Flight attendants flocking to mortgage broking industry

An experienced broker and industry coach says most new entrants to the profession now have “no banking background whatsoever” and are often former flight attendants, police officers and athletes.

Simply Mentoring founder Karen Hambleton-O’Grady is seeing an increasing number of new entrants from a variety of backgrounds, from sales to airlines.

“We have quite a few airline staff moving from perhaps being flight attendants into mortgage broking,” Ms Hambleton-O’Grady told The Adviser. “And police officers definitely, as well as a few professional sporting people,” she added.

While the traditional path into the profession for many brokers was via the banks, Ms Hambleton-O’Grady said there are advantages to joining the industry from a non-banking background.

“I think that when you're starting from a blank canvas you've got a tremendous opportunity to put in the pieces and paint by numbers, so you end up with a beautiful picture at the end of it,” she said.

Coming from a non-banking background can mean that a new entrant is less likely to be partial to one lender, Ms Hambleton-O’Grady said.

“If someone has come from a particular lender and they only know that lender, they may only present that lender to customers when they go and see them, and we certainly don't want that either,” she said.

“If someone's already good at doing something and then they come into the business, it's very possible they can bring habits and attitudes that you may not want in your business.

“If they've got no preconceived ideas, what you teach them, and teaching them the positive side of the business and how to be professional is what they will take moving forward.”

Ms Hambleton-O’Grady said flexibility is what mostly attracts people from all walks of life to mortgage broking.

“It is essentially still a nine-to-five, five-days-a-week business, but there is flexibility within that to do other things if you really wanted to,” she said.

Ms Hambleton-O’Grady joined the industry as a broker in 2001 and has since founded Simply Mentoring, an organisation that runs FBAA and MFAA-approved training programs.

She admits that she was also attracted to broking because of the flexibility it offers.

“I had a young family at that time, so it was a tremendous opportunity to be able to still be in business and create a profession.”

[Related: Aussie recruits former sports stars]

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