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MFAA Prosper : Mortgage and Finance Brief 14
Mortgage & Finance brief 21 Martin Wanless: You started with John back in 1992. When you look back on it, it looks like a tale of two halves, because for the first half of its existence Aussie was a lender. JS: A tale of two halves is a good way to describe it. For the first 10 years, Aussie was a pure non-bank lender; we had our own product, and we did very well with it. When we started in 1992 our whole premise was a better service at a better price – a ver y si mple model that worked ex t remely wel l. The first five-to-ten years were key as we were instrumental in changing the landscape of the financial services market place; and that’s something we continue to do. M W: So, how did the move into broking come about? JS: Well, we had a trusted household brand and strong door-to-door distribution, so why not widen the net and distribute for other lenders too? Importantly, for some time John had also been concerned about seeking monies from the same well – securitisation, so he was keen to de-risk our business, which was a good call in view of the events of the last few years. MW: What was the reaction like at the time to that decision – especially from the banks, who you’d been in very direct, vocal competition with? JS: Out of respect, John personally met with all CEOs of our potential lender panel. The majority of the banks were very accommodating. They knew we had a customer experience and distribution that was better than most, they knew we had a powerful consumer brand and they knew we were the first call for many consumers. It was an exciting time which saw our size basically double and triple within 24 months. M W: How did your involvement come about? JS: When I was 19, John – who’s my uncle and godfather – asked me to give him a hand in his new venture for a week. The wider family at the time were commercially on their knees and John was particularly against the wall. However he was always a smart, respected businessman. I always got along very well with him as an uncle, soIwenttogivehimahandforaweekandthe rest is history. I remember going out and buying second-hand stationery on day one, we really did start with nothing. While I had many roles throughout the business, I always really enjoyed inspiring people to do better and with a culmination of my passion for customer ser vice, a key focus on sa les and distribution evolved.
Mortgage and Finance Brief 13
Mortgage and Finance Brief 15