LVR restrictions, high property prices drive people to brokers

by Krizzel Canlas21 Dec 2017
Go2Guys broker Campbell Hastie tells NZ Adviser why, from a BDM post, he decided to give mortgage broking business a go.

In this Q&A, Hastie also talks about his most memorable client experience and what he enjoys doing during his days off.

Q: Who or what has inspired you to become a mortgage broker? What led you to this industry?
A:
Like most people, it was actually a handful of things that had been rolling around in my mind for a while but it boils down to being in control of my future and financially stable.

In my last job, (BDM at ING Life, the company that is now Onepath) I saw the renewal commission life brokers were generating and the idea of building it up for myself really appealed. I figured that a great way to build renewal was off the back of a mortgage so that was my model. But I quickly found the process of helping someone into a house is quite uplifting especially when compared to insurance. Yes, people are grateful when they have successful insurance claims and you do feel good about that but they don’t exactly pop champagne like first home buyers do! So mortgage broking and property seemed like an uplifting industry to work in. I was at an age where the time was right to give business a go because I’d have time to regroup if it didn’t work out, thankfully it has.

The actual trigger point though was a conversation I had with my boss at the time; he pissed me off royally and got my resignation a couple of days later.

Q: Tell us briefly about your company and its role in the mortgage industry. What makes it different from other companies in the same space?
A:
Our business is geared to first home buyers and high LVR lending primarily in Auckland. The LVR restrictions and high Auckland property prices make it a difficult niche to operate in but that's exactly why people come and see us, they really do need our help and encouragement. We do all the usual residential mortgage work but FHBs are our primary target.

Q: What is the best part of being a broker?
A:
Hearing the thrill (and relief!) when someone buys their first house. It reminds me of the buzz I got when my wife and I moved into our first place.

Q: What’s the hardest, most challenging part?
A:
Saying “no” to someone in a way that doesn’t ruin their day.

Q: What was your most memorable client experience?
A:
Ballsy client put deposits on 12 sections at Mangawhai aiming for a quick buck by on selling before having to settle. GFC came along and wiped out funding for everything. Seeing the colour drain from his face was quite memorable. Horrible but memorable.

Q: You previously worked with Sovereign for a number of years. What have you learned from that experience and how do these lessons help you now?
A:
That having two university degrees might get you in the door but they don’t mean you’re any good. I recall being encouraged to be decisive and to “get on with it,” so long as I had solid reasons behind what I was doing or thinking about doing. To follow through – just do what you said you were going to do. And if you couldn’t, then be upfront about it. Naomi Ballantyne (of Partners Life) taught me those things and because they’ve served me well I’ve never forgotten them.

Q: How would you sum up brokers in three words?
A:
On your side. We’re advocates for our clients, you know?

Q: What do you see as the biggest opportunity for brokers in 2018?
A:
Mining their database and growing it. That’s what I’m going to do, anyway.

Q: What do you think of RBNZ’s LVR changes?
A:
I was opposed to them initially because they would, in my view, impact first home buyers more negatively than other classes of borrower. That's actually happened and in fact, property investors (myself included) have benefitted at the expense of the FHB. You won’t see a massive market change when the restrictions ease in Jan 2018 but it is a positive move.

Q: Does the industry need more regulation?
A:
Yes, I do – but it’s coming. My sense is that the proposed regulations get the balance about right.
More than that though, I think the industry needs sustained promotion to tell people why a broker, adviser or whatever you want to call yourself is a worthwhile option for punters to seek out. It was rightly self-serving but the last person to do it on a big scale was Mike Pero Mortgages. And it worked because people still know the jingle 15 years later.

Q: Outside the broking business, what else do you enjoy doing?
A:
Competitive woodchopping, fly fishing especially for trout but kingfish etc too.

Q: If you were Prime Minister for one day, what would you do?
A:
Put National back in but make sure they committed to improving the environment generally and water quality in particular. They did a poor job on environmental issues and it was part of what cost them the election.

Q: If you could have dinner with any three people (dead or alive, excluding family or friends), who would you invite and why?
A:
Queen Elizabeth. I’m not a royalist but she’s a great example of longevity and stability. We could go shoot some pheasants together.

There’s a few legendary woodchoppers I wouldn’t mind yarning to, all dead now. David Bolstad (son of the legendary Sonny Bolstad), Bruce Alexander and Innes Davidson (both prominent axemen from Northland).

And I have to include my father. He died when I was almost 4 years old so there’s about 40 years to catch up on.

Q: Complete this sentence: If I wasn’t in mortgage broking, I would be...
A:
travelling to exotic fly fishing destinations and being paid to blog about it all.


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