What stumbling blocks do women face in the mortgage industry?

Nicole Cannon, director – senior finance broker at Pink Finance, joins MPA TV on the back of being named an Elite Woman for 2022. Here she examines the stumbling blocks that women face when considering a career in broking, and how these can be overcome, as well as sharing advice for women contemplating joining the industry.

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Priscilla: [00:00:22] Welcome to MPA TV. My name is Priscilla Dickinson, editor of MPA or Mortgage Professional Australia. Joining me today is Nicole Cannon, director of finance. Nicole is one of the MPA Elite Women for 2022. Here in Pink Finance, Nicole aims to deliver clarity, education and positivity to everyone embarking on the home loan journey. Nicole, congratulations on being named one of the Elite Women for 2022. How are you? 

Nicole: [00:00:57] I'm really well. Thanks, Priscilla, and thank you for having me here. 

Priscilla: [00:01:01] I'd like to start by asking you what made you get into into broking and what makes Pink Finance different. 

Nicole: [00:01:09] So I got into broking purely as the result of a bad experience with a mortgage broker back 20 years ago where we approached our broker. I had no idea as to what deposit I needed, how the process worked, and really felt that we were wasting that broker's time and just felt that all our questions was just a burden to him. So it just made the whole experience quite unpleasant. Once we got to submitting a loan application, we really didn't get many updates and I actually end up following up my own loan with the lender and getting updates along the way. Now, this was 20 years ago, so this was before any privacy restrictions allowed us to, you know, to get broker codes. But it actually made me intrigued about the the broker process. And I've always been in sales and knew that I could follow a process from an inquiry to the settlement date of what was needed within the industry I worked in. So applied those passions of mine into a mortgage broking business that really helped to educate and break down the overwhelming process, especially for first home buyers and for people who are busy and who just don't have the time to really get their head around what is required for the home loan. Why is Pink Finance different? Pink Finance has certainly been recognized for the work that we've done in the community and really on how we do business, not necessarily how much business that we do and I'm really quite proud of of that is we absolutely have a reputation of going to that next level with that exceptional customer service standards and really helping any customer that is quite distressed to make sure that they do understand what they are getting, what loans they are getting into, what their repayments are, so that they've got confidence and clarity of their actual home loan. 

Priscilla: [00:03:40] Sounds great. It's such a big commitment, isn't it? So it's great to be with people on that journey. 

Nicole: [00:03:46] It really is a massive commitment. And then I guess on the back of that too on the business side of things, on the community side of things with Pink is that we have had a corporate relationship with the McGrath Foundation. So we're very active in the community where we volunteer our time, where we help raise awareness for the McGrath Foundation, hence the pink with kindness and, and like to raise funds for the McGrath Foundation along the time, which is a part of my passion. So it's tying in business and passion all into one. 

Priscilla: [00:04:18] Excellent. Right. And what did it mean to the team and to be awarded Elite Woman for 2022 to you and your team? 

Nicole: [00:04:27] Oh, my goodness. Yeah. This is such a very humbling honor for definitely the team and myself as leading the team. You know, the team have worked so hard these last two years. It's been exhausting, it's been relentless. And they have all committed they've given 150% to making sure that we give the desired customer outcomes and making sure that the care and empathy is there through a distressing and uncertain time. So, you know, being acknowledged for this award in such a crazy couple of years, you know, is really very, very humbling. 

Priscilla: [00:05:13] Yes, great. And thirdly, I would want to ask you, in terms of female we know female brokers represent a smaller portion of brokers in the industry. And I also know that the percentage of home loans written by brokers is on the rise and it was 69.5% in the March quarter, according to MFAA data, what what do you think are the stumbling blocks for women that are wanting to enter the industry? And do you think there's any ways that women could be helped to overcome those? 

Nicole: [00:05:49] Yes, certainly so, I think. Women like to have security. And I think with the perception of many mortgage brokers is that we're commission only and that becomes quite a barrier for women to go, you know what? I want to become a mortgage broker because it's an awesome industry and an awesome role for working moms. You know, it does allow you to work around school drop offs and pick ups and that type of thing. You know, we can work around personal appointments. There is the promotion and there is the push of more PAYG brokers to come under broker groups. And that then enables women to get involved in the industry where you get a bit of security and and surety as to income for for their families. I think there's also pathways to get into the industry. So women. You know, the statistics that are out there where, you know, if women don't feel like they can satisfy most requirements that are on a job description, they're not going to even apply. So there can be pathways to get into the industry. So you can start in as a processor or a power broker doing credit research, which starts getting you involved in the broking process. And then you can evolve your skills where you become a power broker, which then in 12 months, 18 months after you're gaining those skills, you can take that next step into becoming a broker. 

Priscilla: [00:07:35] And in terms of women that are looking at mortgage broking as a possible, as a career choice, what advice would you give them if they're looking at considering entering the industry? 

Nicole: [00:07:46] It's a wonderful industry. It's very rewarding, but it's also a very hard industry as well. So there are so many. Obstacles that you need to overcome daily. There's distractions. You may think you're going to be focusing on a and then something happens with a loan in the system where you've got to just sort out because we're needing that approval or we're needing that settlement to happen. So it is being able to. Tackle challenges and being able to critically think and problem solve quite quickly. It's being able to manage a few different curveballs that may be thrown at you all in the one time. So I think the there is a certain personality type that is very much suited to broking. But also you don't have to start this self employed. You can start this as a PAYG industry and there are many options there. So it is about finding the model that suits you and what what works for works for you. And I think that there's options and choices out there where you don't have to be PAYG, you don't have to be self employed. You can potentially work two or three days a week, maybe not necessarily as the sales force, as a broker, but, you know, with support roles, you can definitely do it as part time. So there's plenty of options available and it is about opening up and having those conversations and finding somebody who you think will work, you'll work well with. 

Priscilla: [00:09:29] So, Nicole, I understand that a few of your employees are have become qualified. Could you tell me just a little bit about how they entered your business and what they're working towards. 

Nicole: [00:09:40] In our business, recently, two of our amazing women have just done their qualifications with the MFAA to do their diploma so that we can get them trained up and get them into doing broking roles. So, Toni, my loan processor of 12 years, she's now going to be looking after our existing customers with top up and being able to manage that because she's already got the relationship with those customers. Rachel, who's been our power broker for 18 months, she's always been interested in getting into the broking industry, but knew that power broking was a really great pathway for her to really get an understanding of the industry and how it works. So she is in the process of doing her cert for and diploma and once she's finished that she will then start her broking career and will slowly transition from power broker over into full time broker within the business. And then we'll get in another power broker to support us as she then starts building. As I look after a more specific portion of our database and Toni looks after our repeat customers, so we're sort of evolving all together within the business to have more brokers under Pink. 

Priscilla: [00:11:04] Right, I think it's great that you're giving people those opportunities to stay within the business and work their way up. And obviously, yeah, being able to work together, it's great. Thank you 

Nicole: [00:11:13] It's nice to be able to do that. And then I can take a little bit of a step back and focus on being proactive within the business as well. 

Priscilla: [00:11:24] Thank you very much for your time, Nicole, and thank you very much also to all our viewers, thank you for joining us on MPA TV. We look forward to seeing you again next time.