In the hot seat: Kathy Dundas

by Sarah Megginson05 Nov 2020

Q: What was your first job before you joined the finance industry?

A: My first ‘real’ job after leaving school was as an office junior at a legal firm in Sydney. This quickly turned into a paralegal position in the conveyancing department, which was my first taste of a customer service role in which I worked closely with clients, lenders and other legal teams to ensure that deadlines were met. I also loved the problem-solving aspect of this role.

Q: What was your first job in the finance industry?

A: After four years in conveyancing I was offered a job at a newly established US asset finance company as its contracts manager. I stayed with them for several years until just before my first child was born. I was a stay-at-home mum for five years, and had another child during that time. I felt that I needed to return to the workforce, but I was looking for a flexible option. A close friend’s husband was a mortgage broker, and after talking to him about what that involved, I thought that with my conveyancing and finance company background, broking would be a good fit for me. I set up my business from the spare room and was able to arrange my working life around my family commitments. As my children became more independent I was able to spend more time in the business but still be there if they needed me. It turned out to be the perfect working solution.

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

A: Just how quickly things can change. It’s an industry in which you cannot afford to be complacent and expect to do well. You need to ensure that you are on top of all aspects of lender policy, SLAs, rate and product changes, not to mention regulations. The last 18 months have seen so many changes, and we have faced not only a pandemic and sudden economic change but also the fallout from the banking royal commission and the regulatory changes that were born from there. I am surprised at how resilient and supportive our industry is. You would expect it to be extremely competitive, but I find that generally we are happy to offer advice and assistance to each other, which is so important.

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

A: My pet hate is the broker tiering that some lenders still have in place. I have never put a significant volume of applications with any lender, as I believe in providing customers with a choice based on which lenders best suit their circumstances. Unfortunately this means I am not a platinum-, diamond- or gold-level broker with any lender, and because of this my client’s application is put to the bottom of the SLA ladder. I strongly believe that all applications should be treated as equal and am at a loss as to why my client is disadvantaged because I do not push all applications to the one lender. My hope is that when the best interests duty comes into play our industry bodies will address this bias and we will finally all be on a level playing field.