Tell us about the journey you’ve taken in your career.
Back in Perth in the early ‘90s I was with Town and Country Building Society. I managed a lot of their branches in Perth. While working there I developed a love for dealing with customers in the lending space, primarily helping them achieve their finance goals. It’s also where I started to develop relationships with business partners.
In the mid-90s I formed a relationship with the ABN Group and assisted a lot of their building company reps with helping customers get finance to buy homes. We set up a Town and Country branch to offer building company customers much needed finance support. Out of this venture, Resolve Finance was born.
In ‘98 I left Perth and headed to New Zealand with ANZ and headed up the mortgage division for New Zealand. I ran the mortgage business for four years – two years operating out of Wellington, and then we moved to Auckland.
After a while I came back to Melbourne where I worked as the head of third party distributions, looking after the ANZ mortgage broking business nationally. I had a really good insight of the industry, the workings of it, the people – and I could see first-hand the positive impact it was having.
Throughout my career I’ve had an association with third party lending – it’s a part of the industry that I love.
Given the relationship I had with the ABN group, I took the opportunity to come home back to Perth eleven years ago. I came back to Resolve Finance and have worked to grow the business to where it is today.
What challenges have you had to overcome in your career, and how did you overcome them?
There are always challenges in business, and that’s a good thing!
It’s all about grabbing whatever opportunity comes your way with both hands and going at it with everything you’ve got. In business, you’re constantly stepping into new territory, which is exciting. I’ve found that the best way to overcome that is by focusing on the positives and having belief. Be aware of the pitfalls, but have a positive mentality.
You also need to have a good strategy. Understand where you want to get to, and you can never truly make a wrong decision. As long as you’re focused on the long-term, the decisions you make will be aligned with that longer term goal.
The biggest lesson I’ve learned is don’t procrastinate. Any decision is better than no decision. It’s all about momentum.
What do you love about what you do?
I’ve formed a real love of the third party space in the broker industry. I feel quite privileged to have been associated with this part of the industry for well in excess of 20 years. I’ve really seen it grow and develop, and have had the opportunity to see it from both sides.
I also get a kick out of seeing people grow within our business, particularly now that we operate a franchising model. We have the opportunity to partner with our franchisees, and watch as they grow their businesses, while being able to sit alongside them in their journey.
From a customer point of view, I love seeing the real results. Little things happen that make you quite proud of what you do. I’ve seen people with tears in their eyes when they pick up the keys to their first home. It’s not just about the transaction of the loan, and the dollars – it’s about what finance allows you to do for people.
Sometimes I think you can take those things for granted. But you do have those moments when you see joy on the customer’s face. That gives me a buzz.
When you were a child what did you want to be when you grew up?
I’ve got a real love for the water, which I’ve always had. When I was young, I wanted to do anything to do with the water: boating, diving… anything I could have made a job out of. Finding out that I was colour-blind put a stop to going down that path, unfortunately.
I ended up following in my dad’s footsteps. He was in banking and finance. And I’ve never looked back. To me, what I do isn’t just a job – I’m passionate about it.
What are your top 3 tips for other people wanting to build a successful career in mortgage broking?
I could answer this with:
Obviously, my main advice is focus on the customer. But if I had to give three different pieces of advice:
1. It’s all about the customer
Think about the customer unconditionally. Even though you might view it as a small transaction that may not deliver you a lot of value, you never know what’s behind that. So continue offering exceptional customer service regardless.
2. Look well beyond the transaction
It’s all about playing the long game. Think of it as building relationships, not just servicing the customer once-off.
3. Have a strategy in place
I’m a big one for planning and structure. Have a strategy in place that highlights the goals you want to achieve as an individual or a business, and this will provide a roadmap to success. It helps with every decision you need to make.
What is standing out for you in the industry at the moment?
The industry at the moment is going through a significant challenge with the amount of regulatory focus coming our way. Looking back over the last little while, we’ve had the ASIC Review, the Sedgwick Review, and some more recent changes which are shaking things up. All of that will have some impact on our industry.
Call it a challenge, or call it an opportunity.
The fundamental thing is that it’s a fantastic consumer proposition in terms of choice and convenience. So long as we remain focused on that, the industry will continue to thrive.
From a business point of view, it’s good. The industry has gone through a number of challenges, and each time it does it strengthens the industry. For example, we went through the period of national licencing. Changes like this legitimise the industry even more in the consumer’s eyes.
I see the challenges, but I also see the opportunity in that it tightens the industry up. The focus is on compliance, so that we deliver good customer outcomes. I really embrace that. Businesses that aren’t truly focused on the longer term game will fall to the wayside – and that’s not a bad outcome. Businesses that continue to evolve with the increasing focus on compliance will strengthen the industry overall.
Don has been on an incredible journey throughout his career that’s seen him find his passion and niche in the industry. If you’d like help finding your ideal career path, please get in touch with us for a free career consultation session. Alternatively, reach out for a business consultation to get help growing or starting your business.