Katy Holliday - 10 Aug, 2021

Impact of Sydney Lockdown on the Mortgage Industry

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As Sydney and other states across Australia continue to experience tightened restrictions and lockdowns, the mortgage brokering industry has had to evolve quickly to the ever-changing conditions.

MPA spoke with two mortgage brokers about the strategies they have implemented to weather-proof their brokerships during turbulent times. 

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While Richmond-based Loan Market broker Martin Beanland has found the lockdown a fairly positive experience, he believes online communication and social media is what has kept him most connected to his clients and increased his productivity. 

“I’ve found the Zoom meeting to be far more productive and more convenient for the customer,” he said.

Beanland’s strategy entails a digital meeting with his clients first before submitting their application for pre-approval. He has conveniently implemented an online presentation, used to highlight each step his clients will need to take in the process of buying a house. 

aerial view of Sydney in lockdown

According to Beanland, the current Aussie property boom has been causing some clients anxiety during lockdown, simply because of how fast stock has been moving rather than the usual finance concerns. 

With his new strategy in place, clients can feel assured their broker is taking all the necessary steps to ensure a smoother process.

“Clients love it,” Beanland said to MPA. “There’s no-one else that’s going to hold their hand. Very few agents provide much information in that space and the conveyancer is a transaction specialist. 

“They’ll check the rights and responsibilities and protect the customer but it’s the broker who’s the advocate trying to help them through the process in the main.”

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Beanland sees a post lockdown future where technology like Zoom will remain a key business strategy to help those clients who appreciate the convenience of video conferencing over travelling to his place of work for an initial face-to-face meeting. 

He says Zoom meetings have the ability to cover “the transaction, the comparing options, and compiling loan documents, the next steps of reviewing options and arranging the loan.”

“I think there is a future happy medium and I’m looking forward to it,” says Beanland. 

woman in a zoom call during Sydney lockdown

For NSW and ACT state manager at outsource Financial Heather Gallagher, last year’s first COVID lockdown presented an opportunity to create a six-week education and training program designed to support her brokers through previously uncharted waters.

Quickly coined Learn-La-Palooza, the program started as a way to keep the team of brokers engaged and motivated while working remotely throughout what was predicted to eventuate into a housing crisis. 

Gallagher told MPA that soon after the program commenced, she offered it to brokers in QLD, before opting to broaden it on a national scale. Gaining popularity, it metamorphosed into a successful weekly webinar, and now offers members access to a vast and expanding library of resources and overall education platform.

Gallagher said there has been plenty of positive feedback, with approximately 40% of the aggregator’s membership listening in to the weekly ieducate sessions, exploring a range of topics from the best practices for social media to BID. 

“I’ve since taken over our new entrant mentoring and commercial mentoring and redesigned those programs. I’m delivering them at a national level,” said Gallagher. 

“One of my favourite things we did recently was a session around these cashback offers that are in the marketplace and working out whether it’s actually really to the client’s benefit if you have to wait for a lender who has a four-month turnaround time for a refinance. 

And not just the mechanics of how you do the math, but actually having that conversation with the consumer.”

Electronic sign in Sydney shows covid concerns amid lockdown

Not only has the education program connected brokers with each other during tough lockdowns and COVID but also with the commencement of Best Interests Duty.

“We are in such a rapidly changing environment,” she said. “If we think back to pre-COVID, most of the lenders didn’t even accept a digital signature on an application form. Now, the majority of them are doing everything electronically.”

Heather has found the proof to be in the results. Broker rework has been down since she started the national program, and a selection of brokers from outsource Financial are industry awards finalists.

Words by Katy Holliday

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