Clair George has 19 years’ experience in the ﬁnance industry, including working at Aussie Home Loans. The mortgage broker and her close friend Jasmin Wilson set up The Avenue Home Loans in Bondi Beach ﬁve years ago to achieve a better work-life balance.
Q: Why did you become a broker?
A: As a young 21-year-old with not a lot of career direction, I was offered an opportunity to work in a family friend’s mortgage broking franchise. Looking back, I realise I had very little understanding of what the job entailed or what a life-changing decision I was making. My second position with another business was instrumental in developing my passion for the industry and working with customers to achieve their homeownership and ﬁnancial goals. I’ve been lucky enough to work with some amazing and incredibly successful people who have inspired and supported me along the way.
Q: You started up The Avenue Home Loans brokerage with Jasmin Wilson. How did that come about?
A: Jasmin and I have been close personal friends for quite a while. We were both mortgage broking in a large, busy office, but when we had our ﬁrst babies we realised the need for a more casual, baby-friendly work environment, so we decided to form our own business and workspace. It’s allowed our business to ebb and ﬂ ow around the needs of our young families, although with a casual environment, working from home, etc., it does mean that we are rarely not working!
Q: What do you enjoy about specialising in complex loan scenarios?
A: Of course the challenge of getting a complex loan scenario set with a lender is so satisfying. There is nothing better than workshopping solutions and getting a great outcome for my clients, whilst also keeping my ﬁnger on the pulse of lender policies that we don’t need to rely on every day. In saying that, even the most basic deals that go straight through to approval can be just as satisfying if there is a happy customer outcome.
Q: What advice would you give a broker setting up their own business?
A: Setting up our own business has been very rewarding. Having success whilst still hitting a great work-life balance has been exactly what we had hoped for when we set out. The downside is that when you work in a small group or on your own, it can be difficult to stay connected to the industry in general, so think about your personal work style and whether working in a more solitary way will be as rewarding for you. We are very lucky now to be able to connect with our peers through, for example, Finance and Coffee and various other platforms, so take advantage of those resources.
Q: Where do you see your brokerage heading in the next five years?
A: With still fairly young children at home, the next ﬁ ve years I expect will be less a period of growth and more a period of keeping my current customers happy as I have aimed to do to for the last 20 years.