How to be a community-minded mortgage broker

“When you first start out you don’t have the funds to help. Your most important asset is time.”

Mortgage broker, Mark Winter, became such an integral member of his local neighbourhood through his community engagement program, that the suburb of Springfield named a street after him.

So, how did Mark start out and, how did he get to where he is today?

“For me, it was about giving back to the community that has given me such a great deal - they gave me the opportunity to build a business. Starting out, I was always of the mind that if I ever made good money, I would give back.”

It all began for Mark with a golf day that he hosted to get some lenders on side and raise a little money in the process for a local charity - Westside Community Care. That golf day has continued every year for the past five years.

But it doesn’t end there. Mark has developed a community program that gives back in a diverse way: he hosts charity cricket games on Australia Day, runs Family Fun Days with local dance troops and he brings a choir out to Australia made up of orphans from Uganda.

Mark is leading a Loan Market group-wide community initiative building an orphanage in Fiji and his business supports missions in Cambodia to help struggling communities to become self sufficient and live off the land. Mark has set up two rugby clubs in his local area and sponsors his local golf club.

For time-poor mortgage brokers, developing community campaigns might seem overwhelming and all-consuming. Mark believes all brokers can make a positive impact in their community, and it all starts with five simple steps.

Get to know your local area

You need to know what’s happening. What other businesses are supporting the community? How many schools are in your area? What are the local charities? You need to know as much about your community as you do your clients, and you need to know what areas you want to support.

Be prepared to get your hands dirty

If you don’t have the money to contribute, you have time. If you don’t have the time, you usually have money. Choose one as a starting point. You might be surprised how valuable donating your time can be.

Talk to the local rags

Get in touch with your local papers and community radio stations - you can’t sell a secret. You need to put yourself out there and promote what you’re doing. And it doesn’t have to cost money; if you’ve got a story to tell, a local journalist will usually listen.

Trust that it works

As an industry, a lot of our business is word of mouth. It’s not just repeat business, it’s the people within the community who talk about us to their neighbours and friends. You have got to be seen and you have to be known.

Until your business is making decent money time is your best asset - that’s what you can contribute, and that’s how I started. It takes a number of years to build up, but if you keep at it, and truly believe in it, it’ll work. Your business will benefit from the effort you put back into the community.

Be proud of getting involved

Don’t shy away from recognition for your community work - the community will want to thank you. Remember, you aren’t in it for the accolades, but always appreciate those who recognise you. The relationship will benefit from it.