Citiwide Homeloans expects growth, CEO outlines recruitment challenges
Franchise mortgage broker Citiwide Homeloans has announced plans to continue its growth interstate in Victoria and Queensland, with eventual plans to expand nationwide.
With owner-occupied mortgage commitments reaching a six year high and record low interest rates, Citiwide Homeloans is expected to experience exponential growth up to 50 percent from last year’s 21 percent.
With this growth the business will take the total number of franchises to 18.
CEO Patrick Marion said that because Citiwide Homeloans isn’t owned by a bank it distinguishes itself from its competitors.
“We are now one of only a handful of mortgage broker groups that is not owned by a bank. The consumer perception is that brokers should stand separately from lenders (ASIC does not allow brokers to use the word independent) but we can’t control how clients perceive the industry.
“Therefore to be able to say that we are not owned by a bank gives us an edge against the large number of brokers that belong to groups owned by a bank,” Marion said.
Marion said another distinction is the technological capacity to drive clientele access via the web, in a way that allows users to access information relating to their loan around the clock.
“The other point of difference is that we are the only broker group that I know, that has the technology to give our clients access over the web to their file during the processing of their loan. Taking out a home loan is often a very stressful experience for borrowers.
“Having access 24/7 to information relating to the progress of their loan application is something clients appreciate and that not even the banks can make available to them,” Marion said.
Citiwide Homeloans sees the importance of fostering a strong relationship with franchisees, according to Marion. With a fulltime broke support unit in place, franchisees can get help whenever they need it.
“For franchise buyers, again I believe we are the only group that provides franchisees with a full time broker support unit. Most brokers even in much larger franchise groups are responsible for every step of the transaction from sourcing the client to post settlement activities.
“This can restrict their ability to spend more time in front of clients which is of course the most productive activity a broker can do. I should add that our customers also benefit from the Broker Support Unit as they have access to a permanent group of staff as opposed to a single contact point being their broker,” he said.
Marion said there are challenges in recruiting franchisees because people don’t know that mortgage broking is in fact a business opportunity.
“The challenges in getting franchisees is that mortgage broking is not quite seen yet as a “business”; many people that we talk to especially if they’re from outside the industry see it as just another job.
“They are therefore unprepared for the ramp up period that any new business goes through – in other words, not only is there an investment to get in, but there is also a period of time, generally six to 12 months where there is very little income,” Marion said.