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Change Maker: Sarah Tucker, The Mortgage Mum

  • 27/03/2023
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Change Maker: Sarah Tucker, The Mortgage Mum
As part of the Change Makers initiative, Mortgage Solutions is speaking to people in the industry who have made a real difference. Here we talk to The Mortgage Mum’s Sarah Tucker about the evolving role of women in the industry, the need for more young voices and how she set out to make change in the mortgage sector.

Sarah Tucker is a mortgage broker, a singer and a pioneer. Whilst competing in front of the likes of Sir Tom Jones, and Jennifer Hudson on ITV talent show The Voice UK in 2019, she set up The Mortgage Mum.

Having qualified as a mortgage broker herself in 2015, she wanted to create a business that would bring change to the financial services industry by giving women the opportunity to train and qualify as mortgage brokers; and then provide them with a space to work flexibly around their families.

In the following four years, the business has gone from strength to strength, most recently adding a later life lending division in January.

Tucker has also been recognised for her success in the industry by being chosen to become a member of the Credit 500, an index of the most influential people in consumer and commercial credit in 2022.

Her courage and determination to create a flexible working environment for talented, but sometimes marginalised, women in the mortgage industry led her to be nominated as a Mortgage Solutions Change Maker.


How difficult is it working as a woman and mother in the mortgage industry, particularly as brokers?

I think it’s got a lot better. But when I started there weren’t many spaces for women who were openly trying to do both. Spaces were there for women who were concealing trying to do both, but if you openly said ‘I’m looking to work around my family’, then the general premise, and this is still the case in some quarters, was that this was not a role that can be done part time.

And therefore, many women were encouraged to go into support roles. My senior team have very similar stories of either making the sacrifice at home or feeling that they needed to make a sacrifice in their career development. And that’s why they find themselves here.

I was lucky. My start in the industry was positive – I thrived in a position that I created for myself with the permission of those around me but I could see how many people weren’t doing that and how there was a gap both in terms of new talent and showing people that there were intelligent women out there who were doing ‘unintelligent’ jobs because they felt it was the only route.

And that’s where The Mortgage Mum came from. I looked around my circle and thought I am earning good money from a job I love and I’m servicing clients and wanted to find a space for women in the same position.


Do you think attitudes to women are changing?

They are changing but there is still a lot more work to do, because we are still recruiting elite brokers and they all come with a similar story. The latest recruit was about to take a job in a school as an administrator because she was made to feel that she had to make a choice between her children and her role and that was the only way it could be packaged.

It breaks my heart because she is a fantastic broker and the industry could have lost her.

It’s still an issue, not everywhere, lots more companies are embracing flexible working. However, in a climate like we’re in, flexible working is not seen as a priority. There is a cost of living crisis and business needs to be won and you’ll have to work harder. However, flexibility isn’t all about that, it’s about putting people in the driver’s seat.

And it’s not about working part time, it’s about these women having the freedom to work from home when they need to. Most of our brokers are full time but work from home, they are doing it because they want to and are passionate about the business – but they are not locked into a schedule.


What is the USP of the Mortgage Mum?

From a broker perspective, [the female perspective] could be seen as our USP. However, from a client perspective, that isn’t the case so much. Yes, sometimes, clients come because they fall in love with our story, particularly women that had to give up something, or men who saw their partners having to sacrifice their careers. But, it’s more about the fact, we educate clients in a way that is different. We normalise language around mortgages, we translate the news and ensure our clients don’t feel intimidated.

So, I think our real USP is the education piece around what we do and how much energy and time we put into education. That is our public USP and it’s now less about flexible working women.


Right now, what does it mean to be woman working in the mortgage industry? 

Now is an exciting time to be a woman in the industry. Women are doing well. The industry wants to change. Right now, you arguably have more opportunity than you’ve ever. The chances are you will get seen if you want to.

There are a minority who are resistant but that goes across the board for all areas of diversity. I am seeing more and more dynamic conversations happening. And dynamic people of all ages, genders and races at the forefront of those conversations.

It’s going to take time for boardrooms to adapt, because people need time to grow but it’s not a stale space anymore; it’s an inclusive and dynamic space.


What changes need to come into the industry more broadly?

I think the people at the very top of the industry are still the same people. I do think it’s shifting but the people of influence are still the same. It’s going to take time for people to break into that [inner] circle. But it’s nice that the circle or collective is becoming more diverse.

I think people in that circle or collective need to keep looking outside and bringing more people into that space. People need to lift as they climb.

We also need more younger people in the industry. Younger people have new ideas, we need to get out there and find out what younger people want and embrace their talent.


How does it feel to be acknowledged as Change Maker?

It’s a massive honour. Although I did set out to make change in the industry, I don’t like to take the full credit for that change because change takes a lot of people to make it happen. I am just one person.

I am being utilised as a representative of something that is a lot bigger and has had a lot of contribution from other people. It’s an honour but it’s also a big responsibility. If you have an honour like that, you want to use it properly. I take it very seriously.

Sarah Tucker will be appearing at the Ideal Home Exhibition until 2 April.

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