Publication Date: Monday, 14 May 2020
This article originally appeared in Australian Broker
This isn’t the first time Natalie Sheehan, head of distribution at Brighten Home Loans, has witnessed major disruption to the economy and the mortgage industry – and it won’t be the last. She shares her advice and insights to help brokers not just survive the pandemic but come out the other side batting to win.
A: I must admit, when I went through the GFC I thought: how is this going to change the landscape of finance in the future? Will business be the same? I saw a number of large nonbanks stop funding, others went into shutdown mode, and brokers were really uncertain. That’s what’s happening now, and there’s a really high level of insecurity, and for newer brokers who haven’t been through the GFC or a big economic shift, you can really look to people who have been in the industry a long time for guidance.
My the advice is to be really authentic and give your clients a level of understanding of what you’re doing and how you can help them with their current challenges.
A: You’ve got a great opportunity to work on your business rather than in your business. Do you have a business plan? A strategy for what type of product you want to be offering post-COVID? Have you ever looked into asset finance, or non-resident lending, or low-doc loans? Use this time to do additional training and fine-tune your offering. The value you can get from attending a webinar right now is fantastic. They are so efficient; you can access 40-60 minutes of dedicated content without having to drive anywhere, and you can get some great contacts potentially with other brokers and BDMs.
A: I definitely think it is. The way brokers traditionally generate leads is through networking events, knocking on doors, asking for referrals from existing customers or referral partners, and through social media. All of that is still available; it’s just accessed differently. Instead of knocking on doors, reach out digitally – I’ve seen some fantastic examples of brokers putting together video updates on what’s happening in the market, and becoming a resource for their clients. Right now there’s so much complexity in lending, and customers need brokers more than ever. Everyone is disconnected and isolated, so picking up the phone and calling someone in your network goes far.
A: People think it’s impossible to business-plan at the moment, but it’s actually about looking at what your strategy is. The times of writing a three-year business plan are gone; with the rapid changes we’ve experienced over the last two years, regardless of the COVID-19 pandemic, now you really need to have a strategy and the ability to pivot, and that becomes your business plan.
A: Always look at the opportunities – there are a lot out there at the moment. Over 45% of adults in Australia have been affected financially by this pandemic, so people are looking for help. They need someone who can hold their hand, help them with their financial strategy and help them find the opportunity in this market.
Their ability to work with clients with such high customer service level and fast processing speed is incredible.
I have been working with my BDM, Mikai Ning, for two years. Since meeting her, she has continued to impress me with her professionalism, her efficiency, and her patience to listen and explaining all information. Even during pregnancy period, she even said to me personally that if there is anything I require, that Mikai is still contactable and will get back to me as soon as she can. Her attitude is always super nice and is highly passionate about what she does. I have been in this field for so many years and she is the best BDM I have worked with.
Great review for Mikai Ning. Not only is she highly passionate, but she is also very hard working and highly detail oriented in her work. No matter what time of the day, or day of week, she will always get back to us. We highly appreciate Mikai and Brighten for their hard work and ongoing support.
Brighten’s BDM, Liwen, has left a very impressive impression. Whether it is policy or product, she can solve and fix any problem, big or small, she is always reaching out and supporting us. From the beginning, It has been great to work with Brighten’s vastly experience team and great products. I always recommend Brighten to all my clients.
Mikai is a very passionate and proactive person. Our work with Mikai has is nothing but positive outcomes and we look forward to continuing working Brighten and Mikai.
My BDM Leo Liu has been a great help in assisting me setting up the referral program and educating in terms of products and knowledge. I look forward to the greater relationship with Brighten Home Loan and Leo Liu.
Mikai is our BDM and she is a very detail oriented with great work ethic and speed. If there is a policy update, she will always try and get in touch with us as soon as possible to ensure that we received and understand the relevant changes so that we can better accommodate our clients. Thank you for your ongoing support to us brokers.
It has been very convenient with the interest rates being lower also. Brighten home loan was able to solve so many problems for overseas clients. Big thanks to BDM Mikai for all her support.
I need to thank my BDM Liwen Liu. She has been very responsible since the beginning. She is always patient with my home loan scenario enquires. She always tries to do best for the clients. Liwen is very professional, always gives good advice to brokers. She is an excellent BDM. Thank you.