Spotlight on: Peter Wood, Bluestone Group

Switzer Broker catches up with Peter Wood, Bluestone Group’s Chief Operating Officer – Asia Pacific, for his take on the company’s plans for future growth, and the state of play in the mortgage market.

What has the response been from the industry since Bluestone Mortgages re-entered the lending market in August 2013?

The response from the industry has been extremely positive with brokers pleased to have another option and ability to expand their client base.

Can you share more insight into the plan to resume to your pre-GFC size?

Our plan is to build our business in a controlled manner that supports our service proposition.

Bluestone is committed to providing responsible financial solutions to those who fall outside of traditional lending criteria, so a key focus will be providing the tools and education to enable brokers to confidently write a specialist loan.

How different is the business now to what it was back then?

The business is not substantially different, although we have expanded internationally.

In Australia, our aim is to allow brokers to responsibly and efficiently support their clients’ needs via education, smart technology and transparent products.

How are Bluestone’s three new BDMs finding their roles?

Recent appointments to Bluestone’s sales force are all experienced operators who have a flair for being able to identify and capitalise on opportunities in the market. They are a dynamic team who focus on building strong relationships with brokers and providing exceptional customer service.

Aside from the BDM hires, what other strategies are being undertaken to boost the growth of Bluestone Mortgages?

Post-GFC, we know there are a lot of new brokers to the industry and many who have become wary of inconsistent specialist loan rules among lenders.

To grow, we believe it is essential that brokers understand our product, services and the information required to write a loan. It is also critical that brokers understand that specialist loans are compliant loans.

For example, Bluestone insists on full disclosure from borrowers to confirm that they can afford a loan and does not accept letters of recommendation from accountants.

We believe education is an area where all non-bank lenders need to support brokers to enable the market to evolve. 

How does Bluestone’s broker proposition stand out from the crowd?

Bluestone is Australia’s expert lender for self-employed and credit-restricted borrowers and we are dedicated to ensuring that our broker network has the support required to responsibly and efficiently meet the needs of their clients.

We will ensure that all Bluestone brokers can access easy to understand accreditation, efficient loan processing, education and the latest smart technologies including our new Quick Quote Tool, Acceptable Security Locator and Valuation Tool which are all available from the Bluestone broker portal on our website.

What are the key challenges and opportunities you see in the mortgage market currently?

We see significant upside in the self-employed and credit-restricted market over the coming 12-18 months, particularly when you consider the migration to positive credit reporting.

Educating brokers on specialist lending best practice and standards is the biggest challenge moving forward.

Any advice or tips for brokers to stay on the front foot in business?

An old saying ‘one you throw away is one you can't get back’.

Brokers shouldn’t feel that they have to turn away a client because their credit needs seem too complex or time consuming. There are responsible and efficient loan products available that brokers can access.

Embracing smart technology will also enable brokers to manage their client base more efficiently.

Published on: 23 June 2014.

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