Tell us about the journey you’ve taken in your career.
In 2006 I held a license to provide financial advice, tax and credit concurrently. I co-founded a business and worked as a financial adviser there for almost a decade. Eventually that business grew to offer lending as well. After a while, I realised that I was a very large fish in a small pond, so I exited that business in 2015 and started working at Stratton Finance.
At Stratton, I was tasked with growing the property finance team, largely through referrals from internal and franchise business. I’m grateful for this opportunity as it taught me how to maintain focus on the end customer while juggling a range of key stakeholders.
I then got the opportunity to work with Loan Market, which is a part of the Ray White Group. It was an amazing opportunity to work exclusively with online leads and some of their real estate business. Loan Market is an amazing business, and we grew our Victorian team rapidly, going from 0 to 15 people in only 15 months.
Roland helped me transition into the role of State Sales Manager (VIC and SA) at Lendi at the start of 2018. It’s an exciting opportunity to be involved in the growth of a fintech business which has grown to almost 400 employees in 5 years. Lendi is the biggest online home loan platform in Australia today but has ambitions to be the home of all Australian home loans in future as people move from offline to online origination. Lendi have invested a significant amount of money on a 100% customer-centric f technology platform that allows people to choose how you initiate your loan and interact with them – whether over the phone or face to face.
What challenges have you had to overcome in your career, and how did you overcome them?
Dealing with changes over last 24 months is probably the best place to start. We’ve seen an increased focus in brokers trying to get things right, and it’s gotten harder to do business. Industry regulations, and the climate in itself with house prices under pressure, has been challenging to navigate while continuing to manage both customer and broker expectations.
I’ve found that it’s best to keep it simple. Go back to basics: you need to know your job and your customers. You’ve got to have the right technology to offer the opportunity, but tech isn’t in itself the answer and Lendi knows this. You also need to have the right people, and be able to help them do their jobs better.
What do you love about what you do?
I love the people side of things, and I love working in a challenging environment. It’s a privilege to work alongside a very passionate group of brokers across two diverse markets, managing an ongoing pipeline of over $150m in loans. Each person on the team keeps me fired up and engaged. I love seeing these brokers succeed in line with their stated outcomes while balancing the broader business and financial considerations. It’s a challenging market, but achieving business outcomes has always been my focus and people are the key to this.
When you were a child what did you want to be when you grew up?
Initially, a doctor – but I’m not quite sure why. It didn’t take long to work out that I wasn’t cut out for it. I started playing online share trading games at 12, and I guess it was all downhill from there!
What are your top 3 tips for other people wanting to build a successful career in mortgage broking?
Team management for me is always a privilege, not a right or even a necessity. I’ve grown to enjoy it. You need to spend time understanding and getting to know your team one-on-one and as a group. Have each person’s best interests in mind while providing them with challenges to achieve what they want. Challenges need to be both team-driven and personal.
Then, with as much clarity as you have each day, go out there and get SHIT done! Support the business partners that take care of your people. This attitude will then flow into helping customers, both from your team members and your business partners – which is ultimately why we at Lendi exist. I’ve been very thankful to those who have been willing to remind me of this at key points throughout my career.
2. Starting out in the home loan space
This is tough! A successful broker, in my opinion, knows what’s involved in all parts of the customer’s home buying journey. You need to have credit and product knowledge, as well as understanding the ‘best in market’ at each point of our changing environment. You need a good mentor and to work in a business that is solely focused on putting the customer first each time and every time.
You need to know your shit really well, and keep pushing yourself till you get to that point. Continue to self improve. Get the right industry insights, join industry groups, get access to mentors, and learn from other people. There’s a range of self-help books out there, from The Barefoot Investor backwards. Challenge your ideas on how people are looking at their finances and make sure you understand where this decision sits in the hierarchy of their day to day life.
We’re in a reasonably political climate at the moment, and you have to ask yourself the question of why you’re doing the job. Have a passion for it, put in the hard yards and keep yourself challenged.
What is standing out for you in the industry at the moment?
I’m expecting we’ll face some continued significant headwinds in the next 12–18 months. There will be increased pressure on servicing (credit card assessment rates, hems increases and potential changes to negative gearing) in addition to new and increased pressure on valuations.
What makes me optimistic about the future is that Lendi’s system allows a broker to do live servicing on over twenty lenders instantly using a client’s specific financial information making the results and recommendations personal and specific. But brokers still need to ensure they keep up-to-date on specific lender requirements, especially when in high density, high LVR and for first home buyers. Lenders have their niches and it’s becoming ever more important to ensure you make the right lender selection to ensure good customer outcomes.
At Lendi, we’re focused on doing things that have never been done anywhere in the world. We’re looking forward to seeing where 2019 takes us.
After a successful start to an incredible career, we helped Mike find his home at Lendi in early 2018. If you’d like help finding your next challenge, get in touch with us for a free career consultation. Or, if you need great talent to help take your career to the next level, reach out for a free business consultation.