Gay and lesbian lenders GAL Home Loans picked up two major awards at the Mortgage Industry Association of Australia Awards recently.

GAL’s founder and chief executive Col Hahne was named Independent Operator the Year and the company won the title of Mortgage Manager of the Year (fewer than 30 employees), before taking out the prize of the night: MIAA Operator of the Year.

With a primary focus on the gay and lesbian community, GAL has developed into a market leader offering a specialised and tailored range of financial products and services.

The award, which recognised GAL’s outstanding niche marketing skills, was unexpected and stunned some of the nation’s biggest players. GAL was up against Australia’s major financial institutions, taking the award from last year’s winner, the Commonwealth Bank.

The awards, presented in front of 1,200 people at the MIAA national conference last Thursday, honour individuals and companies which set high standards in all elements of their businesses.

MIAA chief executive officer, Phil Naylor, said the winners were ambassadors of the industry.

The winners are ambassadors of the industry, they exemplify the professionalism and integrity the MIAA strives to encourage and are all customer-centric organisations, Naylor said.

The judges awarded the MIAA Independent Operator of the Year Award to Col Hahne for his hands-on approach to all aspects of the company, for his leadership and commitment to staff development, for his vision and business and marketing campaigns, and for his dedication to promoting the industry as a profession.

Hahne said he was overwhelmed to win the award and thanked the gay and lesbian community in every speech he made on the night.

It’s for the gay and lesbian community and they are what have got us here, Hahne said.

He said he loved nothing more than being challenged and he set high standards for himself.

I am renowned for being able to assist clients that other brokers have turned away. It’s my passion, my compassion, my understanding of client needs and my desire to provide innovative solutions, he said.

Since entering the property finance industry, GAL has branched out into credit cards, financial services and insurance.

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