12/06/2007 - 22:00

Mortgage brokers eye WA expansion

12/06/2007 - 22:00

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Competition in Western Australia’s mortgage broking market looks set to intensify this year as three of Australia’s most successful non-bank lenders prepare to open new branches across the state.

Mortgage brokers eye WA expansion

Competition in Western Australia’s mortgage broking market looks set to intensify this year as three of Australia’s most successful non-bank lenders prepare to open new branches across the state.

Australia’s biggest non-bank lender, Aussie, plans to open three franchised branches in Inglewood, Cannington and Currambine by September, while competitors Mortgage Gallery and Mortgage Choice prepare to open four and six new franchised branches, respectively.

Aussie’s new shop fronts also coincide with a planned boost of its mortgage adviser pool from 50 brokers to 75 this year, as well as a major re-branding campaign and roll-out of new lending and insurance products.

Aussie founder and chief executive John Symond told WA Business News the company would target Bunbury and other regional centres next year as part of a gradual expansion of its franchise operations in WA.

Aussie currently has 15 franchises across Australia, including one in Belmont, which opened in 1996.

“Our [business] model does not provide for a large branch network,” Mr Symond said.

“We don’t want to open a hundred in the next six months, we want to manage and help the few we have to be successful and have sustainable growth.”

Mr Symond said WA and south-east Queensland were the best performing economies in Australia.

Fellow franchisor, Mortgage Choice, is also forging ahead in WA, with six new branches due to open this year in undisclosed locations.

The company has 25 franchised branches in WA, including in Australind and Albany. 

National manager of corporate affairs, Warren O’Rourke, said there was still a lot of growth in the WA property market, despite it cooling in recent months. 

 “It’s interesting to see the shift that has occurred in the volume of our business. NSW used to make up 45 per cent of our business but this has fallen to 39 per cent, with the difference taken up by WA,” he said.

Mr O’Rourke said the land supply bottleneck in WA remained a major problem and an ongoing concern for the industry. 

With arguably the biggest geographic spread of branches in WA, competitor The Mortgage Gallery is preparing to further expand its business.

Established in 1992, the company has 12 metropolitan and five regional franchised branches, and is about to open a branch in Morley.

Managing director John Bignell told WA Business News a Leederville branch would open shortly, followed by another in Fremantle in September/October and then Midland in December.

“We’ve just come off our biggest ever month for new business in May and that’s without seeing an upsurge in first home buyers,” he said.

Mr Bignell said finding the right people to grow its team of brokers remained a challenge going forward as it did not recruit from other lenders, preferring to train people new to the industry.

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