Andrew Crossley - Humans of Finance

Humans of Finance

Andrew Crossley

My name is Andrew Crossley. I grew up in Melbourne where I attended Luther College. At the age of 20 after having worked promoting various nightclubs around Melbourne I was lost as to what I wanted in life. I didn’t really have any direction and had no degree, so I decided to leave Australia.

Initially it was to be for 6 months to work as a ski instructor in Austria, on the back of having worked in Mt Buller on the chairlifts for 3 months just prior. The idea was put to me to work in Austria soon after a fateful day when a friend I was skiing with in Mt Buller fell to his death in front of me. It was at his wake that I met someone who welcomed me to join him in leaving the country. Upon arriving in Austria, I quickly realised there is an exam and ski ability assessment to become an Austrian qualified instructor. I was initially told otherwise by someone, but it obviously made sense. Skiing was the easy bit, speaking German, was hard. I paid a tutor for a month to teach me, I learned as best I could – difficult given I wasn’t good at focusing on studies at school. I had left Australia on a 1 way ticket with $2000 in my pocket. 7 weeks later, in December 1992, I was down to my last $350 and had to decide whether to fly to London to try and get a job – returning home would have meant I failed – or go all in; pay $300 to sit the Ski instructor exam, with no guarantee of passing, and if I failed I would be stuck and have to return to Australia, having failed in my overseas adventure still with no direction in life of what I wanted. I was literally down to living off only bread. It was very heavy dark brown wholemeal loaves of bread, full of fibre, very filling in fact and nice for the first day but boring after that, it was all I could afford. I would live off this for 3 days at a time eating nothing else. My sense of ‘freedom’ of being independent and enjoying the adventure of life was on the brink of fading away. Thucydides wrote “The secret to happiness is freedom… And the secret to freedom is courage”.

I passed the exam, all in German, 5 pages of written answers in German. The feeling was euphoric. Many Ski instructor positions had filled by this point, another hurdle, so had to use some initiative. I stood in a phone booth all day with a phone book using some of my last $50, and started at A. I got to S, and secured a job in Söll, Tirol.

I completed a season and loved it, then went to London to work as a cocktail barman for 8 months before teaching skiing again back in Söll. At season end, I returned to London and landed a job working for an advertising company for what ended up being 2 years before being head-hunted to a private wealth firm in the Netherlands.
I started at the bottom on the phones and after 6 years I had worked my way to associate partner, heading up the private wealth division of this multi-national firm. I got married in the Netherlands toward the end of the 6 years to my wife Els and soon after our wedding I was relocated to the Cayman Islands in the Caribbean. I completed my PADI scuba diving instructor qualification and taught diving in my spare time. Around 9 months later we relocated to Italy.

Living in Italy for a further 8-9 months when I decided after 12 years as an ex-pat, and having visited 87 countries, it was time to return to home, but not before teaching skiing for one final season in 2004-2005 in Söll again.

I returned to Australia in April 2005 to the Eastern suburbs of Melbourne, thinking that armed with having been in an executive position and having accumulated 12 years of experience abroad I could secure a good job straight away. I was mistaken. Recruitment companies and the banks systematically prejudiced me, I had no local experience (tantamount to having no recognisable experience), I didn’t really know anyone and I had no degree still.
My first goal was to enrol at Deakin University to undertake an MBA. I also quickly found a job as a loan writer working for a company selling investment properties. I did this for a year, before being headhunted by the only good recruitment manager I have met here, who put me forward to be interviewed by Chris Carn, to join Pepper. Chris took a punt and employed me, and I remained at Pepper for roughly 3 years up to around the time of the GFC, roughly October 2008. In my 3 years there I was recognised one year as a finalist in the AMA awards, which was great. During these 3 years and the following couple of years I completed my MBA. I also completed a Masters in Commerce and a Masters in Commercial Law.

The previous State manager of Pepper soon contacted me and invited me to come work with him as a loan writer in a small business in Sth Yarra, dealing with high net worth celebrities and other notable personalities. I did this for 6 months or so. In 2009, my name was put forward as a candidate for Homeloans Ltd. Tony Carn, now with Nextgen, interviewed me and hired me. He was unaware his brother had hired me 3.5 years prior for Pepper, so intelligence and insightfulness really runs deep in the Carn family, I think, and I sincerely mean that, I owe them both a great deal, particularly given no one else including various banks ‘3rd party’ state managers had the foresight to give me a chance.

Having been at Homeloans for coming to 8 years, I continue to love every day working with the brokers that help support me and Homeloans. What I love, is the fact I showed those my own way, that I was worth hiring. I have been a finalist in the AMA awards for the last 2 years and a finalist in the Better Business Awards last year, I have been a finalist in the MFAA awards for 4 years consecutively, and won the State award 2 weeks ago. I am so pleased I was given the opportunity 8 years ago to contribute to a lender that understood at the outset what international experience and demonstrated loyalty could bring to the table. I have also just published my second book ‘Property Finance Made Simple’, in stores round Australia, both number 1 best sellers, . (Dien mentioned it’s ok to include this link). I wrote it as a great resource for brokers and their customers alike, it covers topics such as responsible lending and positive credit reporting, and the changing landscape and how to deal with it, and most importantly it supports why, more than ever before, it is absolutely essential to use a good mortgage broker, and never go directly to one lender. Brokers are the key to every consumers borrowing capacity/finance structure/ property portfolio/ refinance/ upsize/downsize/business success.

I love spending time with my kids Ben, 10 (he loves the cartoon by the same name) and Lisa, 8. I also enjoy watching movies, boxing, gym and running. My health and fitness are so important to me, without your health you have nothing. I regularly return to Austria for my annual leave, to teach skiing for a week, and ski for an additional 3 weeks. I love this industry and am glad I have the opportunity to work in it and with so many fabulous people, I’m lucky to call many brokers ‘friends’.