Mortgage franchise wants McDonald’s mantle

A MORTGAGE broking franchise started by two brothers from WA aims to become the McDonald’s of the mortgage broking world.

Mortgage Choice, started by Rod and Peter Higgins in 1992, has doubled in size each year for the past three years.

It currently boasts 200 franchisees in Australia and a further twenty in New Zealand.

Mortgage Choice state manager WA Mario Surjan said the company was planning to move into the US, Canadian and UK markets.

The company is also moving towards a listing on NASDAQ.

Mr Surjan said nobody had created a global home loan broking system yet and Mortgage Choice planned to be the one to do it.

He said a crucial part of the global push was information technology.

“We have our own IT department and our own proprietory software,” Mr Surjan said.

Along with the IT push, Mortgage Choice is also working on building its brand.

“We want our logo to stand for clean, fast, efficient mortgage services,” Mr Surjan said.

Mortgage Choice franchise development manager Stuart Stoker said mortgage broking was a particularly Western Australian phenomenon.

“The market in WA is 40 per cent to 50 per cent towards mortgage brokers,” Mr Stoker said.

“In the eastern states it is less than 10 per cent but there are fewer brokers there.”

Mr Surjan said the mortgage broking industry faced a rationalisation similar to that which befell banks after the banking industry was deregulated.

“Initially there was a plethora of players in the market,” he said.

“These gradually rationalised through mergers and acquisitions.

“We believe the same thing will happen in the mortgage broking industry.

“IT will be a big driver of the change.

“A lot of people in the industry have been able to write business in this market with a biro and a calculator – but IT is the way all banks are pushing.

“We believe a lot of brokers are not making sufficient investment in IT to move forwards.

“There is legislation before parliament to make electronic loan applications a reality.

“We’re ready for that because we’ve been researching these applications for the past eighteen months,” he said.

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