Leteisha Pileggi: Australian Young Gun of the Year

by Adam Smith02 Dec 2013

The AMA winner shares her path to mortgage broking, what she’s learned and where she hopes her career will take her

While Pileggi did move from other areas of finance into mortgage broking, she did so via an unusual route.
“I actually fell into mortgage broking by chance. At the time, I was actually studying to be a social worker. However, after my first practical experience in the field, I realised social work is not what I wanted to do,” Pileggi said. While Pileggi said her eventual move into broking was by way of “accident”, she wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I love meeting new people and helping people, and in this job I get to do both,” she said. And Pileggi said her role in dealing with young clients gives her the opportunity to help people realise their ambitions.
“In my role, I deal with a lot of first home buyer clients, and helping these clients to achieve their dream of home ownership is deeply satisfying. In some cases, the first home buyers clients I see don’t necessarily qualify for a loan straight away. However, with a little assistance and some financial direction, I am able to put them on the path to home ownership faster than they expected, which is utterly rewarding.”
Though she may be relatively new to the industry, Pileggi sees bright days ahead. “I would like my business to be significantly bigger than what it is today. Over the next five years, I plan to move into a larger office space, recruit at least one more mortgage broker as well as a second administrative assistant, and diversify my core service offering. Mortgage Choice has recently launched its own financial planning arm, and this is something I will look closely at over the coming few years. Under the financial planning arm, brokers can bring a financial planner in-house to help cater to the growing needs of their clients, which is something I believe in and want to do in the near future.”
Pileggi’s foray into the industry hasn’t been entirely without its challenges. Pileggi said she has been fortunate thus far, and that her background in credit prepared her well for the intricacies of the industry, but the entrepreneurial nature of mortgage broking still presents its challenges.
“If I was to identify one challenge, it would have to be business ownership. Going into business for yourself comes with a certain set of challenges, including time and team management. That said, running and managing your own business also comes with significant benefits, and if you work hard, you will find the benefits always outweigh the challenges,” Pileggi said.
And as she continues her career in broking, Pileggi said she’s prepared to face even bigger challenges.
“Growth has to be one of the biggest challenges for me moving forward. I would like to continue to grow my business and my bottom line. To do that, I understand that I need to recruit new staff, including an additional administrative assistant and potentially a mortgage broker. However, finding the right people for the job is never easy. They not only have to be good at what they do, but they also need to fit in with the culture of the business.”
But Pileggi said the franchise model would give her an edge in handling the challenges ahead.
“Franchisees receive a lot of support from their branded parent company. Starting out in this career, I knew I would need plenty of support and assistance to help me get my business off the ground. Thankfully, the franchise model delivers just that. In fact, when I first started as a franchisee with Mortgage Choice, the support and business assistance I received was second to none. Any ideas I had, they would help me make it happen. They bent over backwards to accommodate me and, as a result, my business has gone from strength to strength.”
For anyone thinking of entering the industry, Pileggi advised that they should keep a realistic perspective. While mortgage broking is a rewarding career, she warned that anyone expecting easy money would be in for a rude awakening.
“I believe a lot of people become a mortgage broker because they think it is an easy profession that allows you to make a lot of money quickly. The reality is, being a good mortgage broker isn’t easy. It takes time, dedication and commitment,” she said. “That said, if you take pride in what you do, are happy to go above and beyond for every single client, and are committed to working hard, there really are plenty of opportunities to succeed.”