Finance- possibilities

Mortgage Finance Association of Australia

Project Duration
6 Months

Jason Cuerel has been a mortgage broker and home loan specialist for more than 15 years.

“I started as the Brisbane relationship manager for Pacific Mortgage Corporation,” says Jason, “They are a non-bank lender with non-conforming aggregators, dealing with tricky customers.”

“When I tried to get a competitive home loan for my father, I couldn’t get one because my employer didn’t work with mainstream banks. This was the motivation to go out on my own as a mortgage broker.”

So I went out on my own for a couple of years, worked for Finance Ezy as their in-house broker for five years, before I landed in Loan Market, initially working with Ray White Surfers Paradise Group, mainly servicing investors in the apartments division,” he continues.

“It was the market drop of 2010 at this stage, so it was hard at the start, but I worked at building relationships to make it work.”

“Within 12 months of joining Loan Market I was given the opportunity to work with Ray White in Robina and Broadbeach, which was easier as they were primarily local first home buyers and upgraders, who also then started referring their friends and family.”

Jason currently owns Mortgage Innovations on the Gold Coast, which includes Varsity Lakes, Robina, Reedy Creek, Mudgeeraba, Burleigh Heads and surrounding suburbs.

“Gold Coast is a hot market, so is starting to get as fast paced as the city,” says Jason, “I loose a lead within three hours if I don’t address it.”

Jason credits his fast, effective service to the support he receives from his team, who are committed to doing everything correctly and diligently.

“The office has a good energy,” he says, “It is fun, has a good vibe and we provide fast, effective solutions that are in the best interests of our clients.”

Jason’s clients have a range of lifestyles and needs, so his business offers a complete loan service covering a range of loan types.

“Most of our clients work in the public health system, trades and education, which are the stable jobs on the Gold Coast,” says Jason, “Hospitality workers will probably enter the market again as tourism ramps up.”

Jason dedicates up to two hours of listening time to new clients to get to know them and understand their needs. He aims to make the experience an enjoyable, rather than a stressful one.

“By building relationships they know they can trust me, and that I have their best interests at heart,” he says.

Jason was a finalist for the Regional Finance Broker Award in the 2021 Queensland Excellence Awards.

“Being nominated for an award is amazing as it recognises your hard work and that you are one of the best,” says Jason.

Business challenges

The biggest challenges for Jason are work life balance and long pre-approval processes.

“I have a six month old at home and there is a lot of research and paperwork in this job, plus I can’t keep up with the referrals,” explains Jason.

“If you do your job well, your trail only grows. Luckily I have a team of two brokers and four administration staff, who enable me to work nine to five and take clients in the evenings and on the weekend.”

“A while back, pre-approval for Commonwealth Bank was pushed out to five weeks, but they put on extra assessors which has now alleviated a lot of stress with files being picked up in two days.”

Networking tactics

Talking to the right people is Jason’s number one tactic.

“I speak to real estate agents to assure them that our clients are in a good financial position,” he says.

“I get loans approved quickly and efficiently because of my experience with bank policies and product knowledge, increasing my approval rates.”

“I don’t push, but can often get decisions overturned by workshopping the scenario with credit and providing extra information. The key is finding the right policy-fit in the beginning and a good relationship with the relationship manager of that lender.”

“Clients love a quick turn around and need to know what’s going on if it’s not happening fast. I help them trust in the process, educate them about delays and find the right solution for them.”

Industry trends

Jason’s hopes for the industry include less technology and more people.

“I think the industry is becoming tech savvy, which could lead to less human contact, but I hope not,” says Jason.

“I think that trust, the personal touch and a genuine interest in your clients are still important.”

“I love this industry because it’s about people and the relationships you build with staff, clients, lenders and creditors.”

Advice to young brokers

Having a referral source is key to success for young brokers.

“The Gold Coast market is saturated,” explains Jason.

“If you are a new broker starting out, you need to have a referral source and partner with an existing broker to get leads for your business.”

“Build relationships with the people who work with the policies, procedures and processes.”

“It’s difficult at the start, but you need to get your name out there,” he concludes.

Sync Technologies

Project Duration
Three years

Sydney-based construction data insurtech Sync Technologies says a need for the insurance industry to explore and adopt more technological solutions is highlighted by the unresolved status of a fifth of claims a year on from record 2022 floods.

CEO and Co-Founder Carolina Dreifuss tells more solutions need to be explored to reduce claims management processing times and costs. She notes that at the one-year anniversary of the floods in Queensland and NSW, 46,000 claims or 20% were still outstanding.

“This is a significant number. Delays in processing insurance claims can exacerbate the situation, causing further stress and anxiety,” she says.

“It is time for more technology adoption in the claims management process. It is imperative the insurance industry and other stakeholders leverage every opportunity to accelerate claims resolution times and support policyholders in addressing repair and rebuild requirements, as well as managing claims costs.”

Sync Technologies recently won the 2023 ITC Asia Award for Australia hosted at InsurtechLIVE 23 and Ms Dreifuss and her team will now compete at InsureTech Connect Asia 2023 in Singapore.

In her pitch, she detailed how Sync’s visual property data had cut insurer claim assessment times and travel costs by up to 75% and “saved over 7000 working days”. Its visual property data for building claims, including aerial and ground-based external and internal captures, floor plans, photos, simulations and more “aim is to support the insurance industry in accelerating the claims management process,” she says.

“By providing data within 48 hours of attendance, SyncTech enables desktop assessment and supports the rectification of the damage, as well as easier collaboration across stakeholders.”

The solution is designed to simplify the entire procedure, from site inspection and data collection, through to tender and rectification.

Wilson Parking

Project Duration
Two years

Wilson Parking, Australia’s leading parking operator places great importance on the safety of their car parks, ensuring that lighting across the car parks, entry, exits and areas such as lift lobbies and stairwells create a comfortable environment.

PowerWell is an Australian owned and operated energy optimisation company. They specialise in providing smart energy management solutions, such as LED Lighting to commercial operations.

By working with PowerWell and alongside its landlords, Wilson Parking has improved the lighting efficiency across a number of car parks. This ensures that lighting meets Australian standards, improves the safety for parkers, pedestrians and vehicles within car parks, as well as reducing the energy consumption required to achieve optimal lighting levels.

Paul Sidwell, Chief Technology Officer at Wilson Parking says, “We always strive to maintain high quality of service for our customers, which includes the presentation of our car parks and to provide an appealing and safe environment. There are also added environmental benefits of reduced energy consumption with this approach.”

Through consultation with its landlords, Wilson Parking wanted to ensure optimum lighting levels and energy efficiency. After engaging with PowerWell, a lighting audit was undertaken. The current light output was assessed across a number of factors, including the compliance to Australian Standards AS 1680, which specifies minimum light levels for both day and night, as well as different locations within a car park. They also looked at energy consumption, efficiency of lighting and overall positioning and quality of lighting.

Rob Filipovic, Director and Head of Business Development at PowerWell says, “We are pleased to be working with Wilson Parking to improve lighting quality and efficiency across their car parks. Although lighting was already good within its car parks, a thorough audit identified where improvements could be made to have optimal lighting output and to the energy consumed by the lighting.”

By moving to a more efficient way to manage lighting, a reduction of car park energy consumption can be achieved. This equates to more than 100,000 kWh on average per site- the equivalent of offsetting 35 combustion cars per site per year.

Wilson Parking has upgraded a number of lighting projects across major car parks in Victoria and New South Wales, that are used by thousands of customers each day. Together with PowerWell, Wilson Parking has adopted customised options, daylight harvesting and motion sensors to achieve uniform illumination levels, creating a more comfortable and energy efficient environment.

“So far, we have seen excellent results from the lighting projects. Not only have we been able to ensure a safer and more comfortable environment for our customers, but we’re able to reduce energy consumption. For the car parks we have already completed, we have achieved up to 86% in lighting efficiency and energy reduction.” says Paul Sidwell.