Joanna James

Joanna James: Leading Mortgage Ezy soars to great heights

The Most Influential Women in Leadership to Watch, 2021

Joanna James

As a former Architect and designer, who gained international exposure to become the youngest female registered architect and licensed builder in Australia, Joanna James, General Manager of Mortgage Ezy ignited a passion for infusing her creative ideas at an early age. She carried those ideas into the financial world and is now steering the wheel of Mortgage Ezy as the General Manager. Mortgage Ezy is disrupting the mortgage market as the super safe and secured mortgage manager.

Her road to success has not been a bed of roses. However, she is proud to have learned many valuable lessons along the way that paved the way for her profound personal growth. She says, “My journey is an adventure where every day we work with many wonderful people and whilst the stakes are high with what we do and the responsibility that we hold – along the way we have lots of fun too.”

 

Traversing Difficult Valleys Boldly

Ever since she began working at Mortgage Ezy 20 years ago, the team experienced numerous hurdles on their way to success. However, they all have managed to come out stronger, be it striving upwards from rapid changes, managing all people effectively, or strategic change failures.

They also recognized that their main struggles originated from the need to partner with third-party suppliers and relying on their capabilities. The noteworthy point here is that the key process and solution to these issues has always been the same; only the implementation needs to be perfect to get the desired outcome. In this case, the ultimate lesson was to keep the focus on the company’s growth through developing partnerships planning for adaption and redundancies along the way.

She shares, “Whether it be bricks and mortar or technology systems, it’s a dynamic process of improvement that always brings benefits. Living the changes in technology over my lifetime and experiencing the tangible effects has always been both exciting and a driver for me.”

 

Innovative Services of Mortgage Ezy

Established in 2001, Mortgage Ezy is an award-winning non-bank Mortgage Manager with over 6000 brokers across the nation. Having served over 3.6 Billion dollars in Home loans, Mortgage Ezy offers a plethora of lending solutions for mum and dad lending and alternative product solutions that comprise construction, SMSF lending, non-resident, and expat lending.

The team is passionate about what they do, supporting everyday Australians who don’t traditionally meet the lending requirements set by the banks.

Mortgage Ezy’s company culture is unique. The company capitalizes on the strengths and talents of each individual to ensure the team stretches beyond any self-imposed limits.

“We are a unique bunch from a wide variety of backgrounds working together as a democracy. We treat everyone as an individual, not just a number,” says Joanna.

They provide borrowers with solutions that work for them. Their wide product range offers customers a lot of choices. Joanna states, “You can stay assured that your loan with Mortgage Ezy is safe, secure, and backed by a panel of the best lenders across the globe. Your money is safe. Our process is secure. Your confidence can be sky-high! We access funding through the biggest national and international brands. Additionally, your loan in many circumstances is guaranteed by the Australian Federal Government so that you have greater security.” As their name suggests, they are all about cutting red tape and making the process EZY.

 

Golden Triangle

The company witnesses a ‘Golden Triangle’ that specifies the relationship between their brokers and their clients. Joanna believes that all these three should have ample support and harmony so that all sides can create value. She adds, “For this, our company has devised four core values for our teams: Drive, Excellence, Ownership, and Inspection. We believe these four pillars, when combined, create a successful company culture .”

Their creative and out-of-the-box thought-processing let them tread their own road to keep their A-game ahead. The employees here always look for solutions that are quite unique and completely opposite to the mainstream.

 

Backing up every post

With the mission to provide excellent services to the customers whilst facilitating and nimbly executing EZY end-to-end experience, Joanna manages every aspect in general. She adds, “I am responsible across all the departments, all the issues, and all the people, whilst delivering the company’s strategic vision. Primarily this means I work to support the leadership and development of our teams, processes, and delivery of products to market.”

She follows an unorthodox approach when it comes to cater to the needs of her professional and personal life. She expresses, “I don’t believe in balance for, at any one time, things are moving in a fulcrum point, everything and I mean everything, in life is constantly in motion. Some days professional needs will be more demanding, and on other days, family needs will come first; the complete picture is painted over time.”

To handle everything responsibly, she starts her mornings by investing time in self-care and development. Knowing the importance and value of good mental and physical health, she indulges in a proper exercise regime. Moreover, she aims to learn new skills and expand her horizons.

At work, every day is different depending on the needs of the business. “Typically, there are a variety of scheduled appointments with executives and teams, intermingled with ad Hoc meetings with external suppliers or partners, and in between are any daily issues to address. Although I have regular repeating commitments, every day is tailored to the current business needs and always presents a lot of variety. My role requires constant discipline to prioritize, re-prioritize, and also maintain consistent application with what I do,” says Joanna.

 

Future outlook

Mortgage Ezy will continue to grow and expand. Being an integral part of the wider group of companies, it will continue to be the distribution and processing hub for this dynamic group. Technology has always been at the center of this innovative company, and the roadmap will see it play an even bigger role to disrupt the industry.

Joanna states, “We intend to tip current lending practices on their head by providing loan approvals in minutes rather than the weeks they currently need.”

 

Original from CIO Views

 

Major lender celebrates 20th anniversary

Mortgage Ezy have celebrated 20 successful years in the mortgage broking business. The non bank lender came into being on April 9 2001 and have proven themselves as disruptors from the start, placing themselves on the side of brokers and building a reputation as being accessible and agile.

Their culture has been a strong point throughout: Mortgage Ezy have prided themselves on dealing with brokers directly and finding innovative solutions for customers.

They’ve not been afraid of thinking outside of the box, too: some older brokers will remember the day back in 2006 when they paraded an elephant through Surfers Paradise as part of a publicity stunt for their ‘Jumbolicious Commission’ broker product.

“Culture eats strategy for breakfast and when the going gets tough, the tough get going,” said Group Executive Chairman Peter James. I remember back in the mid 2000s, there was an instance where a reputable bank was accepting broker originated business, they proceeded to cut out the brokers and go direct to the customer.”

“This infuriated those of us at Mortgage Ezy who advocate for brokers rights. Enough was enough, so we spoke out in the public forum against this practice. Some credit this stance as the day our challenger gloves were officially strapped on and we were thrown into the ring!”

Over the years, they have been awarded several times at the Australian Mortgage Awards as the Non-Bank of the Year, showing just how much they have been appreciated by the broking community – and consistently, too, with awards dating back as far as 2009.

Their popularity and awards are a testament to their commitment to working for brokers. Head of Distribution Mick Conyngham added: “We create equal weight with the three sides of the triangle being the client, broker and Mortgage Ezy. This ensures alignment for all parties providing a stable foundation to build our business relationships upon.”

 

By Mike Wood (Original article)

Non-bank lender celebrates 20th anniversary

Non-bank lender Mortgage Ezy is celebrating its 20th year of operations and broker channel partnerships.

Mortgage management company Mortgage Ezy was established on 1 April 2001 and has grown over the past two decades to become one of the largest privately owned mortgage managers in the country.

According to the lender, its growth can be attributed to its dedication to providing competition in the lending space, its “nimble approach to lending”, as well as its support of the broker channel – which now writes more than half of the all home loans in Australia.

Mortgage Ezy executive chairman Pete James commented: “Culture eats strategy for breakfast, and when the going gets tough, the tough get going.

“I remember back in the mid-2000s there was an instance where a reputable bank was accepting broker-originated business, they proceeded to cut out the brokers and go direct to the customer. This infuriated those of us at Mortgage Ezy who advocate for brokers rights. Enough was enough, so we spoke out in the public forum against this practice.

“Some credit this stance as the day our challenger gloves were officially strapped on and we were thrown into the ring,” he added.

The mortgage manager added that its lending solutions had evolved to meet demand over time, noting that it most recently launched an express refinance program to keep up with record levels of refinance demand, and dropped its prime business rates to a record low of 1.99 per cent per annum.

The lender’s head of distribution, Mick Conyngham, commented: “We create equal weight with the three sides of the [credit] triangle being the client, broker and Mortgage Ezy. This ensures alignment for all parties, providing a stable foundation to build our business relationships upon.”

 

[Related: Mortgage Ezy joins Buyers Choice panel]

Joanna James – Principle of the Year – Women in Finance 2021

Our Joanna James (Principle of the Year – Women in Finance 2021) is leading the MFAA’s National Mortgage Managers Forum spreading the word across the Industry of the unique value that Mortgage Managers add to the Industry.

Managers are credited with increasing market competition, influence the reduction of interest rates and continual innovation in product design and Innovation.  Joanna and the team have some big plans for the year ahead! Click here to read the full article: https://issuu.com/keymedia/docs/ab_18.03_ipad/13?fr=sOGQyMjMwNjI2NDc

The role of mortgage managers in a BID environment

While mainstream lending policy is often black and white, there are always shades of grey – which is why non-bank lenders and mortgage managers are vital in the current environment. For general manager of Mortgage Ezy Joanna James (pictured), mortgage managers are crucial for the health of the industry and have an important role to play once best interests duty is implemented in January next year. She spoke with MPA about the challenge of deciding what is in the customer’s best interests and how mortgage managers could be a valuable source of information when deals don’t fit neatly into the mainstream lending box.

Understanding the role of mortgage managers

If you ask the majority of consumers what a mortgage manager is, chances are they won’t have an answer. Historically speaking, however, mortgage managers have been around for decades – and they are responsible for many of the added features we see in loan products today.

James said that during the 80s and 90s mortgage management was the brainchild for groups such as Aussie Home Loans; bringing about the birth of securitisation and greater competition against the banks.

“It’s been credited with reducing home loan rates considerably,” she said.

It also led to the introduction of the offset facility, as well as variations to policy and product features that shape the current offering in the market today.

“It’s been a very vital part of the Australian lending landscape, but typically because it is in a wholesale space it’s not necessarily a space that consumers understand well,” she explained. “It’s time that people really understood – we’ve been around this evolution since the 1980s.

“We are independent businesses that create that colour and that tapestry that is needed in the lending environment.”

This is particularly relevant in the COVID-19 environment, she said, in which mainstream lenders have tightened their policies to service predominantly vanilla deals. She offered the example of SMSF lending.

“We play very much in the niche business of SMSF lending,” she said. “We’ve been onboarding brokers at a rate of knots and having larger writers from aggregation groups come to us because they know they can’t actually access these products through the mainstream.”

The impact of best interests duty

This relevance is only set to increase this year following the implementation of best interests duty, she added; mortgage managers playing a significant role in offering a suite of different solutions.

Mortgage managers operate in a variety of ways, but in a nutshell, they act on behalf of a lender or lenders. They may have several agreements with wholesale funders, smaller banks or international banks and typically design and distribute products on behalf of these lenders. Many mortgage managers, such as Mortgage Ezy, also look after credit processing for the funders they represent, and even provide aftercare for their customers.

One of the reasons mortgage managers will see increased relevance following BID is because they represent multiple lenders and typically operate in the non-conforming space. If a broker puts through an application with them for one of the lenders they represent and it turns out something in the policy doesn’t quite fit, a mortgage manager may have another solution through one of the other lenders they act on behalf of. This is essential for the health and diversity of the lending environment as countless Australians recover from the recession and COVID-induced uncertainty.

“It’s really important that people understand there is this dynamic, interesting, powerful, potent, professional group of people within the lending landscape that are continuing to advocate, promote and encourage diversity for the best interests of the entire lending community – not just what the majors deem is acceptable lending,” said James.

Getting priorities right

One of the biggest challenges brokers face now that BID has come into play is knowing what to prioritise as the best interests of the customer. Is price more important, or does policy play a bigger role in determining the best fit for their goals and objectives?

“We want to be able to support brokers as they go through this transition in January because otherwise there’s going to be a lot of people that may be confused about what’s the best thing to do, which is the opposite of what this legislation was brought in to achieve,” she said.

“Lending is black and white but there’s always grey – there’s always a client that doesn’t fit or a property that’s got something quirky about it or a particular situation that needs to be looked at, and that’s what managers do really well because we work with so many different lenders.

“We can’t necessarily recommend products but what we can do is, if a broker was to ring and say, ‘this is the current situation that I have and there is something unique about the situation for this borrower’, most managers would very quickly be able to say, well look, ‘it would fit this lending platform’ or ‘it would fit this lending platform’.

“Where it would fit this lending platform, here is the pricing and here is our current service proposition on those offerings.

“The broker would then still need to look at that and make their own assessment around, relative to other products on the panel, whether that’s appropriate or not.”

James said mortgage managers are very passionate about supporting both brokers and their clients in getting the best loan for their circumstances and looking after their best interests.

“We’re used to hearing from the larger players and the bigger groups – but the smaller groups, they are the counterpoint, and you have to have a counterpoint if you want to have diversity in the industry,” she said. “We are quite proud of what we do – it’s very complex and looking after the client’s best interests is something this channel has been doing for a long time.”

 

by Kate McIntyre
Original article

MPA Leaders Live: Non-Banks Banks Panel 2019

MPA Leaders Live: Non-Banks Banks Panel 2019

The annual live-streamed MPA Non-Banks panel will be held on Wednesday 30th of October 2019 at 12:30pm AEDT

Panel features:

  • – La Trobe Financial – Cory Bannister
  • – Liberty Financial – John Monacheff
  • – Resimac – Daniel Carde
  • – Pepper – Aaron Milburn
  • – Mortgage Ezy – Joanna James
  • – Loanworks – Yotta Agamemnonos
  • – Ondeck – Michael Burke

Keeping the Australian dream alive

 

Joanna James of Mortgage Ezy discusses the company’s commitment to filling gaps in the Australian housing marketFinding home loan solutions for a diverse group of people – regardless of race, religion or style of living – is at the heart of Mortgage Ezy’s business mantra. Unwilling to pursue a cookie-cutter approach to loans, the company instead strives to embrace a variety of brokers and potential mortgagors who may not meet a bank’s preferred profile.

According to Joanna James, general manager at Mortgage Ezy, the egalitarian nature of Australian society has created a long-standing goal for most Australians to be able to buy and eventually own their own home outright.

“If we move to a situation where all borrowers are not able to access finance and it is simply provided to the elite, the Australian dream will be shattered,” says James. “This will create a class of renters for life, which I don’t think anyone wants to aspire to.”

James believes that renting up until retirement age would be a major disadvantage for the individual, as rents tend to increase year-on-year. By contrast, mortgage rates are comparatively stable and should only reflect interest rates of the day.

“The biggest gap in the market comes when borrowers whose first language isn’t English are unable to communicate their needs and wants” Joanna James, Mortgage Ezy

It’s an approach to homeownership that’s reflected in the company’s loaning philosophy, for both existing citizens and new Australians. Though there has been a broader trend of banks avoiding issuing loans to non-residents, alt-doc borrowers and self-managed super clients, Mortgage Ezy has continued lending to this class of borrowers. So much so, James notes, that those who are self-employed can also qualify for low-prime rates, putting down as little as a 20% deposit on a home loan.

“Australia’s greatness has been based on its immigrants,” says James. “Contrary to some people’s beliefs, immigrants support the general overall economy and often start up small businesses that create more job opportunities for Australians.”

James is quick to point out that non-residents frequently buy property prior to moving to Australia, or to provide their children with a home when they attend university. Others who purchase investment properties offer much-needed stock for permanent rentals.

“As the Foreign Investment Review Board prevents non-residents from buying established properties, the impact on the current housing market is minimal,” says James. “Non-residents provide valuable stimulus to the construction industry instead.”

Mortgage Ezy has also taken great strides towards providing discounted rates to all clientele regardless of their situation.

“People don’t need to request a large loan or be in the top income bracket to receive a rate cut.”

As an added bonus, borrowers are also excused from paying a monthly or annual fee on the life of their loan. Loan fees, James notes, are a major bugbear for modern borrowers. When they were first implemented just over 20 years ago, they averaged around $2/month. By contrast, today many sit at around $30/month, amounting to hundreds of dollars a year.

“The longer the loan runs, the greater the percentage of the loan cost the fees end up accounting for,” says James. “So a fee-free loan is a huge advantage for borrowers seeking security for the actual cost of finance.”

“Australia’s greatness has been based on its immigrants. Contrary to some people’s beliefs, immigrants support the general overall economy” Joanna James, Mortgage Ezy

According to James, the key to helping a diverse range of borrowers is to be understanding and open to differences that are important to them. It’s not just a diverse customer base that is at the heart of Mortgage Ezy’s operations; the company also promotes inclusion within its workforce in order to elevate its services when catering to people from different backgrounds.

“As far as possible, one’s workforce should reflect cultural differences and the tolerance needed to respectfully deal with each and every Australian,” she says. “We have several programs that cater to different communities – these range from sharia loans right through to non-resident loans.”

James notes that a number of Mortgage Ezy staff can speak Mandarin, Indonesian and Vietnamese, among other languages. It’s something she sees as vital for the present and future success of the organisation.

“The biggest gap in the market comes when borrowers whose first language isn’t English are unable to communicate their needs and wants,” says James.

While Mortgage Ezy’s credentials in the Asian community have long been established among customers and brokers alike, James hopes to attract brokers who are exploring other niches that the banks do not cater to.

“We must remember especially as we move further into the age of technological innovation that we are in the business of serving people,” says James. “At Mortgage Ezy, we strive to promote a culture that embodies the very essence of this, creating diverse and inclusive solutions for all of our team and the people that we serve.”

In Focus: How the health of homes will impact the mortgage market

In this episode of In Focus, host Annie Kane is joined by Joanna James, general manager of Mortgage Ezy, to discuss how the health of homes may impact mortgage lending. 

As well as managing non-bank mortgage lender Mortgage Ezy, Joanna is also passionate about property from an architectural, building and building biology point of view. To help brokers learn more about this growing field of interest, Joanna joins In Focus to reveal how buildings may be affecting our health, the ins and outs of building biology, and why she believes mortgage brokers need to be aware of its potential impact on the mortgage market.

In this episode, tune in to find out:
  • What building biology is and why it is important
  • How Building Biology can be a unique value add for your clients.
  • How Building Biology could affect lending and investment in the future

 

And plenty more!

Mortgage Ezy appears in The Adviser’s Broker Guide to Non-Banks

Blurb: This engaging article written by Mortgage Ezy CEO, Peter James delves into the Royal Commission’s findings on broker remuneration and how Non Banks support healthy competition across the market. This article is a must read for brokers looking to diversify and look at their options in the lending space.

PIBC_Mortgage Ezy Profile_ES

 

morgage-professinal-australia

The non-banks on a new era of lending

Industry news as published in MPA Magazine – Otiena Ellwand | 05 December 2018

 

Industry news as published in MPA Magazine – Otiena Ellwand | 05 December 2018

Eight leaders discuss the royal commission, broker remuneration and the opportunities emerging from change.

Confusion and complexity have defined this year’s lending environment for both brokers and borrowers. With added compliance pressures and a contraction in credit, brokers have had to lift their game, explore new opportunities and seek solutions elsewhere. These headwinds have motivated them to begin adapting and evolving – actions that will strengthen their businesses to withstand future challenges. And maybe it was time for this awakening.

Read the full article here

 

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