Thomas Hawley: ​Young, Hungry and Competitive

by AB10 Jun 2014
Thomas HawleyA friend enticed Thomas Hawley into mortgage broking and, having written an impressive amount of loans in his first year, he hasn’t looked back

A 26-year-old broker whose goal is to settle $40m in his first financial year in the job holds a strong belief that if you want to be the best, you must have confidence in your abilities.

Thomas Hawley achieved a master’s degree in finance and accounting and then worked in stockbroking and fund management until he was serendipitously enticed into mortgage broking by a friend less than 12 months ago.

The eastern Sydney local said switching to mortgage broking was a “no brainer” after reviewing the value proposition it provided, and seeing what his friend brought in every month.

“After looking at it more deeply, it made perfect sense to me. It’s a free service and we’re providing people with a range of options – we’ve got the power of the banks behind us and we understand all their policies. I thought the value proposition was too good to let go, and it made sense to me at the time, so I came on board and I’m absolutely loving it.”

Hawley settled his first application in September and has already lodged $22m, making solid headway towards reaching his goal by June – although he said realistically that figure might be a little bit steep and he may only reach $35m.

“I’ve had a few big deals gone by the wayside unfortunately, but there’s no point setting goals that are too easy to achieve. They’ve got to be high enough that you must work tooth and nail to achieve them, but not be unattainable.” He has already set the bar for his second financial year – $60m.

“I think that’s achievable. Perhaps it does seem unattainable from a normal standpoint, but considering the platform we have with the business, with the relationships we have, people we have externally supporting the business, it puts it into reach… I don’t know, does that sound unattainable to you?” he laughs.

Hawley puts his success down to the supportive and engaging environment of his workplace, Shore Financial – a soaring new brokerage that lodged more than $100m in home loan applications by the end of its first year in March. The average age of brokers at this North Sydney business is just 26 years.

“I’d be surprised if there was another company in Australia which has a working environment as good as ours. We’re all close friends – we spend time together at work, we spend time together at the weekends,” says Hawley.

“We’re all young and hungry and competitive, but at the same time everyone is supportive of each other. I think that’s also what’s been contributing to the success of the business so far, because everyone loves coming to work, and no-one’s scared to put their hand up and ask questions.”

Hawley is realistic that he has not been around long enough to pass judgement on what needs to change within the mortgage industry, but one thing he does not enjoy is fighting the public’s negative perception of mortgage brokers.

“Sometimes you talk to people who have sworn they would never talk to a broker again. Every industry would have these negative experiences, but you have to wonder what went wrong for these people in the past. At the end of the day, all we’re here to do is help people.”

And interacting with people is what attracts Hawley to the retail side of finance, although he admits the institutional banking experience has helped spur his fast progress.

“I’ve been able to pick up a lot of information relatively quickly, and I think that’s because of my previous finance background. That’s allowed me to speak to people a bit more deeply about their financial position and give them a bit of my perspective on things, than someone who didn’t have that previous knowledge.”

Hawley said he is always candid with people about how little time he has been in the role.

“But people don’t seem to mind when they hear the information I can give them. With the level of conversation we can have, they understand that it doesn’t matter that I haven’t been in the industry that long. But if I don’t know something, I can always just go and find it out.”

At the rate Hawley is going, it does not seem like it will be too long before he hits “what every broker wants to” – writing $100m per year.

“I don’t think that’s unattainable at all. You’ve got to believe you can be the best in the industry and that’s what you have to strive for,” he says.

“I guess the journey we’re on is just as exciting as the industry we’re in.”