In a highly competitive lending environment, it’s surprising to come across someone like More Than Mortgages director Deanna Ezzy, a broker who just launched a business but already feels confident in turning down substantial deals.
“I decided a few months into my business that I couldn’t be everything to everyone. I decided not to do rural loans, loans in high-risk postcodes, or low-doc loans,” Ezzy, a 2018 MPA Top 100 Brokers finalist told MPA, sister publication of NZ Adviser. “I will work with almost everyone else, assuming they’re respectful and pleasant to deal with.”
Last year, despite just launching a new business, Ezzy had turned down roughly $10m-worth of deals from off-the-book clients who she felt were better off receiving a fixed product or variable pricing from their current lender than getting a refinance.
“Always get pricing first before refinancing regardless of whether the loan is in your books or not,” Ezzy said. “Always ask yourself: ‘If these were my loans, what would I do?’”
Ezzy admits that sometimes turning down a $1m refinance application can be quite painful, but for her “it’s all about doing the right thing”.
“If you’re always doing the right thing by the client, your reputation will elevate, and people will come to know you as an ethical businessperson,” she said. “More referrals will come your way. Plus, you’ll feel good about yourself!”
Growth via feedback
Ezzy is as open in accepting feedback from clients as she is careful in choosing them. She gives clients equal opportunities to rate their experience and to point out areas her team can improve. “I believe without feedback, we won’t grow. Every now and then the feedback will be implemented as a new process,” she said.
Through feedback, Ezzy realised they fell short in explaining to some clients how loan applications could stretch to more than a week, so she came up with a timeframe document that they hand out to clients before the initial meeting and upon signing the compliance pages.
Taking on around $95m-worth of volumes over a few years back left Ezzy burned out due to poor workflow, so her team adopted a systemised approach that allows clients to know what to expect, how the process will proceed, and the responsibilities she and her business operations manager Natasha Condi will take on. Part of their approach is updating clients every two days on the application’s progress.
“We are now a well-oiled machine that can write similar volumes, even with the tightened regulations and extra paperwork, with relative ease,” Ezzy said.
Through experience, her team has learned to anticipate and mitigate what could go wrong at the back end. They spend a considerable time going back and forth with clients to ensure they have all supporting documents before submission.
“If anything looks wrong, we can fix it well before it becomes an issue,” she added.