Most businesses who assist borrowers with finance sell on price. “We’ll get you the cheapest rate!” they say.
From comparison sites to home loan ads, the primary focus is sprucing super low-interest rates with picture perfect people luring you in. It is almost like the rate is the only consideration – a low rate will solve all your problems and find you the perfect loan.
But when I founded Lending Mate, I decided to focus on something much more important to everyday real people – stress relief.
Not price, but stress relief.
A lot of brokers think that’s crazy. They tell me, “The only thing borrowers care about is rates!”
That’s partly true but mostly false.
Borrowers have been conditioned to focus on price. Why? Because it is all they see and hear when it comes to home loans. So generally, when I first meet a client, they too are fixated on price.
How does my current rate compare? Have you seen that super low fixed rate – is there a catch? Am I being ripped off by my lender?
However, once I take the time to get to know them, I discover what they’re after is a lot more than someone to find them the cheapest rate. What they are really looking for is someone who will genuinely look after them. Someone who will help them make the right decision to put them in a better place financially. They are looking for someone who is on their side to help them deal with the complicated finance process dominated by big organisations.
Please don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying I ignore interest rates. That would be foolish because obviously, rates are important. It’s just that they’re not the be all and end all because as I have so often found, juicy interest rates are meaningless if you can’t meet the strict lender criteria to obtain the interest rate.
The lack of transparency in lending causes people stress. Borrowers feel like they are only being told half the story, enough to get by, while what is actually going on behind closed doors is being concealed. Transparency is an essential part of the Lending Mate approach.
Lenders love to draw people in with super low-interest rates that in the fine print are “subject to lending criteria”. What people don’t realise is that only certain borrowers will qualify for those rates or that they come with often-annoying conditions. Yet, nowhere is the full list of who qualifies spelled out for borrowers. It is left for when you apply for you to be told “sorry we can’t help you” which can create a huge amount of stress.
Alarmingly, despite only telling people the bare minimum and hiding behind glossy ads that draw you in, most lending business is still directed towards on a handful of lenders. That’s great but these lenders don’t cater to a lot of peoples needs. We at Lending Mate work with a panel of smaller, reputable lenders that are not only more flexible but also know they need to work much harder to win your business.
Lending Mate’s transparency translates into honesty as well. We won’t stuff you around, won’t make promises we can’t keep, won’t make you jump over unnecessary hurdles, won’t pass you from department to department – and won’t make you tear your hair out in frustration. That’s the beauty of transparency – it’s a big stress-reliever.
The people that we focus on are borrowers who have been messed around by the system. They might have received an unexpected “no” from a lender that they have dealt with all their lives. Their circumstances may have changed and things might have happened to them, and for whatever reason, they are struggling with their financial commitments or struggling to get a home loan, and most of all know they need help.
Our approach is simple. We don’t rush into solution mode. We take the time to build trust, to really understand where they are coming from – unique stuff that has happened to them and what is causing them stress about their finances. That’s when they open up and explain how overwhelmed they feel. That’s when they let you know that while a cheap rate is good, what they most want is for someone to relieve them of their stress.
It is a bit like a counsellor. We ask a lot of questions; do a lot of listening. We really want to understand what individuals are going through, but never judge. It is not about right and wrong and it is definitely not clear cut in black and white.
When we understand the full story, we can then make recommendations. Explaining it in detail with full transparency means that they understand all the stuff that other people and lenders haven’t properly disclosed. They know that while the product I’m recommending might not be the cheapest, it will definitely be the one that suits their unique circumstances – at that point in time.
It’s such a relief to know someone has got your back. To be able to forget about endless paperwork, crippling debts, and bank rejections. The stress can just drain away and confidence and control replace it.
We keep in contact with our borrowers’ post loan settlement and find out how they are and how things have progressed. The really positive thing is painting a way forward – that once their circumstances improve we catch up for a review to see if they can move on to another lender with a more attractive rate and policy conditions. Looking after people for life means that we are not just there for a single transaction – but our role in looking after them develops as they do.
When I first started out, I was a Broker much the same as any other. I dealt with the full range of clients who often preferred the loans offered by big lenders that they had dealt with in the past or who advertise heavily. Did you know what I discovered? The borrowers I most enjoyed working with most were the ones that the big lenders were not that interested in. Those non-vanilla borrowers who had the trickiest situations and were feeling the most anxious.
These were real people with real lives. Not just the fairytale mum, dad and 2 kids standing in front of an idyllic house with perfectly manicured lawns. They were stressed. Coping with major life challenges. Struggling to come to terms with a relationship breakdown. Sick of bad stuff in the past holding them back and just wanted to get on with their lives. They were different. They were self-employed. Wanted to live somewhere away from major centres. On top of that, they were not earning an income dictated by the 9 – 5 regime.
A lot of brokers and banks just want to deal with the fairytale because it is easy. Anyone outside of this is often seen as too hard. They need hand-holding. They need solutions which are outside the norm. It can seem like too much work for too little reward. But that is where Lending Mate is different. We cheer for the underdog. It’s their life and I’m there to make sure they can enjoy it.
Eventually, I created Lending Mate so I could specialise in helping these real people. A cheap rate today won’t be the cheapest tomorrow. But stress relief will open up a whole world to people who currently feel trapped. That is what Lending Mate is all about.