M&FB live from the National Convention - 2 June

Tomorrow's Broker needs to be lifelong adviser

An International Panel representing the UK, US, Canada and New Zealand discussed mortgage broking in their respective countries yesterday afternoon at the MFAA National Convention, and the overriding message was unanimous: if you want to be Tomorrow's Broker you need to develop a holistic approach and go beyond the realms of the traditional mortgage broker.

The panel comprised Darren Pratley of NZMBA, the UK's Michelle Colbran of solution four, Dennis Black of US-based Dennis Black Associates and Jim Murphy of Canada's CAAMP and, while their commentary of post-GFC developments in the individual markets differed, the need for brokers to diversify and offer an holistic financial approach was common throughout.

"Brokers need to become financial advisers, rather than mortgage brokers," said Pratley. "A lot of brokers are now writing risk, and to prosper we need to offer a number of financial products - and put in the time to learn about them. The opportunity is huge."

Colbran said in the UK, almost all brokers now offer other products. "Almost 100% of brokers cross-sell and offer insurance, pensions and so on. The key is to maintain and develop those relationships to avoid clawbacks. It takes a shift in mentality, but has been very worthwhile for brokers in the UK.

"Brokers need to adopt a client for life, rather than customer for today, approach."

Dennis Black from the US, who has trained over 80,000 mortgage professionals across 45 states, said brokers in the US have needed to identify why they are different.

"If you can't establish that then you're purely a commodity, and you'll be judged only on rate and price. You don't want that - you want to be judged as a resource.

"You can't be an order taker and make a living."

Jim Murphy of CAAMP said that for brokers to thrive, the relationship with their customers needed to deepen. "Tomorrow's Broker needs to increase their professionalism and raise the bar. If brokers can differentiate themselves and increase their knowledge, the opportunity is huge."

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Phil Naylor identifies holy grail for brokers

Phil Naylor, MFAA CEO, addressed the MFAA National Convention yesterday by revealing the association's holy grail - that everyone who visits a broker asks 'Are you an MFAA member?'

Pointing towards the increased professional and educational standards, and the extensive promotion of the benefits of using an approved broker, he said, "We are on the road to achieving that holy grail - and we will get there."

Naylor also revealed that the MFAA would leave 'no stone unturned' in the ongoing battle to overturn the government's ban on exit fees.

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Banks must embrace technology - Brett King

Brett King believes most people could be forgiven for thinking the banking industry was pretty sluggish when it comes to innovation. After all, the fundamentals of the industry haven't really changed in the last 800 years.

But with new mobile technologies having a permanent effect on customer behaviour, King told delegates attending his Wednesday afternoon session at the MFAA National Convention that it was time for the banks to adapt.

"The internet has changed things for the banking industry," the author of Banks 2.0 said. "We customers now have control of the banking relationship.

"For instance, NAB's UBank is now the eighth largest bank in Australia by deposits. In only three years, it has a built a deposit base of $7 billion in assets.

"That has purely been because, in that time, there has been a 300% increase in online transactions. People are now twice as likely to bank online as they are at a branch.

"UBank's growth has been solely down to customer behaviour and having a online transaction model."

However, many banks do not believe their customers' behaviours have actually changed. Social media allows an organisation to listen to its customers, but King believes most banks are still to come to terms with this.

King also discussed a new factor in the changing customer-banking relationship - mobile payments.

"Today's smartphones are much more efficient than the old chequebook," he said. "Customers can use their phones as payment devices and check their balance in real-time.

"It has fundamentally altered the everyday banking experience."

Because they share the same customers, King said it was vital that mortgage brokers understand this behaviour shift as well.

"A broker's real value is simplifying the experience and removing any barriers for the customer," he said. "It's not about the product - you have to make sure the customer's journey is simple and easy."

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Day one closes in style

Day one of the MFAA National Convention closed in style last night, as delegates and exhibitors headed to Brisbane's place-to-be-seen, Cloudland, in the city's Fortitude Valley.

Stiltwalking, brightly-lit women, tarot readers and girls in beachballs entertained the crowds, while drinks and delicious food in the roofless venue brought day one to a fittingly spectacular end.

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Your say: Ron Brown, Tassie Home Loans

What are your first impressions of the MFAA National Convention so far?
This is my first convention. It's a lot bigger than I expected. It's very well put together and very professional.

What stands have you looked at so far?
I've only just arrived, so I'll be having a good look tomorrow. But the free bottles of Grange have caught my eye.

The theme of the convention is 'Tomorrow's Broker'. What are the big challenges facing brokers at the moment?
The tightening of the banks' lending policies is an ongoing challenge that has been causing problems for the last few years. The banks are cherry-picking all of the good business. They need to increase their appetite for risk.

What can the MFAA do to help with these challenges?
Well they can't change the banks' policies, so all they can do is keep us educated, which they do really well already.

What do you hope to get out of the convention?
I'd like to do a lot of networking and meet more people in the flesh. Being from Tassie, I'd also like to get a bit of sun.

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Citibank's unlock to win

Delegates and exhibitors can win two $25 Myer gift vouchers every day by simply unlocking the blue door at the Citibank stand.

However, they will first have to choose the correct key from a bowl of dozens of dummy keys.

A maximum of five winners will be selected every day and each delegate can enter once every day.

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Brokers win training

The AAMC Training Group is giving delegates the chance to take up one of its many training courses, free of charge.

Visitors can enter the business card draw to for a chance to win one of the courses from the group's full course list.

With brokers having to understand more and more to better serve their clients, AAMC is offering a range of business and finance/mortgage courses geared towards the future.

Most of the courses are intended as additions to the Diploma of Financial Services and Financial Planning programs, with courses on self-managed super funds, file auditing services and will services particularly.

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ANZ golf challenge

ANZ is running a golf putting challenge at its stand for the duration of the MFAA National Convention.

Those brokers who successfully sink a putt will receive a box of three Wilson Dx2 Soft golf balls. Those who aren't quite up to the challenge, meanwhile, can still win an ANZ hat and a packet of tasty jellybeans.

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