Humans of Finance

Sarah Wells

Next year I will be 40 .. and also will celebrate 23 years in the mortgage and finance
industry. More than half of my time on the planet has been either as a finance broker
or involved in this industry … so how and why did I end up here…here is my story:

My mother became sick when I was in about year 3 or 4 … she was later diagnosed
with cancer and passed away not long after my 16th birthday. In order to help out at
home prior to her passing I left school and go a job selling shoes so we could keep
our home whilst she was in hospital. I then went on to work as a race horse strapper
and spent a couple of years working for well knows trainers and had the
privilege of strapping some of the great Group 1 horses of the 90s.

Not long before my 18th birthday I decided I needed to look for alternatives and I
thought I was applying for a polo pony groom job for a man that worked in finance …
well I ended up as a PA for my first mentor Tony Harris who had a franchise with
Mortgage Choice.

Working for Tony and not long into the infancy of mortgage brokering on the east
coast I was afforded many opportunities. Being based at HQ in North Sydney I spent
time with some wonderful other mentors including the lovely Fiona Bryce, Greg Cook and Jim Hull to name only a few. They taught this young race horse strapper how to turn on a computer…which was a huge achievement back then.. before beginning my education in the wonderful art of credit and learning the fine art of dignity in finding solutions for borrowers.

I was also afforded so much time by wonderful credit managers such as Janette
Rowlands, Gina Assimakis and the legendary Les McDonald who taught me so
much and gave so freely of their time in feeding my insatiable appetite to learn more
about this illusive term: credit risk appetite.

They laid the foundations for me in the great art of risk mitigation and understanding and deconstructing the deal within a deal. I am so very grateful to them and so many more who took time with me in my early years that have afforded me the wonderful career and the many people I have helped with my knowledge and skills.

So armed with a little knowledge and my trusty 10B my career as a broker was forged. The past 22 years have been filled with many ups, downs and periods much like a marathon. My career has seen me set and exceed volume targets, win awards, train and mentor many great members of our community, crash and burn when I lost my “loanjo” and make some less than brilliant business decisions and relationships.

It has also seen me meet some of the most amazing, compassionate and dedicated
people within and outside our industry who have made such a profound difference in
the lives of everyday people, including my own life.

Many know me as the “Doctor Whisperer” for my love of working with health
professionals a number commented that this was a great strategic decision due to their ‘desirable lendability’. I actually came to deal with them by accident. My decision to specialise in this area came from a personal not business motivation and it was due in part to the care and compassion they showed me when my mother was dying and my reflection on the lack of the same compassion that many were shown when it came to their finances. I came to deal with them as a way of thanking them for the great care that many of them give to people each and every day.

So in short it was a complete accident that I ended up our this industry … I however fell in love and have been here ever since .. with all great loves in our lives they come with both ups and downs !!

More recently I have decided to give back to our industry after a break from doing so,
which is something I am not the proudest to admit I actually took a break from. The
past five years have seen me move states and start my business again in my new
hometown of Perth. During this time I have experienced a number of ups and downs both personally and professionally including the passing of my brother who was born with severe physical and developmental disabilities.

Prior to moving to Perth I spent 5 years on the MFAA NSW State Council and a
number of sub-committees including WIMBN. I have made the commitment to find a
way to give once again of my time, passion and knowledge to aid in creating the
industry so many of us crave.

The media has not been kind to us and we have witnessed behaviour within our industry this past decade which we are not proud of. These past few months has seen a rise of a renewed and energised commitment to eradicate the remaining few and isolated flaws and bring pride and dignity once again to the members of our community who work tirelessly to lift standards and make a meaningful and positive impact to the broader community – especially those who need our skills and services to build their future and create homes and businesses which in turn provide futures and opportunities to the next generation and beyond.

I believe that change is inevitable. Even more so if individuals stand by and do
nothing then that change may not be in keeping with the greater good for all.

So consequently I have decided to stand for the MFAA Board to do my best to not
only shine the light on the good within our industry but to do my best to protect our
future and ensure we are here for many more years to come to help those we serve
with dedication, passion and the commitment to make the lives of each of our clients
better for us crossing their paths.

This great industry has given so much to me: an education, friends, a wonderful life,
travel and above all a purpose for which I am immensely grateful.

I am not asking you to vote for me – what I am urging you to do is use your voice in a
positive and meaningful way by engaging with the election and vote for someone you
believe can advocate for all in an educated, equitable and thoughtful fashion.

This is only a fraction of my story, maybe over a coffee sometime we can get to know one another that little bit more.

Dien and the F&C admin team … thank you for allowing me to share a little of my
story with you all