The new national partnerships manager at funding.com.au, Michelle Southern, started out as a broker herself. Here is her path to the new role she took on this year.
2004 - Steps into broking
Michelle Southern became a mortgage broker at Mortgage Choice when she was 21 years old, after being promoted from a client services manager role in the same office. As a broker, she generated her own leads and managed clients from the initial meeting to settlement.
“I was very ambitious and wanted to get into lending myself within two years. I worked and studied hard, and by my 21st birthday my manager thought I was ready to take the next step into broking.”
2006 - Tops region in retail banking
Realising how difficult it was to be self-employed and obtain a home loan, Southern moved to NAB as a home loan manager. This gave her broad exposure to residential lending and solid credit experience. After winning awards for her success in the residential space, she was offered the chance to move into business banking at NAB, where she managed a portfolio of business clients in Sydney.
“During the three and a half years that I worked in the retail banking channel, I received multiple awards for the lender with the highest volume in settlements in the region.”
2012 - Returns to third party
After maternity leave when she had her first child, Southern decided she wanted to go back to working full-time in the third party space. She began as a partnership manager at FAST, looking after the largest commercial portfolio in Australia.
“Along with Lindsay Blake, we started the very first FAST Women in Finance group dedicated to supporting and developing women in mortgage broking.”
2015 - Coaches brokes on Gold Coast
Southern relocated from Sydney to the Gold Coast and was offered a role at Loan Market as a business development executive in its Queensland team. She was responsible for both growing the portfolio and coaching existing brokers, and she continued her work in gender equality in broking.
“Along with my colleague Cath Crisp, we ran Loan Market’s first-ever Women’s Retreat.”
2018 - Beats growth targets
Seeing a good local opportunity to help a lender move into the broker space, Southern joined Southern Cross Credit Union (SCCU) to develop a third party distribution channel. Her networks and knowledge meant she achieved her growth targets after a very short period.
“After 10 months in this role, we were close to reaching our lending capacity and didn’t have enough deposits to fund any more growth. We didn’t expect to get so much growth so quickly and had to start turning brokers away!”
2019 - Builds relationships
With growth on hold at SCCU, Southern sought an opportunity to get back out and develop new relationships with brokers again. She was given the chance to do so as Queensland’s partnership manager at National Mortgage Brokers.
“I was fortunate enough to be able to spend a large amount of time within some of our broker businesses and really assist them in growing their businesses and teams”
2020 - Mixes business with community service
In February, Southern joined funding.com.au as national partnerships manager. Working part-time, she also does community service helping teens and parents with mental health issues. In her new role she will grow the third party channel and build relationships with brokers and partners.
“We have some great short-term solutions and niches for both coded and non-coded loans, and will focus a large amount of time on educating brokers on how to spot opportunities and not miss out on deals that can be written through the private channel.”