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MFAA Prosper : Mortgage and Finance Brief 13
Mortgage & Finance brief 35 Jo attard T en years ago, Jo Attard was a big fan of Richard Branson, but today her idea of successful people is very different. “Today, I am inspired by people who have a very good balance between work and family, who have the courage to make choices in their lives that are sometimes difficult to make, stand up for what they believe in, and who love what they do and help others. I am inspired by many different people,” she says. Attard started her career at Westpac as a teller and worked through all areas of the branch, becoming regional training manager before moving into business banking as a portfolio manager looking after small business clients. Business banking gave Jo the ambition to go out and start her own business. “I had analysed so many other businesses and I just wanted to do it for myself – but what business?” Attard says. “I was unsure until I took one of my very successful female clients to an event and told her of my ‘urge’ to set up my own business. She mentioned she had a friend in Sydney who was looking to set up a Melbourne office of their finance broking company.” Even though Attard was in finance, she was unfamiliar with finance broking. It was still relatively new ten years ago, but she had clients telling her about Aussie John doing business loans at home loan rates – something she could never do at Westpac. “On my way home on the train that night I called the guy in Sydney and by the time I got off the train, I was hooked,” she says. Attard’s keys to success are her two rocks – her husband, who gives her the freedom and support to concentrate on the business by looking after their two children full time. Her other major support is her assistant, who has helped unconditionally over the past nine and a half years. “Both of these people have been by backbone in my personal and business life,” she says. Attard always makes a point of doing the right thing by the client, putting herself in their shoes, having a backup plan, and continually educating herself. After 10 years in finance broking, this year Attard was named the number one female broker at PLAN Australia. In 2012 she has her sights set on the top, hoping to “knock some of these blokes off and be in the top 10”. People were approaching me to rectify and finalise home loan applications that other finance professionals had been unable to complete. i am inspired by people who have a very good balance between work and family. M axine Farmer became a broker because a work colleague was impressed at the high volumes of work she could accomplish on a daily basis. At the time, Farmer was working for the National Bank as productivity analyst, and when her colleague moved on to work with the ABN Group she followed shortly after. She refocused on specialising in the first homebuyers market and construction. “The reason I started specialising in this market is because I found a lot of people – customers, builders and brokers – were approaching me to rectify and finalise home loan applications that other finance professionals had been unable to complete,” she says. “This is particularly true for the first home owner construction market.” Farmer says this particular market can be a messy and time-consuming process. “It involves contractual matters with both land and building agents as well as State Revenue grant approval, in conjunction with monitoring savings plans with the clients that can take anywhere from three to 12 months.” While at the ABN Group, Farmer formed a close alliance with one of the sales representatives. When she moved on from the ABN Group her contact said that he was setting up his own building company with family members, and encouraged her to join and provide finance expertise. “Since then, our successful working relationship has gone from strength to strength over the past decade,” she says. Farmer is a self-confessed straight shooter. While this can go against her at times, she says that at least people know where they stand. It’s something that her clients, referrers and banks have come to appreciate. Maxon Finance has grown in line with volumes, and Farmer now employs both of her daughters as well as other experienced staff, who between them have racked up 75 years’ experience in the industry. Farmer says that her team takes pleasure from their work and that there is nothing more satisfying than seeing the joy of a person getting their first home. “I love sharing in the excitement of first home buyers,” she says. “I’m always looking forward to the next opportunity.” ••• Maxine Farmer
Mortgage and Finance Brief 12
Mortgage and Finance Brief 14