Young broker keen to make a difference

Successful business owner wants to see industry change

Young broker keen to make a difference

He’s only been a mortgage broker for 16 months, but already Tommy Anderson is making his mark, building a fast-growing Brisbane business and proudly representing young brokers as a FBAA Queensland councillor.

Anderson, 27, became a Loan Market franchisee broker in October 2022 but then decided to branch out and set up his own brokerage Social Financial, aggregating with LMG.

The father of two caught up with MPA to talk about his career so far as a broker, how he ensures the best possible service for his clients and what change he would like to see in the mortgage industry.

Anderson (pictured above) said he started his career in real estate, focusing on sales, property management and developments. He was then offered an opportunity to work in lending at Suncorp Bank.

He went on to work in a number of lending roles, moving on to ANZ and CommBank and then deciding to join the world of broking.

Anderson said when he became a Loan Market franchisee he formed a partnership with Andrew Oostenbrink, who then ran top-performing real estate agency Belle Property Carindale.

Due to some franchising and branding issues, Anderson and Oostenbrink decided to set up under ‘one banner’, with Anderson forming Social Financial and Oostenbrink’s real estate firm becoming Social Realty.

“We run our own separate business, but we work as if we’re one and the same.”

While Social Financial has only been operating for 14 months, Anderson said he had been very fortunate that the relationships he’d built had helped him generate a lot of business.

Anderson said although it took a while to get going, Social Realty now provided a steady pipeline of real estate clients to his brokerage.

“Originally when we started we had about seven leads a month and now we're sort of sitting around 40 to 50 leads a month from the one agency,” he said. “But I've replicated that same strategy with other referral partners, so I work with lots of real estate agencies and accounting firms. I’m good at generating referral partners.”

Anderson said his client base was varied, including first-home buyers and a lot of commercial clients, such as small businesses who wanted to buy childcare centres or GP practices.

He said running a brokerage, especially a one-man operation such as his, was hard work and involved long hours.

But there’s no doubt that Anderson’s ability to find the best solutions for his customers is paying off.

In the first six months, Social Financial submitted $60 million worth of loans, and then for the half year in FY24 about $48 million. “Since starting I’ve written almost $100 million deals – that was by myself, no prospecting, no para brokers or anything like that,” Anderson said.

He has been nominated for two broking awards and Social Financial has been nominated for three brokerage awards in 2024. Anderson is also mentoring a broker in Cairns, and has just hired a para broker and another broker.

What spurred Anderson to become a broker

While it’s common for people who work in lending roles at banks to join the broking industry because they’re frustrated they can’t offer customers a variety of loan solutions, Anderson said this was not what motivated him to become a broker.

He gave an example of when he worked at CBA and a client came to him because his broker was unable to secure a loan deal.

“I was able to do the deal and get it over the line with one product at CBA, when this broker couldn’t despite having so many options,” said Anderson.

He said this demonstrated that being a good broker wasn’t so much about the number of products you could offer a client.  “It’s knowing the policies and processes in the background to be able to make a deal work.”

Brokers have access to different banks but if they view all their policies through the one lens “then you're not going to win deals, you're not going to win clients over and you're not going to get them the property they want and they might miss out because of bad advice”.

Anderson said if brokers know their policies and procedures “even if you only had five banks, they can be suitable to a client as long as you’re giving the correct advice.”

He said working at CBA was a good pathway into broking, knowing what deals worked and which ones didn’t.

The most important piece of advice Anderson could offer to brokers was to be sure of their knowledge and tailor their advice and products to the client’s needs.

“If someone is telling you something and they're giving you information and you're looking past it, that might be the case of you winning or losing the deal.”

The voice of youth on the FBAA

Anderson joined the FBAA’s Queensland state council five months ago to provide more representation for young people.

“I'm on the border of Gen Z and Millennials. I remember sitting in an FBAA conference one day and one of the guest speakers, who wasn’t from the FBAA, made a joke and asked if there were any Gen Zs in the room and I looked around the room and not a single person put their hand up.

“That made me realise that I need to be the voice for brokers in my age bracket because I speak to other brokers my age and we've got a very little voice in the industry.”

Anderson said a lot of the processes, procedures, and regulations in the mortgage industry were outdated and “old school”.

“There are simple things that could make the industry a lot better but I think that's something that's going to come with time, unfortunately, but I wanted to be the voice for it,” he said.

“One of my main goals is just to sort of unite the community and to be more open to new ideas.”

Where the industry can improve

Anderson has a number of suggestions for improving the lending process.

He said banks should be held responsible for pre-approvals or conditional approvals. Some banks fail to assess deals when providing a pre-approval, relying on system-generated approvals instead.

Anderson said this could be misleading for clients, who believed that pre-approvals meant their finances were sorted and all they had to do was find a property.

“But once they find a property, the deal falls apart because it wasn't assessed.”

The other improvement Anderson called for related to BDMs and lender processes.

He said there were differences in the level of support BDMs could provide – there were even some banks he avoided because of the poor service from BDMs.

“I've had instances where the BDM’s gone up to even credit, and gotten approval from credit with the deal going through and then it gets declined, even though we gave them all the information upfront to ensure it was a deal before putting it through.”

How can the mortgage industry improve? Comment below