Jeremy Fisher, Founder and Director of 1st Street, is one of the most awarded mortgage brokers in the industry. He’s the winner of the Australian Broking Awards’ prestigious Broker of the Year title and was ranked number one in MPA magazine’s Top 100 Brokers in Australia for 2015. He started 1st Street in the spare room of his unit in 2002 and since then, has settled in excess of A$2 billion worth of property loans, priding himself on his achievement and highly personalised service to his clients.
In addition, Jeremy also offers the service of a Justice of the Peace. It didn’t all start out that way, though. Growing up, Jeremy aspired to be a tennis player, and was fortunate enough to receive a scholarship at a college in the US. But he ended up cutting this career path short and returned to Sydney, where he enrolled at Western Sydney University to study business. During his studies, Jeremy was offered work as a trainee stockbroker.
“It was the perfect foundation, as I learned about dealing with customers and core value propositions in the customer experience,” he shares. “This lasted five years and I then decided to start 1st Street.” Jeremy says he was highly motivated to be his own boss and build a business. “While in stockbroking, I was not on a wage and would only receive 50 per cent of the brokerage received by the firm,” he says.
“So I figured I was already taking on all the risk for only 50 per cent of the upside, so I may as well go out on my own and take 100 per cent of the upside and 100 per cent of the risk.” This type of tenacity and drive is what paved the way for Jeremy’s next steps, having now established the foundation of what he needed to learn in order to take his next successive steps into becoming an entrepreneur. When it came to scoping out the industry, Jeremy was attracted to the real estate market.
“I was very interested in property, but I didn’t want to be pushing product or become a salesperson,” he says. “Mortgage broking was just beginning to gain some traction in Australia, and I felt there was plenty of upside and, most importantly, no ceiling on the size that you could grow a business.” To take the business forward, Jeremy started off by making sure everyone knew what he was doing.
I have always been someone to embrace change, pivot and move with it.
“I didn’t want to hear, ‘If only I knew you were a mortgage broker,’” he says. “I also set up a few strategic relationships with real estate agents, accountants, solicitors and financial planners. This helped to get my name out to more people and kickstarted the growth of 1st Street.” The constant regulatory changes within the industry were not enough to ruffle any of Jeremy’s feathers.
“I have always been someone to embrace change, pivot and move with it,” he says. “From new systems and processes to building a team offshore in the Philippines to manage the back office, 1st Street has always been focused on the customer experience.” The importance and focus on the customer experience is paramount, as 1st Street is built on word of mouth referrals, which is a reflection of the effectiveness of its business model. Jeremy believes that what sets 1st Street apart from its competitors is its customer focus and attention to detail.
“At the end of the day, we are all selling the same product, home loans, so what sets us apart is our service and ability to understand what our customers want and how best to deliver this within a matter of days,” he explains. 1st Street is developing an online platform as it anticipates a digitalisation of the industry.
“We are refining our process, both for the staff to improve efficiency and for the client experience,” Jeremy says. “We see the future of our industry transitioning to a hybrid – mortgage brokers will always have an important role, however, the move to online interaction is something we are already working towards as we feel some of our clients in the future will prefer to deal this way.”
Jeremy’s pragmatic attitude and approach to business are very endearing. He is inspired to go to work every day and help people achieve their dream of home ownership. “It sounds corny, but what we do can have a positive impact on someone’s future, which is what keeps me motivated and driven to keep building and improving our offering and service proposition.”