Broker tackles extreme poverty one loan at a time

A NSW-based mortgage broker donates 25% of his upfront revenue to charity in a bid to connect financial services with bettering the lives of those around the world.

Sion Titus (pictured above) launched his brokerage Lending Hands on the Central Coast in July 2021.

Within his first year, he saved more than $53,000 through cash back or refinances and donated over $22,000 across three different charities that are close to his heart.

“We collaborate with Compassion for Child sponsorship, MTS for sponsoring community leaders within local churches, and a local charity for helping Indigenous children,” Titus said.

“What I love about my company is that we quite literally action our tag line – Save Money Save Lives. One of my clients saved $8,300 through refinancing in their first year and we were also able to give $680 from my commission to Compassion. This covers 15 months for a child to be sponsored for food, healthcare, and education.”

Titus said that his clients “really resonate” with his cause.

“When they see the impact of a kid in Uganda happy and healthy and that happened because of their contribution, they get a sense of fulfillment,” Titus said. “The biggest debt of some my clients’ lives will go towards something positive outside of their own sphere of influence and it’s really a win-win for everyone involved.”

Originally inspired by Thank You Water, an Australian-based initiative designed to solve the water crisis by donating a portion of the purchases of bottled water, Titus thought he could do the same for mortgage broking.

“’What if I could do that kind of model where I could help people with their mortgages while helping to sponsor a child and giving them access to healthcare and education?’ I thought. I wanted to get to a point where my skills were being used to make a difference,” Titus said.

Titus said with more than $2 trillion worth of mortgages in Australia there was space for this initiative to grow.

“Even with our current model, if just 1% were refinanced, it would generate $32.5 million that could be donated to life-changing work. This is equivalent to 56,423 years of impact through the child sponsorship program,” Titus said. “Imagine the difference that could make to ending poverty on all levels.”

While Titus’ charity-driven mortgage broking model is already unique, the work from Lending Hands is also providing support where others can’t. In the last 6 months, the brokerage donated over $10,000 to its charities, which nearly $7,000 went to child sponsorship.

Titus said this translated to 12 years of sponsorship for four kids who had previously lost their sponsors due to the pandemic. 

“I personally write letters to all of the kids. It’s something that I really enjoy because I get to hear about their aspirations in the face of extreme challenges. They’re all amazing kids and they have big dreams of helping the community around them,” Titus said. 

“Take (my sponsored chiild) Abi for example, he wants to be a doctor because sickness is a real problem in his area. He so desperately wants to help them and if my small part helps to make that happen, I’m getting closer to the business I want to build.”

Why brokers make the perfect social entrepreneurs

From setting up financial literacy programs to brokers who are firefighters, brokers are often well placed to provide support in other areas.

Embarking on a journey from mortgage broker to social entrepreneur may seem like a significant leap, but Titus said it was a transition that allowed him to expand his impact beyond financial transactions.

“Our journey towards social entrepreneurship began with a fundamental shift in mindset,” Titus said. 

“We realised that while providing clients with mortgage solutions was important, understanding their aspirations, challenges, and dreams was equally vital. Empathy became the cornerstone of our approach, allowing us to connect with clients on a deeper level and provide personalised guidance.”

Unlike other financial institutions that may be restricted by red tape and procedures, Lending Hands is a small business like many other brokerages.

Titus said this allowed him to take a “personalised and nimble” approach to his community initiatives.

Even so, Titus understood that he was personally passionate about these issues, he knew that he couldn’t do it all himself.

“Creating lasting impact requires a collective effort. We actively sought out partnerships with like-minded organisations, including nonprofits, community groups, and social enterprises,” Titus said.

“By collaborating, we could combine our expertise and resources to address larger social challenges. These partnerships also allowed us to tap into networks that expanded our reach and influence.”

Still committed to excellence

While Titus’ charity initiative is his point of difference, he said that it hadn’t made him compromise or forget about quality.

“I still don’t charge a fee for clients. My point of difference is a generous option without compromise. I’m still shooting excellence. I want to be best broker while still making a difference,” Titus said.

And while it’s just him for now at Lending Hands, Titus said he would “love to see” other brokers take up a cause they were passionate about even if it meant taking a hit to their bottom line.

“It’s definitely a challenge setting it up and I am taking a hit in terms of revenue, but I think there is enough things wrong in the world to try and do your part and fix.”

What charity cause do you champion? Comment below.

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