In the hot seat: Rebecca Walker

by Sarah Megginson17 Aug 2020

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

A: My first job was in the fitness industry, working as a personal trainerand group fi tness instructor. I really liked helping people check off goals and achieve their best! This led to me designing our ‘personal trainer for your finances’ business model for The Infinity Group: each client is assigned an ongoing accountability coach, who manages their finances. Our continued support and customer-centric approach has seen Infinity win multiple awards and reshape the finances of many Australian families.

Q: Financial education is a big part of what you do. Why are you so passionate about educating people on their finances?

A: The lack of financial literacy from both the consumer’s and the industry’s perspective amazes me – many brokers and customers still think the best rate, including fixed rates, is the best thing for the client. It’s so exciting for us to empower our customers, again and again, to repay their mortgage within just seven to 10 years, but it also baffles me that the industry doesn’t provide this support more widely. Without earning an extra dollar, but by changing the way they manage their finances, we continue to see our customers pay down debts in years rather than decades.

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

A: I’d like to see stronger efforts to educate consumers, not just to sell them on the best rate. Having a low rate is meaningless if you take 30 years to repay the loan. By giving our clients a better-suited product with features that allow them to repay the loan in seven to 10 or at the most 15 years, customers can keep unnecessary interest in their family accounts instead of the banks’.

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

A: I would like to be in the education space. I really believe that so much real-world education is lacking in the school system, and some of what our children are being taught will never translate into their everyday lives, so we’re currently working on a children’s financial literacy program that I believe will be a game changer. [My partner] Graeme and I constantly remind customers: “Stop buying your kids stuff you never had, and start teaching them things you never learnt.”

Q: What’s one positive change coming out of the pandemic that you believe has improved the mortgage industry?

A: I strongly believe that consumers will now, more than ever, take control of their finances. I’m also confident that the old face-to-face meeting and assessment model has already changed drastically, and this space will continue to grow and innovate. That will include more virtual processes for document collection and signatures, recorded video conferences and other areas that will genuinely allow brokers to reach a wider scope of consumers and ultimately give them better choices within the industry.