In the hot seat: Paul Herbert

by AB22 Jun 2020

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

A: The day I finished high school I applied for two jobs: one at Coles andone at a local French restaurant, washing dishes. I was fortunate to secure both jobs, and I worked in those roles before starting in the finance industry in 1993. Washing dishes taught me how each role in an organisation plays an important part in delivering a great customer experience. These days, it’s the dishwasher for me every time.

Q: What was your first job in finance, and how did you get into this industry?

A: I started as a teller at the Heritage Building Society. I was studying business at the time, and the opportunity came up through a careers day. Banking and finance was a far cry from what I imagined [I’d be doing] while at school, thinking carpentry or the electrical trade would be my future. The move to the broking industry came in the early 2000s while I was at GE. Seeing the impact brokers had in helping customers and solving problems really resonated with me.

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

A: The positive impact we can make on people’s lives. To see businesses start with great ideas, passion and energy and watch them grow through the economic cycles is fantastic. The resilience of small businesses in the broker industry is also incredible. The speed at which many can pivot and adapt to change means customers can continue a long and productive relationship through all stages of their lives. The good, far-reaching energy created in our industry is incredible. I couldn’t have imagined this when I started my career.

Q: What is one thing you wish everyday borrowers knew about finance, debt or brokers?

A: The wealth of knowledge and information brokers have that helps them achieve what’s important. It’s only when you experience the problem-solving skills of a great broker that you truly appreciate the value they can add. There’s a common thread to the best brokers: they never rest and never accept that it’s the best it can be; they’re always striving to improve their knowledge, service and experience to better their business for their customers.

Q: Name one positive change, innovation or efficiency you think will come out of the COVID-19 pandemic?

A: While nothing can replace the importance and value of building relationships in person, there is an incredible opportunity to build greater efficiency. As a lender, we’ve become better at servicing brokers remotely with video-meeting technology. Our BDMs can reach brokers in regional areas, or locally, more often with training webinars and accreditations, or to workshop scenarios by screen sharing instead of calling them on the phone. Brokers get similar access to all lenders, big and small, regardless of the size of the support team that was available to visit them face-to-face before COVID-19.