In the hot seat: John Kennedy

by Sarah Megginson31 Aug 2020

Q: What was your first job before you became a mortgage broker?

A: I am a chartered accountant, so my first job was after uni when I worked in an accounting firm in WA. From there I spent five or six years working in London and Sydney in various project-type roles at major banks, before I ended up living and working on the Gold Coast as a mortgage broker.

Q: How and why did you make the pivot from accounting to mortgage broking?

A: I was working as an accountant when I relocated to Queensland in 2000, and one of my colleagues referred me to a Mortgage Choice broker when I was looking to buy an investment property. I’d never heard of a mortgage broker before, and after going through the process I said to my wife, “That’s a business I want to be in...”

Q: If you weren’t a mortgage broker, what would your ideal career be?

A: It’s hard to say where I would be if I wasn’t a broker, given that I’ve been a broker for almost 18 years. I’d probably be in some sort of corporate role, hopefully in some form of sports administration.

Q: What has surprised you most during your career in finance?

A: The amount of change. When I think back to my first years in broking – I started out in 2002/2003 – we were using dial-up internet and faxing our loan applications off. We were using an Excel spreadsheet for a CRM. Then I look at where we are now, with full paperless applications right through to ‘DocuSigned’ loan docs and mortgages. We’re not quite there in Queensland, but I did one for a NSW purchase recently. And let’s not even mention the regulatory changes in that time!

Q: Do you think everyday borrowers are becoming more aware of brokers and the value they can add?

A: I think most people are quite well educated on how brokers work, but there is less awareness of the impact that early loan closures can have on our businesses, with clawbacks going out as far as two years. It’s one of the reasons why we prefer the client to always come back to us first, to see if we can assist them in restructuring their current loan before they opt for a refinance.

Q: What’s one positive change or innovation you believe will come out of the COVID-19 pandemic?

A: Hopefully lenders and regulators will be more open to a complete digital and paperless process from start to finish, including the COVID-19 relaxations for client meetings via video conferencing, etc.

Q: If you could change anything about the broking industry, what would it be?

A: I’d like to see more accountability from lenders around their service levels and other behaviour that directly affects us and the service we provide to borrowers; also, a more equitable policy on clawbacks when the reason for the loan closure is no fault of the broker.