Professional bankers launch tailored mortgage loan services

Venkat Raman

Venkat Raman

Auckland, April 16, 2021

‘Finance Experts’ trio promise quality and honest customer care

Mahesh Amrute, Simi Sethu and Sid Bhalla of Finance Experts Limited

Three former bankers with a combined experience of almost 35 years in the mortgage loan market have established a mortgage brokerage company to serve the growing market for various types of loans, including those for first-time buyers and investors.

They also offer their expertise in processing business loans, commercial loans, restructure finance and other related products and services.

Finance Experts

Mahesh Amrute, Simi Sethu and Sid Bhalla, who were Mobile Mortgage Managers at Bank of New Zealand until a few months ago, have obtained their Financial Advisor Licences and formed ‘Finance Experts Limited,’ with their office located in the New Market area.

While the official launch of the company is expected to be held later next month, they have been serving a growing list of customers since February 2021.

Indian Newslink is proud to introduce them to New Zealanders as we have known them as professionals with a penchant for quality service in all their combined three decades of service to the business and other communities.

Ms Sethu said that their business is being driven by referrals, personal contacts and engagement with various communities.

There is no dearth of financial advisors in the mortgage loans market in New Zealand but the need to find the right advisor cannot be over-emphasised.

High demand for homes, loans

The housing market remains hot with a high demand for homes, unmatched by supply and the number of first-home buyers and investors continues to rise in major cities.

The recent announcement by the government extending the Brightline Test from five to ten years and the removal of interest paid on loans from tax deduction has somewhat impacted the residential property market, investors remain active.

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand, the Financial Markets Authority and other regulators have placed restrictions on lending by commercial banks, including percentage of cash deposit to be invested by home-buyers.

The interest rate, maintained at 0.25% since March 2020, is an important stimulant, encouraging borrowers entering or expanding into the home market.

If you are seriously considering buying your first home or an investment property, start by getting all your finances in order. In either case, professional help will be useful.

Market response to Advisors

Mr Amrute said that he and his fellow Financial Advisors learnt that potential first-home buyers and others in the market were looking for qualified and licenced Advisors who can understand their situation and offer an honest assessment of their financial position, propensity to repay and suggest the steps that should be taken to comply with the procedures.

“We are here to provide quality and honest advice. As previous bankers, we understand what determines the success of an application. We advise clients on the need to have a good conduct account, understand their financial responsibilities and keep the objective of early repayment in their mind,” he said.

Ms Sethu and Mr Bhalla emphasised the importance of maintaining and fostering professional and ‘clear’ relationship with customers.

“Transparency and accountability are important attributes in this business. Changes enforced recently by the FMA obliges Financial Advisors to follow norms. We look at the best way of serving our customers, getting them the right deals,” they said.

The housing market continues to be hot in New Zealand (RNZ Picture by Nate McKinnon)

Differing circumstances, needs

Ms Sethu said that since becoming Financial Advisors, she and her team have discussed the needs of a wide range of customers from varied incomes, economic background and therefore the ability to service their mortgage loans.

“Some of them had never accessed the services of Financial Advisors. Our expertise is available not only to first-home buyers but also to people keen on refinancing their existing loan arrangements, buying another home or property or any other need. We can also serve customers who are in need of development loans and business loans,” she said.

Mr Amrute said that commercial banks are flooded with requests for loans and therefore applications that are complete, well documented and well-supported by all relevant information can expect a successful outcome.

“There is no typical time-frame for approval, although currently many banks take up to ten working days for approving loans. The amount of deposit demanded by commercial banks also varies from case to case. However, it is now normal for banks to insist on at least 10% cash deposit of the total value of the loan,” he said.

Second-Tier lenders

According to Ms Sethu, while a majority of mortgage loans are sought from mainstream commercial banks, non-bank lenders are also important participants in the market.

“Second-tier lenders are increasing their exposure in the market following the restrictions placed on commercial banks. We work with these non-banking lenders to bring the best possible deals for our customers,” she said.

Mr Bhalla said that Finance Experts Limited advises customers various ways of raising the necessary deposit amount to be eligible for loans from lending institutions.

“Depending on the financial situation of the client, these can include KiwiSaver, savings and gifts from a parent or a member of their family,” he said.

Going beyond loans

Obtaining mortgage loans is not an end in itself. In fact, it is the beginning of a relationship between a customer and a Financial Advisor.

Professional advisors constantly service their customers, checking for changes in their financial circumstances, increase or decrease in their propensity to meet their loan obligations, and their ability to repay the loan earlier than envisaged.

Their involvement would also include advise on interest rates, keeping them fixed or floating as and when the Reserve Bank of New Zealand decides to move its Official Cash Rate (OCR), and advise on using unexpected ‘windfalls,’ such as bonuses, lump payments and other income received.

Mr Amrute mentioned about a customer who was able to repay a large portion of their home loan after winning in a lottery.

Such bonanza is not common occurrence and hence the service of a professional and licenced Financial Advisor is imperative.

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