To some, mortgage brokering might not seem like the obvious follow up to a first class rugby career, but for former All Black Ian Jones it was the logical next step.
“When I was playing rugby I developed a real interest in investment properties and I had been doing that myself personally for a long time,” says Ian.
“From the knowledge I built up buying investment properties and the understanding that I had, it just seemed like a nice transition into what else I was going to do post-rugby.”
Ian describes brokering as a “natural progression” for his career, but it took a standout client in a challenging situation for him to fully explore peer-to-peer lending as a strategic project funding option.
“My client needed some cash to kick start his plans and get momentum going. There was definitely real potential for where it would end up even though it didn’t fit directly into the criteria for many lending institutions,” explains Ian.
“I approached Zagga to see if they could help and I was overwhelmed by how much information I got from them and how they worked really hard to make sure my guy got the loan that he needed to get started in the pursuit of his dream.”
Zagga is an online platform matching serious investors to borrowers with real goals – a place where people pitch in to help each other out. Zagga lending criteria is more flexible than traditional investment options, and every loan is secured by mortgages on real property.
It’s a new way to look at investing, and it offers brokers like Ian an alternative way to get results for clients who may not quite fit the criteria for borrowing from traditional lending institutions.
To Ian’s delight, this initial project was completed successfully and on time – a triumph he attributes to the drive and motivation of the whole Zagga team.
“They wanted to get the deal done as much as I wanted to, and when there’s two parties like that wanting to get you across the line it’s always going to work,” Ian says.
Ian says the initial relationship he formed with Zagga and the mutual understanding built throughout his first project made all the difference.
“Relationships are my favorite part of dealing with anyone, so I rang up straight away to sound them out and see if they were a possibility. They really understood where the client was and where he needed to be. So that immediate understanding was the tipping point.”
It’s a tipping point Ian thinks more Kiwi brokers should strive to reach in order to break down some of the unfounded skepticism about marketplace lending in New Zealand.
“We’re always skeptical when we don’t fully understand what alternative lending platforms can offer,” he says.
“When you can hop on the phone and talk through your situation, you can get a pretty strong indication of whether it fits and whether the peer-to-peer lender can make it work. You’re not so skeptical after that.”
For Ian, the willingness to fully discuss and explore a client’s specific needs is what sets Zagga apart from other lenders and, ultimately, may one day redefine expectations around peer-to-peer lending in general.
“With Zagga you can make a phone call and explain who you are, who your client is, what you’ve done, and where you want to head,” Ian says.
“I’d use them again for any clients that are outside the normal banks’ lending criteria with no hesitation.”