Changing careers: From banker to broker

Australian Mortgage Awards winner shares lessons learned

Changing careers: From banker to broker


By Ryan Johnson

Many bankers transition to broking, enticed by the independence and earning potential.

However, there are key differences between the two roles, which can be overlooked by those who are yet to walk the well-trodden path of banking to broking.

“Everyone worries about the same thing – giving up a steady paycheck and stepping into the abyss,” said Kim Bui (pictured above), director of Sydney-based brokerage Lending Hub Co.

“There’s no doubt the unknown is scary but when you believe in yourself you can achieve anything,” said Bui, who was recently awarded Adelaide Bank Young Gun of the Year at the 2023 Australian Mortgage Awards.

Building knowledge, trust and believe

Starting her career at Westpac, Bui had time to build her knowledge about the mortgage and lending landscape.

After working in a Westpac branch as a personal banker and bank manager, Bui moved across to lending for the final two years of her nine-year stint at the big bank.

However, when Bui and her business partner and former manager Pearl Tran moved into broking, challenges began to arise.

“The biggest challenge I faced when I first started as a broker was that I had only worked with one bank with only its set of policies and solutions,” said Bui. “Other brokers had the advantage of already understanding other products while, for me, Westpac was my one and only love.”

In the first few months, Bui said she spent a lot of time researching different banks, policies, and products, and trying to figure out which ones were the best for her growing client base.

“It was very challenging, but it was also very interesting. Learning about the different options available to my clients opened a whole new world for me.”

Another challenge for Bui and the newly formed Lending Hub Co was building her own brand and trust with her clients.

With 21.3% of the mortgage market share, Westpac is a household brand and often needs no introduction. For Bui and Tran however, marketing and brand recognition was a considerable investment, especially with 19,000 brokers to compete with.

“As a banker, I was backed by the Westpac brand, so people came to me because they trusted the brand,” said Bui. “But as a new broker, I had to establish my own brand and build trust with my clients. This took time and effort, but it was worth it.”

“I'm now known as a trusted and knowledgeable broker who can help my clients find the best mortgage solution for their needs."

From Westpac banker to award-winner broker

Bui's win at the AMAs is even more impressive because she and Tran ran their brokerage by themselves for most of the year.

They worked without assistants, but still managed to serve as many customers as possible. Recently, they expanded their business, hiring two more brokers.

When Bui won the Adelaide Bank Young Gun of the Year award, she realised that the recognition should also go to the many people who supported her along the way.

“It was a great surprise and a beautiful moment. On that night, we had my new brokers and their partners, and the referral partners that were with us from day one, when we started our business,” Bui said.

“This means a lot to our business because we are just starting out on our growth journey. It is a big motivation for all the brokers in our firm, including myself as a young broker. I hope I can inspire and lift my new broker team to achieve the same success in their career.”

Young Gun to diversify into commercial

With Lending Hub Co still at the start of its journey Bui said she had avoided restricting herself to a particular niche.

“Any customer who comes to me is my business. We are in the full-on growth stage, so right now, I don't have a focus on any particular market.”

“In the first year, I focused mostly on residential lending, and my commercial deals were very few. But in the next year, I will focus more on commercial as well as super funds,” Bui said.

“I want to provide my customers with a one-stop shop experience. And also, as a broker, I need to expand my knowledge all the time.”

While others may value specialisation over diversification, Bui wants to have a “more holistic conversation” with her customers and fulfill more of their needs.

“They come to a broker for a reason. The broker is the one in the middle who can help them find solutions. The more solutions I can offer, the better service I can provide to my clients,” Bui said.

“I'm not saying that I'm going to move from residential to commercial altogether as residential lending is always in my blood. Commercial lending is an extra service that I will offer as part of my business and a new field to explore and develop my knowledge and skills in.”

While walking the path of banker to broker can be fraught with challenges, Bui encourages the next generation to follow in her footsteps.

“To anyone looking to transition from banking to becoming a mortgage broker, my advice is to believe in yourself. It's not easy, but if you put in 150 to 200% of your effort, I guarantee it will work.”

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