Antonio Michael, CEO of Articus Finance, provided a broker’s insight into the recent changes in the industry for this Then & Now feature.
What is the most valuable piece of advice you have been given since becoming a broker?
Don’t overpromise – it’s a waste of everyone’s time! This includes when you are both liaising with your client and when you are speaking with lenders. In order to reach completion efficiently, you need to be completely open about all aspects of a deal. Managing expectations is also key! Be honest with the capabilities of the market and the deal will get done in the right time with the right people.
What are your tips to maintaining strong broker to lender relationships?
Integrity is important whilst still maintaining your basic manners. It sounds like something so simple. I have seen many brokers ruin relationships due to their immediate reactions to deal’s not progressing. One deal may not go your way, but it is counter-intuitive to be rude and ruin relationships due to that.
How has your approach to this changed throughout the years?
When you first start broking, it can be challenging to build strong relationships straight away particularly in today’s market where there are so many brokers and lenders in the game. It can be difficult to build, and more importantly, maintain relationships with absolutely everyone that you do business with.
For me, I am fortunate to have been in the business for a long time. Most of the contacts I have are now 15 years old and I have managed to maintain these by building a mutual sense of respect and growing on them as time goes on.
What key deal challenges have you overcome in the past?
Each deal is different and more generally, the deals that I look after aren’t clear cut. It’s therefore essential that, not only I understand the deal, but the lender does too. Making sure that everything is clearly communicated can take a lot of time. However, this is really important in the long term. In reality each deal will generally have a challenge but it’s more about how all parties work together to overcome this to find a solution that benefits the client.
What attributes do you look for in a successful lender?
The most successful lenders, from my point of view, are those that provide access to decision makers in a timely fashion. Whether this is an underwriter, a member of the credit team or a director, ultimately, it is key to have efficient and sensible conversations during the entire deal processes so that things can move ahead as quickly as possible.
Read more editions to our Then & Now series here.