Cherry Lending & Finance was born out of a love to educate people and to inspire them to do things they didn’t think were achievable.
Cherry Lending & Finance focuses predominantly on First Home Buyers and small business owners who are either looking to grow their business or purchase or upgrade their home.
Customer Service – New Customers
The level of detail I provide to my clients is over and above anything I have ever experienced in the past both from other mortgage brokers and the banks. More often than not I would go into a mortgage not really understanding it, and also not knowing what fees are associated with it only to find that I was left short at settlement.
A big part of my client base is first home buyers so I’m very thorough when it comes to the level of detail I provide them so they know what the additional out of pocket expenses will be, what their repayments will be, and most importantly why I have chosen a particular loan product over another. They feel empowered and informed when they finally are in a position to purchase something.
Once I know what it is my clients are looking for I then start to keep an eye out for them and forward on any houses/units that I think they might be interested in, and in some instances I’ve even attended open homes and passed on the detail to them.
Customer Service – Existing Customers
From my experiences over the years of acquiring finance and from feedback I had received from friends, colleagues and family, I knew there was a big gap in how Mortgage Brokers (and lenders) managed their clients post settlement.
Once my loans had settled I’d never hear from my broker or lender again unless I reached out to them for something so I knew most people would also be experiencing this also.
Given a mortgage is one of the biggest financial commitments you will make in your life, I knew it was important to keep in touch with my clients and offer them a post settlement program and also thank them for any referrals they send my way. My after- care program covers off:
- Post settlement phone call
- ‘Thank You’ (Cherry Lending & Finance branded) card and gift
- Post settlement email outlining details of their new home loan and lender customer service contact details
- Annual review of their interest rate (negotiated if required) and loan product
- ‘Happy Anniversary’ (Cherry Lending & Finance branded) card sent out on first year anniversary
For any existing client or non-client that refers someone onto me I send them a small gift and thank you card to show my appreciation for referring someone to me.
Recently I had what I thought was a straight-forward self-employed loan application as the clients had good strong income results on their 2017 and 2018 tax returns, and 2019 was showing results that were even better than the past two years.
The initial assessor advised me the loan was looking good and that he was sending it off to credit for approval. Two days later I received an email advising that the loan had been declined because of a trip to the US during the 2019 financial year. Although my clients continued to receive income via the Trust in AUD, this particular lender would not accept the application without the LVR being lowered. The finance clause was now fasting expiry and I had to think quick.
I reached out to another lender’s BDM, sent her the scenario of which she had ticked off by credit and started the application over the weekend. My clients were able to get a week’s extension on the finance clause, but no more.
I worked on the new application over the weekend, it was submitted on the Monday morning and the new valuation had been ordered so everything was underway by mid-morning that following Monday. I did not let up until I received the outcome at 4.45pm on the Friday. My client’s loan went unconditional and they got the house.
In the early stages of my business I relied heavily on networking, business relationships I had established, and friends and family for my referrals. I have been in business now for just on two years and have seen a dramatic increase in referrals from my existing client base. Although I continue to work on increasing my referrals from outside of my existing client base through first home buyer seminars and networking, it is a big driver of the growth of my business.
The parts of my business that have improved or are thriving are the types of clients I receive and the increased expertise I have gained from that. One of my target markets is First Home Buyers and I’m definitely seen now as the expert in this area.
An example which has led to repeat business or referrals, was with a young girl and her mother. The mother went guarantor on the loan and was super impressed with the level of detail I provided to my client. At settlement, January 2020, she posted a great testimonial on my Facebook page of which I did not request and has since referred three more clients.
Because my business is still reasonably new (first settlement was in October 2017) I have not had a lot of new loans from my existing customer base. The bulk of my business therefore has been from new customers. The percentage of these loans being from referrals from my existing client base is approx. 40%.
Without a doubt my business is as successful as it already is in this early stage because of my customer experience. I have a unique proposition compared to many other brokers and lenders in that I provide more detail than is required, nurture my clients so they feel safe and educated, and am not your stereotypical mortgage provider. Something I was very cautious of when starting my business, hence the branding.
My first home buyer seminars inspire people who thought that purchasing their first home was out of reach, mostly because when they walk away from a bank and are told you’re not ready, they have no further detail that will equip them in making this purchase. I work with my clients anywhere from one day to twelve months helping them to get into their first home.