Skip to content

AFG Labs

Discover how we're building the future of today's brokers.

Latest articles

Trophy

It’s a testament to our brokers’ hard work and dedication that so many are nominated as state finalists in The Adviser Better Business Awards in 2021. See the list of finalists below:


NSW 2021 Finalists

BEST CUSTOMER SERVICE (INDIVIDUAL)
Fane Levy, Shore Financial
Joel Wyld, Peasy

BEST FINANCE BROKER
Fane Levy, Shore Financial

BEST LENDER BDM (NON-BANK)
Joseph Khal, AFG Home Loans

BEST LOAN ADMINISTRATOR
Amanda Christmann, Peasy

BEST NEWCOMER
Justin Picker, Picker Financial Solutions

MENTOR OF THE YEAR
Katrina Rowlands, Mortgage Success

BEST RESIDENTIAL BROKER
Joel Wyld, Peasy

RISING STAR
Fane Levy, Shore Financial

BEST BRANDED OFFICE
Shore Financial (North Sydney)

BEST COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT PROGRAM
Birdie Wealth
GCK Financial Group
Kooyong Group

BEST CUSTOMER SERVICE (OFFICE)
Birdie Wealth (Miranda)
Peasy (North Sydney)

BEST INDEPENDENT OFFICE (5 BROKERS OR LESS)
Peasy


QLD 2021 Finalists

BEST CUSTOMER SERVICE (INDIVIDUAL)
John Sinatra, Ramsey Property Wealth

BEST FINANCE BROKER
Nick Smith, Red10 Finance

BEST LENDER BDM (NON-BANK)
Samantha Rolfe, AFG Home Loans

BEST LOAN ADMINISTRATOR
Lauren Conde, Home Loan Connexion

BEST NEWCOMER
Jonathon Scaroni, SMS Finance

BEST REGIONAL BROKER
Karen Hall, Action Finance Solutions
Jai Hobbs, Evolve Loans (Noosaville)
Nick Smith, Red10 Finance (Reedy Creek)

BEST RESIDENTIAL BROKER
Karen Hall, Action Finance Solutions

RISING STAR
Kirsty Best, Living Home Loans
Nick Smith, Red10 Finance

BEST INDEPENDENT OFFICE (5 BROKERS OR LESS)
Evolve Loans
Ramsey Property Wealth

BEST REGIONAL OFFICE
Action Finance Solutions (Mackay)
Evolve Loans (Noosaville)


SA 2021 Finalists

BEST CUSTOMER SERVICE (INDIVIDUAL)
KD Singh, Money Merchants Financial Services
Evan Sourbis, Henley Home Loans
Kristin Tunbridge, Rise High Financial Solutions

BEST FINANCE BROKER
Karina Burke, FINANCIA
Evan Sourbis, Henley Home Loans

BEST LOAN ADMINISTRATOR
Todd Davies, MBA Financial Strategists

BEST NEWCOMER
Pallavi (Avi) Laroia, Excel Mortgages

BEST RESIDENTIAL BROKER
James Schulze, Rise High Financial Solutions
Leon Spadavecchia, FINANCIA

RISING STAR
Richard O’Grady, Rise High Financial Solutions
Maggie Wan, MBA Financial Strategists

BEST CUSTOMER SERVICE (OFFICE)
Henley Home Loans (Henley Beach)
Money Merchants Financial Services (Thebarton)
Rise High Financial Solutions (Prospect)

BEST INDEPENDENT OFFICE (5 BROKERS OR LESS)
Henley Home Loans

BEST INDEPENDENT OFFICE (MORE THAN 5 BROKERS)
Rise High Financial Solutions


VIC 2021 Finalists

BEST AGGREGATOR BDM
Foti Apostolidis, AFG
Richele Janjatovic, AFG

BEST CUSTOMER SERVICE (INDIVIDUAL)
Sadish Visvalingam, Premier Financial Advocates

BEST FINANCE BROKER
Michael Taipi, MT Loan Solutions

BEST LENDER BDM (NON-BANK)
James Tran, AFG Home Loans

BEST LOAN ADMINISTRATOR
Adrian Bandaratilleke, Premier Financial Advocates
Noelle Deieso, Inovayt

BEST NEWCOMER
Grant Arbuckle, GA Finance Solutions
Luke Oxenham, Empower Wealth

MENTOR OF THE YEAR
Therese O’Neill, Therese.Co
Pauline Ryan, Mr Mentor

BEST RESIDENTIAL BROKER
Josh Bartlett, Mortgage Advice Bureau

RISING STAR
Grant Arbuckle, GA Finance Solutions
Wing Kei Ho, JKK Solutions
Benjamin Robinson, Inovayt

WELLNESS ADVOCATE OF THE YEAR
Sadish Visvalingam, Premier Financial Advocates

BEST COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT PROGRAM
Loanworx Group
Premier Financial Advocates

BEST CUSTOMER SERVICE (OFFICE)
Premier Financial Advocates (Mount Waverley)

BEST INDEPENDENT OFFICE (5 BROKERS OR LESS)
JKK Solutions
Premier Financial Advocates

BEST INDEPENDENT OFFICE (MORE THAN 5 BROKERS)
Empower Wealth
Inovayt
Loan Gallery Finance
UFinancial

BEST NEW OFFICE
Premier Financial Advocates


WA 2021 Finalists

BEST AGGREGATOR BDM
Jia Jia Wong, AFG

BEST CUSTOMER SERVICE (INDIVIDUAL)
Brodie Brown, BH Brown Property Finance
Adam Donald, Capita Finance Solutions
Michael Harris, The Perth Mortgage Specialist
Narinder Singh, Indoz Finance Australia
Leonie Stratton, Boutique Finance Perth

BEST FINANCE BROKER
Raphael Fernandes Cidra Andrade Reis, Facto Financial Group

BEST LENDER BDM (NON-BANK)
Paul Eckermann, AFG Home Loans

BEST LOAN ADMINISTRATOR
Debra Donald, Capita Finance Solutions
Phoebe Nguyen, Initiative Financial Solutions

MENTOR OF THE YEAR
Matthew Posselt, Elite Finance Australia

BEST RESIDENTIAL BROKER
Adam Donald, Capita Finance Solutions
Narinder Singh, Indoz Finance Australia
Michelle Towner, Towner Finance

RISING STAR
Janine Leafe, PKF Perth Financial Services
Reece Sacino, Equitas Mortgage & Finance
Narinder Singh, Indoz Finance Australia
Gareth Ward, Elite Finance Australia

BEST BRANDED OFFICE
Capita Finance Solutions (Leederville)

BEST CUSTOMER SERVICE (OFFICE)
Elite Finance Australia (Stirling)
PKF Perth Financial Services (West Perth)
Towner Finance (Winthrop)

BEST INDEPENDENT OFFICE (5 BROKERS OR LESS)
Base Home Loans
Equitas Mortgage & Finance
PKF Perth Financial Services

Australian Finance Group has today announced the appointment of specialist lender Heartland Reverse Mortgages to its extensive lender panel.

AFG Head of Sales and Distribution Chris Slater said the appointment of a lender focused on customers over the age of 60 is in response to a growing need for choice of finance options for broker customers. “The personal expertise a broker offers to their clients is what sets brokers apart in the market. With more than 70 lenders on the AFG panel, our brokers have access to finance solutions that meet the needs of their clients at all stages of life.

“Ageing in place and access to equity are important considerations and the finance products offered by Heartland will help AFG brokers and their clients navigate these important decisions.”

Heartland Head of Operations Sharon Yardley said, “One of the key findings made in the Retirement Income Review by the Federal Government, released by Treasurer Josh Frydenberg in November 2020, was that “a more optimal retirement income system would involve retirees more effectively drawing on all their assets, including the equity in their home, to fund their standard of living in retirement”.

Recent research supported by Heartland by the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) about financing ageing in place found that most Australians want to remain in their home as long as possible, but many don’t have the funds to do so. This is due to limited superannuation and the rising cost of living.

Furthermore, 36% of older homeowners said they live in a home that may be unsuitable for ageing in place, without upgrades or renovations. “This research shows there is demand in the market for financial products designed for retirees, such as reverse mortgages, which can facilitate ageing in place and a more comfortable retirement,” said Sharon.

Updates to the 2018 Banking Code of Practice by the Australian Banking Association have led to an increased focus on ensuring finance and mortgage brokers are sufficiently educated on reverse mortgages and equity release products.

“The provision of choice for clients is at the centre of every broker’s business,” said Chris. “Heartland is known for being passionate about training and educating brokers about reverse mortgages to give them the knowledge to succeed in helping their clients live a more comfortable retirement.”

-ends-

At AFG, we’re celebrating this year’s International Women’s Day theme of #ChooseToChallenge by highlighting the achievements and challenges overcome by women in finance. 

Get to know some of our industry’s best and brightest and how they started building their careers in finance – their wisdom and advice is sure to inspire you.

IWD 2021

Katrina Rowlands – Owner and Managing Director, Mortgage Success
Shirley Elliot – National Compliance Manager, AFG
Gill McLean – Director, Dream Freedom Financial


Meet Katrina Rowlands – Owner and Managing Director of Mortgage Success.

There is a saying on a magnet I have in my home – “Well behaved women rarely change history”. Do I want to be well behaved, or do I want to change history?

Katrina Rowlands

With 36 years’ experience in finance, Katrina is a leader, mentor, and stalwart to her industry with a generous spirit that gives back at every opportunity.

Here’s how Katrina answered our questions on this year’s theme for International Women’s Day, #ChooseToChallenge.  

What is one challenge you faced early in your career, and how did you overcome it?

At the beginning of my career as a broker, there was a lot of after-hours appointments in homes and this was non-negotiable. I felt guilty at times that I challenged my priorities and didn’t always get it right. I worried that my attention needed to be so focussed on my clients that I was neglecting my family.

I realised that I was so busy thinking of how I felt that I didn’t actually ask my family for their input or understanding of what I did and why.

I took time to explain to the whole family what I did and how they were benefiting from this career and life choice too, and they actually really understood. We decided we should ALL be more involved together with clearer communication – I have to say that my husband has always been my biggest proudest supporter.

What advice do you have for others in the finance industry?

Know you are a professional and act like it – intentionally. This covers a plethora of responsibilities and accountability in your career, as well as to your own education and industry involvement.

Challenge yourself from the front and head on and laugh a lot. Use “why not” instead of “why”. Say ” I don’t know yet, but I would love to learn”.


Shirley Elliot is our National Compliance Manager at AFG.

Compliance in our industry requires innovative thought to ensure that change is handled practically in a way that enables growth without compromising quality. I enjoy the challenge of regulatory change or reform.

Shirley Elliot

With 23 years’ experience in finance, Shirley is the Co-Stream lead for the CIF Mortgage Broking Industry Code and President of the MFAA Compliance and Regulatory Forum.

Her compliance experience has also given her the opportunity to sit on the WA Women’s Football Board for the last 5 years (she loves football and is the mother of an aspiring AFLW star!)

Here’s how Shirley answered our questions on this year’s theme for International Women’s Day, #ChooseToChallenge.

What is one challenge you faced early in your career, and how did you overcome it?

At the time when I was starting a family, I was worried about how I would juggle my career and be a good parent and role model for my daughter.

Since becoming a Mum and returning to work after maternity leave, I have learnt that achieving my career goals is still possible – I just need to find the right balance between my personal and professional commitments, so that I don’t spread myself too thin.

Having a good support network is also important, and I am grateful for the many people that have supported me over the years.

What advice do you have for others in the finance industry?

Pick a company that has leadership and values that resonate with your own – these will both play an important part in your career’s development.


Gill McLean has a passion for building new businesses.

Don’t be afraid to challenge the norm with respect, dignity, and an open mind.

Gill McLean

She was first introduced into the broking world after years of experience working in banking with the teams at Challenge Bank, Bank Of Melbourne, and Macquarie Bank.

Gill went on to lead Moneyquest Australia as Managing Director for 6 years and Capita Finance Solutions as General Manager, growing both of these businesses from the ground up.   Today, she runs her own business and has not looked back since!

Here’s how Gill answered our questions on this year’s theme for International Women’s Day, #ChooseToChallenge.

What is one challenge you faced early in your career, and how did you overcome it?

My biggest challenge in the early stages of my career was being taken seriously as someone who can contribute and make a difference. I realised that I needed a mentor to find the courage to stand up, be bold, and do things differently.

What advice do you have for others in the finance industry?

Believe in yourself, be true to your personal values, and always look for opportunities every day to improve yourself and contribute to other people’s lives.  

Reserve bank of australia sign

The RBA met today, leaving the cash rate at 0.10%, in line with their previous guidance that they expected rates to remain unchanged for some time.

The market has been speculating that rates may rise as early as late next year based on optimism around the vaccine rollout, surging iron ore prices, a strong housing market, a rebound in business investment and record government stimulus in the United States.

The Reserve Bank has previously stated that it did not expect rates to increase until 2024 and until inflation increases to within the bank’s target range of 2-3% and wages growth is materially higher.

To support lower rates and protect exporters by pushing down the rising Australian dollar, the RBA has recently stepped up its government bond buying program.

Rates are at a record low and lenders continue to offer very competitive rates. An AFG broker can answer your questions and look at your circumstances to make sure you’re prepared for what could be coming next. This could mean refinancing or approaching your lender for a better rate. Because an AFG broker does this type of work every day, they have a pretty good idea what lenders can do to win or keep your business.

We’re here to help if you have any questions. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with an AFG broker.

Today, we are excited to unveil AFG’s new brand design, updated logo and website, ahead of the launch of a host of new initiatives and upcoming launch of CRM.

More than just a fresh new design, our new brand look and supporting campaign helps to showcase the commitment and experience of our team, our focus on helping brokers to grow their businesses and our award-winning suite of broker tools and technology.

David Bailey, AFG CEO said “As an aggregator, it’s our role to broker a better future for our brokers and their customers. In 2021, that means surrounding our brokers with unwavering support, passionate expertise, and a complete suite of new technology to help grow their businesses. Our brand refresh is simply a reflection of our actions and commitment to our brokers.”

AFG worked with award-winning Sydney creative agency The Works, part of RPX Group, to develop the campaign, brand architecture and messaging.

Jonathan Amery, AFG head of marketing added: “Unlike some organisations, we didn’t have a need to transform who we are as a business. We have a fantastic business model, culture and offering. This process has been about distilling down who we are as a business, clarifying what we stand for and showcasing the vibrancy and passion within AFG.”

Douglas Nicol, Partner at The Works said “It was a great experience collaborating with the AFG team on this project. The business has a clear vision of their brand and a laser focus on ensuring they continue to deliver the best experience for customers, all of which combined to help us develop their refreshed brand design and identity.”

“We’ve tweaked our logo and updated our design so it’s more modern and reflective of who we are as an aggregator,” said David. “We might look a little different, but it doesn’t change the way you work with us.

The campaign will start in March 2021 and the new identity will be rolled out across the website, platforms, and further materials over the coming months.

AFG Campaign print ad examples

AFG Head office

Australian Finance Group (ASX: AFG) has today announced a net profit after tax increase of 36% to $24.97 million for the six-month period to 31 December 2020.

In response to an extraordinarily strong appetite for Australian housing buoyed by government incentives to support the economy, the sector has shown its resilience and AFG has demonstrated growth across the country.

AFG CEO David Bailey said he was delighted to report the company’s strong growth in its core residential business has been the cornerstone of the company’s overall performance. “I am very pleased to be in the position to report an outstanding first half result for the company. We have recorded year on year growth in residential settlements in every month of the first half of FY21. AFG’s residential trail book has increased 5% to $160 billion.

“The resilience displayed by the company’s staff and our brokers in their unwavering support of their customers through what has been one of the most challenging periods our community has ever faced, has been remarkable. The first half performance demonstrates the company is delivering strong returns through a commitment to a shared value business model, diversified income streams and a resilient core that delivers choice, competition, and value to Australian borrowers.

Highlights:

  • Statutory NPAT increased 36% to $24.97 million
  • Underlying (cash) profit increased 41% to $24.88 million
  • Return on equity of 27%
  • Earnings per share increase of 9% to 9.2 cents
  • Interim dividend of 5.9 cents per share representing a dividend yield of 4.5% based on the AFG share price at 31 December 2020
  • HY21 Residential settlements up 24% to $20.92 billion
  • Year on year growth in residential settlements in each month of H1 FY21, with strong growth in each state. Residential trail book increased 5% to $160 billion
  • AFG Securities loan book up 18% to $2.96 billion and approximately 8,000 customers
  • NIM of 179bps (2019: 151bps)
  • AFG Home Loans trail book up 9% to $10.68 billion
  • Profit contribution from AFG’s 33% equity investment in Thinktank increased 102%
    to $2.31 million in H1 FY21
  • Strong balance sheet with unrestricted cash, trail book assets, financial assets and sub-ordinated capital totaling $267 million

AFG Home Loans

Overall settlement volumes for AFG Home Loans were $1.47 billion and the AFG Home Loans trail book is now at $10.7 billion, an increase of 9%. AFG Home Loans now has over 27,000 retail customers.

“As mentioned in our FY 2020 results, as the pandemic hit we adopted a cautious approach to lending within AFG Securities which drove a greater focus onto white label arrangements. This ultimately impacted the AFG securities lodgement pipeline as we entered the new financial year. As a result, AFG Securities settlements decreased by 35% to $446 million for the half.

“From my perspective, the pleasing aspect is that as the lending environment stabilized over the half, we expected the flows of business to return to AFG Securities products, and this is now occurring. AFG Securities loan book is up 18% to $2.96 billion and in December we settled in excess of $100 million.

“Looking to current trading conditions, AFG Securities recorded higher lodgement volumes in December 2020 and January 2021 compared to the prior year. January 2021 has closed at levels 3% above January last year.
Importantly, AFG Securities’ arrears remain well below industry averages while COVID-19 hardship numbers continue to improve.

“AFG Securities’ customers accessing assistance through a COVID-19 deferral of their repayments has dropped to just 0.02% or 2 customers. The percentage of customers currently making payments under a COVID-19 Interest Only arrangement is at 0.57% or 37 customers.

Commercial lending

The commercial lending environment has been the most affected by the pandemic. As a result, growth in AFG Business, AFG Commercial and AFG Commercial powered by Thinktank, is likely to be constrained in the short term as restrictions on businesses continue in many states.

“Whilst the commercial arm of AFG is likely to continue to experience a slower recovery, expansion of the AFG Business lender panel will continue to provide choice and competition for brokers and assist their commercial customers to get back on their feet.

Current market conditions

The federal and state governments have been actively supporting the economy with stimulus aimed at first home buyers and the construction market. The stimulus is working.

“Our most recent AFG Index reported a record-breaking quarter with more than $19.9 billion of home finance lodged by AFG brokers across the second quarter of the 2021 financial year. The strong results have continued into January with brokers responding to increased demand over a traditionally slower period to drive residential volume up 28% in January 2021 to $4.8 billion.

“For the company’s 2,975 affiliated mortgage brokers, the first half of the 2021 financial year has clearly shown the value mortgage brokers deliver to Australian homebuyers and the important role they provide in ensuring the efficient functioning of the lending market.

“It has been very pleasing to see that it is not just the first home buyers that have driven demand. The past six months we have seen increased participation from upgraders and, in the first half of the 2021 financial year, refinancers. All have been looking to take the opportunity, with interest rates being at all-time lows, to reduce the largest cost to their monthly budget.

In a time of intermittent lockdowns across the country, customers have turned to brokers to help them look for savings and navigate the vast amount of choice in the marketplace.

“We head into the second half of the 2021 financial year, with a strong balance sheet, no debt, a solid pipeline of lodgements and a good cash flow. We are well equipped to continue to deliver value to our brokers, choice to customers, competition to the lending market, and returns for shareholders,” he concluded.

-ends-

Archive

We’re ramping up Best Interests Duty (BID) Coaching  for brokers with the creation of BID Coach role to support our brokers as they implement BID measures into their business.

The AFG BID Coach will work hand-in-hand with brokers to provide one-on-one coaching to ensure brokers feel comfortable through the transition. The BID Coach will help brokers ensure positive customer experiences and that brokers are meeting their BID obligations.

National Compliance Manager Shirley Elliot said the role was a critical part of AFG’s strategy to help their brokers.

“This is a key role for us at a time when our brokers are writing record numbers and helping more customers than they ever have before, so we want to ensure they have all the help they need…” Elliot said.

Gearing up AFG compliance support

AFG’s Head of Sales & Distribution Chris Slater welcomed the support.

“We had almost 900 brokers on our Broker Insights webinar last week and another one scheduled this week where the whole focus is Best Interests Duty and understanding the regulations around Conflicted Remuneration,” he said.

“We took over 100 questions from brokers wanting guidance, support and help with live transactions so we know brokers want face to face support and a team they can rely on so we are very pleased to be delivering this key support role which our brokers will welcome.”

He added that AFG’s new technology build, which is being released early in 2021, was designed in collaboration with AFG’s brokers, lenders and regulators. The critical component of compliance has been built into the process from the ground up.

Reserve bank of australia sign

Today the RBA met for the first time in 2021 and have decided to leave the cash rate unchanged at 0.10%.

Our central bank will have been encouraged by recent better than expected unemployment and CPI numbers. It will also be keeping a close eye on rising house prices, lending growth, the continued impact of COVID-19 on our major trading partners, the Australian dollar and its effect on exporters and the looming reduction to government support packages.

Rates are at a record low and lenders continue to offer very competitive rates. An AFG broker can answer your questions and look at your circumstances to make sure you’re prepared for what could be coming next. This could mean refinancing or approaching your lender for a better rate. Because an AFG broker does this type of work every day, they have a pretty good idea what lenders can do to win or keep your business.

We’re here to help if you have any questions. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with an AFG broker.

Australian Finance Group (ASX:AFG) has today announced a record-breaking quarter with more than $19.9 billion of home finance lodged by AFG brokers across the second quarter of the 2021 financial year.

AFG CEO David Bailey explained the results: “The national figure represents an increase of 9.5% on the first quarter of the 2021 financial year and an increase of 30% on the corresponding quarter last year.

“Gains were recorded across the country – New South Wales up 3.5% for the quarter, Queensland up 7.8%, South Australia up 0.4%, Victoria up 18% and Western Australia recording a 13.3% jump on Q1 2021. The Northern Territory recorded a drop of 10%.

“With travel off the agenda for many, the home has become even more important and 42% of lodgements were for those upgrading their homes.

“Government incentives for First Home Buyers continue to support those looking for their first home with 22% of lodgements being made by those taking their first steps into the housing market,” he said. “A record high Loan to Value Ratio of 73% is due to the high proportion of First Home Buyers who typically have smaller deposits.

The percentage of Investor loans being taken out remains at an all-time low of 21%.

“The market is well aware that low interest rates are likely bottoming out and this has seen the percentage of customers choosing a Fixed Rate product still high at 29.2%,” he said.

“Low interest rates on offer has also meant homeowners are taking the opportunity to pay down their debt faster with a record 88% choosing a Principal & Interest product over an Interest Only loan. The average loan size is also at record levels, coming in at $544,359 for the quarter.

“With the four big banks leveraging their funding advantage through very competitive pricing and cash back offers, smaller lenders’ share of the market has remained at 41%.

“The Westpac stable of brands – Westpac, BOM, BankSA and St George – have increased their combined market share by 2.5% to be sitting at 18.7% while CBA group – CBA and Bankwest – have dropped 4.7% to now be holding 20.7% of the market.

The federal government has outlined the importance of access to credit for the economic recovery of the country. To help gauge the flow of activity in the market and the time involved for a residential application to progress to formal approval, AFG will now include a weighted average Lender Turnaround Time (LTT) indicator in the AFG Index.

“The LTT analysis shows the average number of days from submission of the loan application
by the broker, to the lender providing formal approval, is sitting at 25 days. Reflective of the level of activity in the market, this is the highest it has been at any point over the last three years and a blow out of around 4 days from 12 months ago,” he concluded.

Download full report here

-ends-