Newly crowned residential broker of the year optimistic despite rate hikes


The Mortgage and Finance Association of Australia (MFAA) Awards have named Helen Avis of Specialist Mortgage (part of the SMATS Group of Companies) winner of the Residential Finance Broker Award.

The winners of the MFAA National Excellence Awards 2022 were recently announced at a glamorous event at The Star in Sydney.

The MFAA National Excellence Awards acknowledge brokers, lenders, aggregators and industry professionals who have demonstrated exceptional customer service, professionalism, ethics, growth and innovation.

Ms Avis said the award was the culmination of more than two decades building a business with her husband, Steve Douglas, Executive Chairman of SMATS Group.

“For the last 20 years I have just gotten up and gone to work and done my job,” Ms Avis said.

“Yes, I work hard, work on holiday, evenings and weekends if I have to, but I also love it and yes, it is frustrating sometimes – bank policies, delays which are out of your control – but at the end of process we have made someone a property owner whether for investment or to live in.

“It’s this that gives me the satisfaction.”

The national awards are the culmination of the MFAA State Excellence Awards, which were held throughout May and June.

Ms Avis, who won the Western Australian state award, settled a staggering $187 million in loans for 2021, a 67 per cent increase on the previous year with no signs of slowing down.

2022 is looking to be even more successful, off the back of a personal record set in July 2021 settling more than $25 million across 29 deals.

Going ballistic

Speaking to API Magazine, Ms Avis said this year had been challenging because of the interest rate hike cycle being undertaken by the Reserve Bank of Australia, but the market had heated up again.

“After the rate rise of 0.5 per cent in June it did slow down, emails dropped off, enquiries decreased and in the last week of June it was very quiet, however since then it’s gone ballistic again.

“People are still buying and looking to buy, so the next few months will be interesting.”

Concerns about interest rates were on clients’ minds and they have voted with their feet when choosing their loan type.

“Up until October last year most clients were taking fixed rates and then they started to go up and I saw a shift with some fixed and some variable, but now I would say nearly all my clients are taking variable rates.

See the full list of 2022 MFAA National Excellence Award winners


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