David: Hello and welcome. You’re live with Affordable Staff. I’m David Judge and we also have Caitlin Stuart. How are you, Caitlin?
Caitlin: I’m good, thank you, David. How are you?
David: Good, good. So you started working with us recently at Affordable Staff and I understand that you have quite a fair amount of experience within the finance industry, don’t you?
Caitlin: Yeah that’s right. So 10 years, a decade this year, actually.
David: 10 years, so 2010. Wow. There you go. So can you just start off by just expanding a little bit about your experience within the industry?
Caitlin: Yeah absolutely. So I started out working in the call center at ANZ. So I think a lot of people when they sort of start their banking career, they start generally in a big four. I had a lot of experience working in hospitality, customer service, things like that, prior to that time and I wanted to start a career or find a job where I could bring those skills into a career and that’s exactly what I found within the finance industry. So I worked at ANZ for about four or five years and in that time I got a chance to work really closely with mortgage brokers. And there was something about mortgage brokers that I just really enjoyed working with. You know, I worked with a wide range of different client types. You know, from retail all the way through private banking. But I just really enjoyed working with brokers a lot. And so when I left ANZ, I found myself working in third-party distribution which is brokers for a niche lender. I started out as a desk-based BDM for them and I stayed in that role for a couple of years before ultimately moving into a national BDM role. So I got the chance to travel around the country visiting brokers everywhere and obviously educating them on our product and learning more and helping their businesses grow as well too. I took a step into a state-based role early this year in 2020 working for another niche lender in mortgage management. So again got a chance to work with a different type of broker, but you know it was a fantastic kind of experience to learn a bit more about what’s out there in the industry.
David: Yeah and depending on when you’re watching this video, if you’re watching this video a few years down the track, you’ll be able to reflect on the fact that it is November, and November 2020. And the planet is currently experiencing COVID. So, you mentioned travel. At the moment, you’re not doing any travel, are you?
Caitlin: No. Well, I lived in airports last year, especially. You know I think there’s like 50 or 60 flights by the end of the year. So I miss, I’d never thought I’d say I miss airports, but I do and I’m so excited that borders are now reopening and we have a chance to jump on and off planes again.
David: Yes, very soon. So let’s now move it to Affordable Staff. So why is it you moved into working with Affordable Staff, I mean, obviously we were advertising for a person that had your experience within this space. But what is it that captured you about coming and working for us?
Caitlin: Look, there are a few things and so I found myself, thanks to COVID, in need of a job. Unfortunately, there was a lot of people in the same shoes as myself who found themselves you know, made redundant or stepped back due to the changes in the economy. But when I was sort of thinking about my next move, I really wanted to join an organization where I could bring my skills and obviously my network and my knowledge and you know, still work with brokers but I less so wanted to work in the lending space. You know lending has become quite stressful, quite difficult for a lot of brokers in that sense as well as the lender BDMs as well too. And I wanted to really take a step back from that and so that was you know, ultimately a really big pull for me to apply for this role because it was basically my dream job. You know I get to work with brokers but outside of lending. So that’s really like, part of the reason why I applied, why I’m working here. Well, the culture is just fantastic. You know, you yourself, Nadine, and you’ve just been really fantastic and welcoming and it’s difficult because you know you’re in Brisbane, I’m in Melbourne, a staff in the Philippines. You know we’re really global and across all the different places but yet I still feel like I’m at home.
David: You mentioned the clients, the brokers that you’ve been working with. As you’ve been going and talking to new brokers that you’ve never met beforehand as well as your existing network, you mentioned the stress that they’re going through and the challenges they’re going through and the type of environment. How is it you’re finding they are as of November 2020?
Caitlin: Look, I think there’s been a lot of downtime for a lot of these brokers have had a lot of either downtime or they have just been too busy that they haven’t been able to stop working. You know, COVID has, in the early days, it created a lot of refinancing opportunities for a lot of brokers. And so those ones who went out and actively sought to help their customers especially in the early days but really had a lot on their plate. For some that was quite stressful. You know, they don’t simply have the time to think about their next moves either and obviously that really, we have a lot of conversations about outsourcing as well too, in that space, you know. Finding the time to get back to living their life normally. Down here in Victoria specifically, you know the sentiment was, I’d say depressive, I guess for a little while, you know. We were locked down for over a hundred days and real estate transactions weren’t happening. And people didn’t know whether or not they’d have a job in, you know, when we came out of it and all this sort of stuff, obviously we had a shutdown of retail and people were not just working during that time. And so as a result, a lot of brokers down here in Victoria really sort of struggled to come through that I would like to say now, that that has completely done on 180. Real estate transactions are booming; brokers are getting lots of inquiries. You know, the good ones who stayed in contact with their customers during this year have been able to I guess, reap the rewards of that really good customer service and they’ve been able to benefit from that. So I think sentiments’ starting to really improve across the board and 2021 is going to be a really big year in the lending landscape.
David: Yeah certainly. So if we move specifically to outsourcing, how is when you’re talking to clients that you’re bringing on board, how is it you’re basically informing them on how we can help them?
Caitlin: Yeah. I think it’s just getting brokers to understand that there is light at the end of the tunnel and they don’t necessarily have to hold on to everything, outsourcing their admin and their processing, for one can save them anywhere from like up 20 hours, you know, per deal. If you are able to have three or four deals on the go in any one week or even in a month, that’s an incredible amount of time saved. Not only that, it then provides them with the ability to go out and get more clients. You know, focus more on business development, building the business rather than working in it. And that’s really important I think, for a lot of brokers who are looking to scale up, so brokers who are working maybe single operators or maybe two brokers in an office, they really need to have that support in order to get to the next level.
David: Okay fantastic. So now moving forward, what are your plans, Caitlin?
Caitlin: Get out there and talk to lots of people. Look, I think that I’m a big people person, I love talking to people, I love catching up for you know, just for coffee and a chat to talk through you know, our offering and what we like to do. But also would like to make sure leverage my existing network and also have a chat with my previous contacts, you know, aggregators and things like that. There’s been a big announcement today in the aggregator’s space too, so there’s lots of changes happening and I think it’s really important that I get out there and talk to people and show them that outsourcing, how it can change your business, but also how we work because we work very differently to a lot of competitors in this mortgage broker outsourcing space, specifically. And I feel like, as a result, we have, I guess, a very much superior offering to a lot of our competitors but also, we’ve got some really happy clients as a result.
David: Yes, and that’s what I really appreciate about yourself, Caitlin, is that you come from the finance industry and you’ve moved into a space where you really understand the pain that people are going through, the challenges that we’re going through and you’ve been able to see how exactly it is you can flip that around and how you can help them through our product offering which is fantastic.
Caitlin: Yeah, thank you.
David: Yeah, so if somebody wants to get in contact with Caitlin, how do they go about doing that?
Caitlin: Absolutely. Pick up the phone, give me a call. My number is 0474 002 534 or you can email me email@example.com. If you want to have a sit down, have a chat about how we work, how we can help you if you’re based in Melbourne, love to catch up for a coffee. I’m so eager to get out of the house, I’ve been looking at the same four walls for the last six months. You know, if you’re based interstate, then we can absolutely have a virtual coffee on Teams or Zoom.
David: Fantastic. Well thank you very much, Caitlin. Thank you to everybody who has watched our little short video, introducing Caitlin into Affordable Staff. And we all look forward to talking to you again in the future. David Judge from Affordable Staff and Caitlin Stewart.
Caitlin: Thank you.