Industry & Real Estate

Monday, 25 August 2008 22:49

Copestone, a true Mortgage Brokerage, not your run-of-the-mill Originator!

{pp}In April 2008, Copestone Financial Solutions officially joined the BondExcel Community. ExcelTalk spoke to Grant Butler, CEO of Copestone Financial Solutions, about their success strategies for surviving these tough times and their exciting plans for the future.

Celebrating their first anniversary on 1st September 2008, Copestone Financial Solutions currently has 15 consultants in the Western Cape and one in the Eastern Cape. They also have 12 associates whose home loan administration is managed by Copestone. “After a 20 year career in the home loan industry, I wanted to create a model that was built around the home loans consultants, something that was not readily available,” says Grant. “Thus, in March 2007, I began the process of putting the Copestone business model together and we officially launched on 1st September 2007, after a six months of structuring and implementing our plan.”

The Copestone business model is structured around creating success for home loan consultants. “I am of the firm conviction that, going forward, companies who embrace the loans consultants as the core of their business will succeed. Loans consultants own the relationships with their real estate partners. They do 80% of the work required and deserve the lion’s share of the commission payable.

The Copestone philosophy is built around providing an environment in which the loans consultants can thrive,” explains Grant. “This includes providing them with a committed and experienced administration service, together with a strong dynamic brand and management. I have always been an admirer of the REMAX model and have strived to re-create this type of model in the origination space. Copestone is also committed to providing the home loans consultants with the most extensive product offering available. We will continue to contract with various lending institutions as it is my belief that the South African public should not only be subjected to the products available at the four major banks.”

This philosophy grew from Grant’s extensive home loan and business experience and expertise, which has also provided the cornerstone of their success. “I was employed at NBS Bank for ten years, eight of which were spent in the mortgage loan arena, including four years as a loans consultant. Thereafter, I spent five years at SAAMBOU Bank, including a three year stint as Regional Sales Manager. I looked after the Cape Town to KwaZulu-Natal coastal areas. This was followed by a five year spell at Bond Choice as an Area Manager for a portion of the Western Cape.”

In addition, Grant has various banking and senior management courses from Cape Technicon and Wits University behind him, adding to the extensive sales and management training throughout his career. As a result, Grant understood the importance of a strong team to help him create the success he envisaged for Copestone. “I am blessed to work with two outstanding managers. Beverley Schafer heads our Marketing, PRO and IT support. Andy Breach is our Sales Manager and is supported by Wendy de Wet, the Admin Team Leader.

Glen Langenhoven and Bianca Daniels, two very experienced and capable bond facilitators, bring their unique capabilities to the business, and of course, our tea lady, Thobeka, is a vital component of our team!” This close knit management structure and team is one of the company’s success factors. “Beverley, Andy and I are all totally dedicated to and proud of the Copestone model and the ethos on which the company is built. Strategy is determined through vigorous debate and I value and respect their opinions. Our core fundamentals of integrity and transparency are sacrosanct.

We are able to adapt quickly to market conditions and have not hesitated to make the tough decisions required to ensure survival in this market place,” says Grant. “Personally I have had to embrace those parts of running a business, such as IT, financial management and the ‘hum drum’ parts of business entirely. This has seen me grow as an individual and I now realise the importance of prudent management of all costs.” The decision to join BondExcel was made in November 2007. “After meeting Jack Trevena and Rory O’Hagan last year, a management decision was taken to aggregate through BondExcel.

The market place was changing and a strategic decision was made to work very closely with the BondExcel Western Cape Team,” explains Grant. “The lure of eBond, QuickComm, and our take-over of the Bond Excel Western Cape Administration, allowed both Bond Excel Western Cape and Copestone to benefit from the economies of scale achieved by using the communal systems available to us.” He adds that eBond, QuickComm and Home Services were very attractive features offered by the BondExcel Group.

“The systems have assisted us to manage our cash flows. The ability to sort out problems efficiently and cordially is also an important feature of the relationship we enjoy with BondExcel. “I was also attracted to the fact that contracts with the smaller boutique banks were available through BondExcel. In addition, Jack’s sincere advice has assisted me in some crucial decision making I have had to make.

I value my personal and business relationship with him.” As they celebrate their first anniversary, Grant reflects on their success in sustaining the company through what has been one of the most difficult market places experienced for many a year in the property industry. “Our sustainability has been a success in itself. We had to refine our business model into a variable remuneration structure for all our staff. Running costs have been reduced and the model is uniquely positioned to survive the tough times while staff will benefit as and when the market turns.”

Copestone’s plans for the future are inspiring. “Our intention is to have a minimum footprint of 25 consultants in the Western Cape. We are also aiming towards a national footprint, although this process has been postponed as a result of the slowdown in the market place. However, when the market turns for the better, we shall vigorously pursue our geographic expansion plans!”

Contact Information:
Beverley Schafer Marketing Manager
Tel: +27 (0)21 674 5560 ext 26
Fax: +27 (0)21 764 5571
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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