From big bank broker to Mortgage Choice franchise owner

"Being a broker has changed my life completely"

From big bank broker to Mortgage Choice franchise owner

Growing up in Birmingham, England and with a father who worked as a mortgage broker, Darren Comerford was introduced to financial services from an early age. His affinity for maths and a budding interest in finance led him to envision a career within the sector.

In the early 2000s, Comerford’s career began as a mobile broker for a major bank, a role that offered him firsthand experience in the industry but also highlighted its limitations.

“I was working hard but felt I couldn’t offer my clients as much choice as I wanted,” Comerford (pictured above) said. “That is why I decided to join Mortgage Choice.” 

The decision to join Mortgage Choice marked a turning point in his career. With his wife joining the business shortly after its inception, the franchise grew steadily over 17 years. Today, Comerford leads a team of 12 across three offices in Arundel, Broadbeach, and Brisbane, reflecting his significant impact on the local mortgage industry.

“Being a broker has changed my life completely,” he said. “I’ve met fantastic people in this industry, and I have built great friendships through Mortgage Choice and the broader industry.”

For Comerford, the introduction of Best Interests Duty and advancements in technology are the most positive developments in the broking industry. These changes, according to him, have streamlined business processes and improved customer experiences, with virtual meetings being a notable game changer.

“The efficiencies and progress we’ve seen in technology is another positive change that has helped make business process much more streamlined and created a more seamless experience for customers,” he said.

“Personally, I’ve also put a big focus on refining business processes over the years, to unlock those extra ‘one percenters’ that help improve both our operations and the outcomes for our customers.”

However, Comerford also acknowledges that the industry faces challenges, notably increased compliance obligations and the rise of online lending.

“I believe the best way to keep up with compliance obligations, while remaining focused on the customer experience and delivering great outcomes for clients, is to have a robust process in place,” he said.

He also sees the personalised service offered by brokers as irreplaceable, especially for clients navigating the complexities of online loan applications.

Comerford also shared one of his most memorable experiences as a broker – which is when he helped a couple secure a home loan after they were turned down by a bank.

“I was able to help them secure a loan with another lender,” he said. “When the loan settled, the husband was in my office, and he was so grateful that he cried. It was really touching.

“If I look back over my career, I think the most rewarding thing I’ve experienced is helping people build their wealth. I have clients who I helped secure their first home loan, who have since come back to see me for an investment loan and referred family and friends to me.”

For those aspiring to enter the broking industry, Comerford emphasises the importance of hard work, networking, and continuous learning.

“Be prepared to work hard and be open to meet new people and build genuine relationships,” he said. “When I first started my business, over a period of about seven years, I would go to open homes every Saturday in my local area to meet real estate agents and their clients.

“Make sure you build great relationships with BDMs. They are critical for your success as a broker. “It’s also important to keep bettering yourself. Familiarise yourself and stay up to date with new loan products and lender policies.”

Comerford’s journey from a mobile broker at a big bank to a franchise owner with Mortgage Choice serves as an inspiring example for current and future brokers, illustrating the power of perseverance, relationship-building, and a client-centric approach in achieving professional success.

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