In the hot seat: James Jabbour

by Antony Field21 Jun 2021

James Jabbour is a Sydney mortgage broker and team leader at Smartmove Professional Mortgage Advisors. The former rugby league player, who represented Lebanon, says the attributes he picked up as a player helped him make the transition to broking.

Q: You worked at Commonwealth Bank before you joined Smartmove. How did you become a broker?
I first heard about broking when I was a branch lender at CBA, and I loved the idea of providing customers with choices and options, especially if they did not fi t a particular bank’s profile. I heard about Smartmove after a colleague of my brother left CBA to join Smartmove. After spending a short time at CBA, I was fortunate enough to receive an opportunity to join Smartmove in 2016. Having a wider range of choices provided me with the ability to assist and an opportunity to secure relationships with as many clients as I could. The way Smartmove onboards new-to-industry brokers has allowed me to thrive in the position of mortgage and finance adviser with a strong mentoring and education framework in place.

Q: Tell us about your experience playing rugby league for South Sydney Rabbitohs, and representing Lebanon.
I played rugby league for more than 10 years, on junior representative teams such as the Bulldogs; in junior development squads the Roosters in the Harold Matthews Cup; for the South Sydney Rabbitohs in the S.G. Ball Cup; and in an international test match for Lebanon. It was a childhood dream to play representative football, particularly for Lebanon, my country of heritage. I faced loss, injuries and rejections in the early days of playing; however, through perseverance, I overcame those challenges. The discipline of resilience, hard work and a positive attitude that I learned throughout my journey of playing rugby league have carried through into my broking career.

Q: What are the most important attributes of a successful broker, and what would you say to someone considering a broking career?
Having the ability to understand a customer’s requirements and feeling empathy towards their situation builds a trusted, long-term relationship outside of a transaction on a deeper level, and by communicating the steps involved you are educating the customer on the actions required to achieve their desired outcome. To anyone considering a broking career, it can be a challenging one in the early phases but the most rewarding as time goes on. It is important to have short-term and long-term goals and a clear overview of the steps involved to be successful.

Q: What are some of your career goals?
I always strive for year-on-year growth with a focus on achieving a higher number of customer lodgements and settlements each year. One of my personal goals is to be recognised in the MPA Australia Top 100 Brokers. Additionally, a recent opportunity as a team leader at Smartmove has me mentoring and developing new-to-industry brokers, and my goal in this role is to develop as many brokers as I can within my team and help them achieve their desired goals in the industry, which I am fortunate to be involved in.