According to a former big four banker, the “micro-management” and “politics” of the major banks drove him out of the sector and into broking.
Speaking to The Adviser, lending specialist at Regional Finance Solutions and former Commonwealth Bank and Westpac employee Brook Simpson said that customer service limitations in the banking industry influenced his decision to leave the sector and become a broker.
Mr Simpson claimed that as a banker, he was “inhibited” from providing customers with the services they needed.
“I’ve always been very customer-centric, where if I look after [a] customer, I really like being able to help them in their environment,” the lending specialist said.
“When I moved [to] Westpac, I was inhibited from getting out of the office and seeing customers at the time that suited them.
“[As a broker], I’m available 24/7, when and where it’s required, and that’s the most rewarding part of my role — to sit in their lounge room, sit on the beach, sit in their workplace, help the customer out, and get away from the politics of the big four.
“The micro-management was a big issue [which influenced my decision to] get out of banking and get into mortgage broking.”
Mr Simpson’s reason for becoming a broker is a common one. Earlier this year, YBR Earlwood principal and former Westpac employee Effie Nicol told The Adviser that she similarly left banking to focus on customer satisfaction and flexibility.
Speaking on the Elite Broker podcast, Ms Nicol said: “I worked for Westpac for a very long time in the retail banking space, and I actually managed a team of home finance managers and also have worked in bank manager roles as well, so I’m always dealing with people and customer needs. I was observing my home finance managers at the time and they were interviewing customers, and I thought to myself: ‘I can do this so much better. We’re very limited in the banking industry, and I need to make a change’.”
Ms Nicol added that she wanted more choice of products to offer customers, stating: “I was observing an interview and I’m thinking, ‘Is this the right product for the customer?’ They were very limited because they could only sell the one product.
“There [are] so many options that they could have directed the customer to save them money and make the right choices, and hence I’m in the broker space because that gives me that flexibility to help the customer, direct them in the right channel and make sure they achieve their dreams.”
She added: “I took the plug and changed my life for the better, and here I am today. A new life creating miracles for people, as you say. I’ve made so many changes for the better, and I’m going to continue to do that in 2018.”
Mr Simpson and Ms Nicol, however, also noted some of the challenges they faced when transitioning into broking.
“[While] you’re not micro-managed, you’ve got to be a self-starter, and you’ve got to be self-motivated to keep yourself going. It is a very lonely, isolated role sometimes,” Mr Simpson said.
Ms Nicol concurred, saying that the isolation was one of the reasons she decided to join Yellow Brick Road.
She said: “I was… trying to figure out the systems and work my way around everything. I felt really isolated. Then a colleague of mine worked at Yellow Brick Road and she used to pester me all the time: ‘You need to join us and we’ll help you.’ Hence, I used her as my mentor to help me get systems up and running…. It was a choice that I made to join Yellow Brick Road, reason being I like their model. I believe in the chairman. He’s a leader, and I can work with the team there to help me improve myself and [with] self-development, and that really made an impact rather than working on my own.”
Nambucca Heads mortgage broker Mr Simpson also stressed the importance of compliance and responsible lending.
“[You] have to make sure that the customer fits every requirement and you’re not putting people over their heads. You’ve got to do the right thing compliance-wise and make sure the customer is worthy of getting a loan,” the broker concluded.
The full interview with Brook Simpson will be published in the March edition of The Adviser magazine.
[Related: How Effie Nicol makes a difference]