By Mike Wood
At Thinktank, we have always recognised the value and importance of our broker network. In fact every loan application is referred to us by a broker. This is why we have always had the ethos, “how do we help a broker grow their business and add value for their clients?”
For us, the broker remains the central part of every transaction. It is the broker that owns the relationship with their customer, retains customer loyalty, and meets their customer’s current and future financial needs through the sourcing of appropriate credit and lending solutions. They are a trusted source and conduit for their clients, which is why we place so much importance on gearing our products and services to best meet the needs of every broker.
We take broker feedback very seriously. As a result, we are constantly reviewing our pricing, as well as modifying and improving our loan products and policies. Our new residential offering for self-employed and SME customers is a prime example.
Through broker engagement and feedback, it was clear that self-employed and SME customers required more flexible and alternative lending solutions than your average PAYG borrower. We had to offer a better solution for brokers to meet these varied needs.
Although Thinktank is well known as a commercial property lender for purchase, refinance and equity release, we have the flexibility and capability to consider all forms and structures for all types of borrowers, including SMSFs. So our response was to introduce a residential offering to provide alternative lending options that can assist all types of borrowers, from PAYG to self-employed customers, sole traders and SMEs.
The product range largely mirrors our commercial suite, including Full Doc and Mid Doc Loans that are specifically designed for self-employed applicants with one form of income verification. We also offer Residential SMSF options up to 80% LVR.
A further benefit is that, as our product type and LVR bands drive our pricing model, interest rates will not change unexpectedly during the credit process unless the LVR changes. This approach of pricing certainty ensures there are no fee or interest rate surprises within the final approval.
With our industry-leading approach to broker support, there are no minimum education or volume requirements to deal with us. If a broker has never written a property-backed commercial loan before, we are here to help. We’ll provide consistent hands-on assistance, and serve as a guide from start to finish on the broker’s commercial loan journey.
We believe it’s critical to never stop learning and growing. So, just as brokers continually educate us on the market and customer needs, we also offer brokers the opportunity to increase their commercial knowledge through both formal and informal education sessions. We hold sessions for all types of commercial lending (property-backed or otherwise), SMSF lending, and even prospecting for new business.
As a business, we are always looking for a better way. With Thinktank expanding further into the residential lending market, so did the demand for technological improvements. This has seen us implement a series of fully and semi-automated solutions that now enable more constructive use of time and improved business efficiencies.
Similarly, we have improved our commercial lending SLA turnarounds, as well as invested in more staff and integrated digital technologies to enhance processes and service levels. This has paved the way for our Relationship Managers (RMs) to spend more time with brokers and less time on administration through streamlining systems.
Thinktank has always assisted brokers through our RM Model – a dedicated team fully equipped and empowered to assist with any scenario and application through to final credit approval and settlement. Access to credit is always available, and transactions can be workshopped at any time.
The close relationship between our RMs and brokers enables discussions about transactions and scenarios to take place prior to actually submitting any transaction. These discussions and ability to assist with deferments, equity release, restructuring loans to improve cash flow, and even growth opportunities have proven to be incredibly valuable. This flex and agility was critical during 2020, and remains just as important as the market continues to face COVID-related challenges.
Working hand-in-hand with our broker partners supports and enables them to respond quickly to the changing market and needs of their customers, whether that’s meeting a funding need, saving money by reducing costs, improving monthly cash flow, or saving time and hassle by reducing covenant compliance measures like annual reviews and regular revaluations.
We are always happy to workshop transactions. And if it doesn’t fit with Thinktank, we will do our best to help introduce a solution elsewhere that meets the needs of the client. Our primary aim is to help brokers remain at the centre of all transactions, offering real value for their customers to strengthen and grow these relationships.