"Periods of adversity taught me resilience"
Starting in a rural finance firm in Western Australia, Rhys Dillon (pictured) faced a pivotal moment when the family business could no longer sustain its workforce. This challenge led him and his business partner, Michael Watts, to turn towards residential mortgage brokering in 2004, marking the birth of Top Mortgages.
Twenty years later, Dillon – now a co-director of the business– reflects on a journey that has seen him not only withstand the test of time but also thrive, transforming early risks into a trusted local brand.
According to Dillon, the mortgage brokering landscape has since seen significant positive changes, particularly with the introduction of national licensing requirements and advancements in broker technology solutions.
“The introduction of licences raised professional standards across the board and provided an extra layer of consumer protection and trust,” he said.
“Meanwhile, innovative platforms like Quicklii and Broker Engine have automated more of the loan process for brokers. This allows us to spend less time chained to desks and more time understanding clients’ unique needs and crafting customised lending solutions.
"With more robust client data capture capabilities, brokers today can deliver an enhanced, tailored experience while achieving a better work-life balance.
“Essentially, licensing and technology have elevated broker skill, efficiency and service for brokers like myself. This translates into helping more home buyers and spending more time with family – a win all around.”
However, Dillon also points to ongoing challenges, such as keeping pace with technological advancements and meeting the on-demand expectations of today’s home buyers. He advocates for the integration of automation and digital processes to improve efficiency and customer service.
Dillon foresees a shift towards larger brokerage groups to sustain growth and meet rising consumer expectations, though he believes there will always be a niche for firms that offer a personalised touch.
“The key is embracing new technology thoughtfully while never losing sight of the human component in this relationship-driven business,” he said. “With the right balance of tech-enabled systems and dedicated brokers, we can keep providing excellent experiences for home buyers well into the future.”
Mortgage broker experiences
Reflecting on memorable experiences, Dillon recounts navigating the property market’s ups and downs, particularly the downturn in Western Australia.
“As a broker, I had to adapt our services and temper expectations during this time,” he said.
“I worked hard still to match clients with the most suitable loan products, even if they no longer qualified for the same terms. We helped many first-time buyers take advantage of falling prices despite tighter lending, and we assisted distressed owners in financial difficulty with alternatives like loan modifications.”
These periods of adversity taught him resilience and the importance of adapting services to meet changing market conditions. Through it all, he has maintained a focus on building strong client relationships and delivering dependable support.
“At the end of the day, a broker’s ability to adapt and build trust makes all the difference,” he stressed.
For those aspiring to enter the mortgage broking field, Dillon offers invaluable advice: consider the support of a larger brokerage group initially, build connections with referral partners, and engage with industry associations.
“Groups like the Mortgage & Finance Association of Australia give access to industry updates, training, and most importantly, allow you to meet fellow brokers and related professionals,” he shared. “Making these connections early on can help tremendously with advice and referrals as you build your book of business.
“With the right guidance, persistence in outreach, and networking, new brokers can gain the knowledge, connections and credibility needed to establish a rewarding career helping clients realise the dream of homeownership.”
Dillon’s story is more than just a career narrative; it’s a blueprint for success in the mortgage industry, balancing technological advancements with the timeless value of personal service.
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