Find out how Matt Thompson, our BDM in QLD, is navigating the asset finance industry during COVID-19

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Our Business Development Manager in QLD, Matt Thompson, shares how he sees the asset finance industry faring in 2021.

How are you managing and maintaining your relationship with your brokers during this time?

I think it’s even more important to pro-actively get on the phone with our asset finance brokers. Many of our brokers are ‘one-man bands’ and are completely honest with me, that it gets a bit lonely out there when you are working by yourself all day. We don’t always just talk about work and deals. You get to know your brokers quite personally so it’s good to talk about what else is going on in their lives during these weird pandemic times.

How are you building relationships with new clients?

We have been really successful in attracting new brokers to Connective Asset Finance during this time. A lot of pro-active conversations have been held over the phone, as opposed to face-to-face, and many brokers have used the time during COVID-19 to examine their business, their finances and their business relationships. By reviewing their aggregator relationship over the last few months, we have seen some really good asset finance brokers join Connective. In short, the COVID-19 period has allowed brokers to take stock of their business and undertake the appropriate actions.

How does the broking industry look to you in 2021?

In the asset finance space, I have seen an increase in the use of non-major lenders over the last few months. We are still doing great business with the big four but some smaller lenders have really stepped up to support asset finance brokers. I think brokers will remember this and will continue to actively support these smaller lenders ongoing.

Low doc policies have been tightened up and the use of bank statements has increased. I think the use of bank statements will become even more prevalent as lenders want to know how a business is travelling right now, not in June 2019 as per the latest financial statements. This will help those clients who have not been overly adversely affected by COVID-19 get access to funds. I think some lenders may have been a bit conservative in thinking the world is about to end for all clients but hey, these are different times!

What common questions are coming from brokers at the moment? How does Connective Asset Finance provide support to address some of their concerns?

“I have a deal that I would have set really easily a few months ago. Where can I go now”?

Lender policies were literally changing on a daily basis in April and May. Things have settled down a little now but it is still harder to get deals set. That’s where I aim to help our brokers by keeping them up-to-date with lenders and their policies. Even an experienced broker needs to run scenarios by me during these challenging times. I find some brokers without a supportive, dedicated asset finance aggregator sometimes don’t know what they don’t know and it’s not their fault.

Tell us about a time when you had to go the extra mile for a client and it made a big difference to their business

I recently had a broker call me and say “you probably can’t help me with this really tough deal”. It was so pleasing to refer the broker to two lenders who could look after the import of the machinery (via a fintech) and then a traditional lender who could do the deal for a newish ABN. It opened the eyes of the broker as to the number of viable options out there in the market.

When did you start working at Connective Asset Finance? What industry did you come from before joining Connective Asset Finance?

I have been at Connective Asset Finance for just over 18 months. I have always worked in asset finance including two big banks and two smaller non-bank lenders. I have never worked in home loans and never really wanted to but now I work at Connective, I have learnt a lot more about the mortgage market and just how massive it is.

What made you decide to join Connective Asset Finance?

I had dealt with Connective Asset Finance, specifically Brent Starrenburg and Phil Meehan, in my previous role and was always impressed with their focus on asset finance. They worked closely with us as a lender and in speaking with other lender BDMs, they had similar views on Connective Asset Finance. When Connective Asset Finance decided to expand their offering in QLD, I wanted to be a part of it.

We are growing our asset finance volumes at over 35 per cent year on year so I’m confident I made the right choice to join a company on the up. Even in these challenging times, (COVID-19, business confidence down and car sales reducing) we are still growing a massive rate of knots.

Can you give three tips to becoming a successful /BDM like yourself?

  • Pro-activity – I talk to my major brokers on a regular basis to talk about their pipeline, current deals etc.
  • Simply return phone calls – I still marvel that some BDMs are supposedly not vigilant in returning calls. More phone calls means more business!
  • Empathy – some home loan brokers are not experienced in asset finance so it’s rewarding to help them do their first car deal or help them get the confidence to offer asset finance to their client base. Not everyone has had 30 years in the asset finance industry but I’m showing my age now!

Tell us what makes Connective Asset Finance different and stand out from other aggregators from your point of view.

Apart from the very attractive financial reasons and daily commission runs, it’s mainly the large and diverse panel of lenders. I just concentrate in asset finance and working capital lending so that is where my expertise lies.

Find out how Connective Asset Finance will help accelerate your business growth.