Linda and Trevor Friend
Linda and her husband Trevor had their mortgage with one of major banks for years. With rates going down steadily, the time had come for them to refinance.
“Despite being a loyal long term customer, my bank never rang me, never offered anything better; there was no customer contact whatsoever,” says Linda. “I thought, ‘there has to be something better out there.’”
Linda knew Steve was a mortgage broker with Smartline, so she gave him a call.
“He beat what the bank offered without even trying – I got a better rate with lower fees straight away.”
Linda and Trevor chose to fix the majority of their loan leaving a small portion on a variable rate. They also wanted redraw facilities. “I wanted to be able to pay down the loan as fast as possible, but have access to that money if I ever needed it,” Linda says.
The rate drop was huge. The couple went from being on 4.52% Fixed and 4.82% Variable through their previous bank to 3.89% Fixed and 3.79% Variable through Smartline’s own lending facility, Smartline Select. The switch has already brought them substantial savings.
The couple also wanted to borrow a little bit more but it was going to be tight. As the lenders all calculate borrowing capacity slightly differently, Steve looked at how much each of the banks would allow them to borrow. In the end, the Smartline Select loan gave the couple the capability to borrow more, as well as the lower rates and the features they were after.
“Steve always came to meetings prepared,” says Linda. “At our initial meeting, he brought details of the five lenders he thought would suit our circumstances. Together, we were able to drill down to find the package that suited us best. It was really very easy.”
“He was also on top of everything. He always returned our phone calls and emails promptly, and kept us in the loop the whole time. If he said something would happen on a particular date, it did. The whole process was straight forward and pain free.”
Linda’s experience in banking means she has had dealings with many brokers in the past, and she says they haven’t always been positive. “Like with most things, it depends who you get,” she says. “The good ones are great; the bad ones will do anything to get their commission even if it doesn’t suit their client. With Steve running under the Smartline banner, he gets a lot of support and the tools to do a good job. He is also responsible for ensuring his conduct and values align with those required by Smartline.”
After her experience, Linda feels the way the banks are treating the average retail customer makes dealing with a good broker an obvious choice. “My old bank still didn’t contact me even after we lodged the discharge papers. I know from my time working in banks that there is supposed to be a retention team whose objective is to keep customers. But unfortunately, many of them don’t really care about the little folk.”