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Why this broker took the leap into mentoring
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Why this broker took the leap into mentoring

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Reporter 4 minute read

Nancy Youssef reveals how the challenges she experienced as a new broker inspired her to start her own mentoring business for others entering the industry.

The lack of cohesion and support in the mortgage broking industry in the early years pushed Nancy Youssef to start her own mentoring business for new-to-industry brokers, Ms Youssef recently told The Adviser.

The founder of Classic Finance and Classic Mentoring said that she took the leap into broking in the early 2000s with no business plan, just the desire for a freer and more flexible work life.

“There was no mentoring when I started, and certainly brokers back then, who were very successful, held their cards very close to their chest, so they weren’t sharing tips for success with new brokers who were perceived as competition,” Ms Youssef said.

She noted that there was “no real barrier to entry” into the broking industry. There was less paperwork and technology to deal with as a mortgage broker, and so it was “a lot easier”.

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“I remember a few nights that I would be processing loans and working on proposals and there wasn’t the compliance that we’ve got today and the amount of paperwork, so you could still process a few files a day back then,” Ms Youssef said.

But there was a wave of change when the GFC hit. The Classic Finance founder said that the MFAA was looking at introducing mentoring as a requirement in the broking industry.

She admitted that when she was initially approached to become a mentor, her answer was no, largely because she didn’t think it would be feasible to take on additional work.

“I was training and broking and I thought I wouldn’t have time to mentor. But I started to think about my own succession plan. I was nearing 10 years as a mortgage broker but wasn’t feeling so challenged with the paperwork and back office and admin side of things and I thought, what was [the business] in 20 years going to look like if I didn’t do something now?” Ms Youssef said.

“So, I put on this structured two-year program, and nearly seven years later, we’ve had more than 120 brokers come through the program.”

What she learnt through teaching brokers is how important it is to “walk the walk” and “talk the talk” as her students would use her brokerage to evaluate their own performance.

By practising what she preached, her broking business started growing quite rapidly and she needed to bring on new staff members.

She admitted that fear of losing control of every aspect of the business actually hindered growth in the initial years, but she came to accept that Classic Finance needed more people to help it grow.

“I was a control freak and a perfectionist and I had this huge fear that if I let go of any aspects of my business, then people were going to make mistakes that could be costly or damage your reputation and those sorts of things,” Ms Youssef said.

“I think after recruiting my first person, I was able to really let go and I found that the business was, the time that that freed me up to do the things that I’m passionate about, helped to grow the business regardless.

“The profit will come when you’re doing something that you’re very passionate about every day.”

The Classic Finance founder’s top pieces of advice for new brokers are:

  • Learn how to network.
  • As soon as you’ve done 12 loans, let go of admin and hire staff or outsource.
  • Focus on areas of business you enjoy; delegate the rest.
  • Ask for help.

Find out more about how Nancy Youssef runs a leading brokerage at The Adviser's Business Accelerator Program later this month. Ms Youssef will be speaking at the Sydney and Melbourne events, occurring on the 20th and 27th September, respectively.

You can also celebrate the leading mentors in the finance industry at the upcoming Women in Finance Awards, which will be held in Sydney later this month,

Join hundreds of inspiring and talented female leaders within the finance community at the annual Women in Finance Awards on Friday, 20 September.

Come along to this fantastic black-tie event and show your support for the continuing growth and development of gender diversity in the workplace.

Tickets are in high demand, so secure your ticket here today before they sell out!

[Related: Broker, mentor, philanthropist, and winning in all three]

Why this broker took the leap into mentoring
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