WA invention taking the east by storm

A WA financial services creation is taking the rest of Australia by storm.

Mortgage originators, consultants who go to the customers’ homes with swags of lending products from various institutions, are doing big business in WA.

Anecdotally, mortgage originators are responsible for 50 per cent of all home loans written in this State.

St George Bank WA manager and Mortgage Industry Association of Australia lenders committee chairman Peter Heindrich said 65 per cent of his business in Perth came from mortgage origination.

Around 88,000 loans were written in WA last year by mortgage originators, before refinancing is taken into account.

While the eastern States have not yet widely embraced the concept, the industry is starting to grow strongly there.

The national average for broker introduced business is now 20 per cent, up from 9 per cent the previous year.

Mortgage origination is considered to be one of the top five growth industries in Australia.

Residential Mortgage Services managing director and chair of the MIAA’s mortgage origination committee John Bignell said the concept was started by the Statewide Building Society in 1988.

Statewide applied the finance director model used in car dealerships to the home loans industry and ran a pilot scheme involving five Roy Weston outlets.

Mr Bignell was given the job of running the scheme which immediately proved successful.

That success – 1988 and 1989 were boom years in WA real estate – and Statewide’s small size meant the concept was soon offered to other lenders.

Mr Bignell said BankWest – in its R&I guise – came on board in 1991 and the concept became much easier to sell with a major lender on board.

“Statewide on its own was limited in the products it could offer. With other lenders such as the R&I and Challenge Bank there was more choice,” he said.

Mortgage Choice WA manager Mario Surjan said customers in the WA market could now choose between mortgage originators and lenders.

Ironically, the eastern States-born Mortgage Choice was set up by an expatriate Western Australian who had seen the success of the mortgage origination concept.

Loanscorp managing director Anne-Marie Syme said, while there was a lot of business to be done in the eastern States, consumers there were unaware of the time and cost benefits mortgage originators could bring.

To help promote these benefits, Loanscorp recently set up the Loans Café.

Ms Syme said she copied the concept from book cafes – bookstores with cafés attached.

“People can come to us off the street and glean information about twenty-five financial institutions on, not only home loans, but any type of lending,” she said.

“At present, people are using the café primarily as an educational tool but they often then ask for a mortgage originator to visit them at home.

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