Q: Who or what has inspired you to become a mortgage broker? What led you to this industry?
Being made redundant was the catalyst that prompted me to look for other employment opportunities within the finance sector. In hindsight being made redundant was the best thing that could have happened - although it didn't feel like it at the time.
Q: What is the best part of being a broker?
People! Assisting people with solutions is the best part of being a broker. That might range from helping a client out of serious financial trouble, assisting with the purchase of a motor vehicle, purchasing a first home or purchasing the tenth home, or even obtaining better interest rates that what the clients own bank had already offered them. All of these are hugely satisfying.
Q: What’s the hardest, most challenging part?
I think sourcing and having the right finance package approved on the best possible terms and from the right lender. That's the most challenging and the most rewarding really.
Q: What do you think has been the secret to your professional success?
Having a tried and tested process that I've perfected over 18 years and repeat every single day. That includes being very well prepared before I go out to any appointment, being on time, being professional and non-judgemental.
Q: As an experienced broker, what still surprises you when meeting clients?
It’s my view that the young people have become too comfortable with high levels of debt in order to satisfy wants over needs and more seriously, and that credit providers are clearly not establishing the creditworthiness of credit seekers before approving large credit card limits.
Q: What was your most memorable client experience?
It involved a couple who called to cancel all of their insurances. A short time after encouraging the husband to at least retain his life cover and trauma cover, he suffered a major heart attack and received a $286,000 benefit payment, which allowed him to become debt free, receive successful medical treatment and fully recuperate without any money worries.
He was then able to return to full-time employment. You read about these things in magazines and see it on TV but to experience it in real life is very satisfying.
Q: How would you sum up brokers?
Your best friend.
Q: Does the industry need more regulation?
What we have and what is proposed is acceptable in my view. But time will tell.
Q: Outside the broking business, what else do you enjoy doing?
Playing golf, walking in the Redwoods at home in Rotorua and spending time with my wife of 40 years and our family.
Q: If you were the Prime Minister for a day, what would you do?
Bring the most intelligent, successful and respected business people and entrepreneurs together and ask them what needs to be done. And then go back to the bureaucrats and tell them to make it happen.
Q: If you could have dinner with any three people who would you invite and why?
Three people facing the end of their life to inspire me to live and value my life more.
Q: Complete this sentence: If I wasn’t in mortgage broking, I would be…
An English lecturer at a university.
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‘Often as brokers, we forget how much knowledge we hold’
Graeme Leigh has over 30 years of experience in financial services. In this Q&A he talks to NZ Adviser about this most memorable client experience and what he loves about being a broker.