow our businesses and help our customers”.
“Working together with banks, clients and brokers is essential for a win-win outcome for all parties.”
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