Graham Doessel is the founder and CEO of Australia’s leading professional credit repairer, MyCRA Credit Rating Repairs.
His life experience as both a broker and as a consumer at the wrong end of consumer credit reporting drove him to create MyCRA Credit Rating Repairs from the ground up.
His consistent championing for the rights of the consumer – the ‘little guy’ within the framework of credit and credit reporting has seen him become a frequent spokesperson for credit reporting issues in Australia and New Zealand.
Graham has also developed a best practice conduct for the credit repair industry with the development of the Credit Repair Industry Association of Australasia (CRIAA), of which he is an executive member.
Graham has in the meantime, built a very successful credit repair business with a past track record of up to 91.7% rate of removal of inconsistent or inaccurate negative data from Australian and New Zealand credit reports.
Graham grew up on a farm outside a very small country town in central South Western Queensland.
Born in the late 1960’s, he has experienced some turbulent financial times in his life so far.
He remembers having second-hand clothing as a kid and having to take on part-time work at a young age to earn pocket money.
Graham learnt early on the value of hard work, saving and frugality.
At 15, he left home and got his first job, with the railway in Gladstone. He remembers the excitement of independence and the great feeling of earning his own money.
After a couple of years in the railway, like many young people he found himself back at home with Mum.
Then his life seemingly took a turn for the worse. He was involved in a serious motorcycle accident which required lots of rehabilitation. Looking back, Graham describes this time in his life as a blessing in disguise.
He began working with his Uncle Fred back on the farm while he recuperated. He says it was a hidden opportunity to learn new skills that he would continue to use all his life.
Once back on his feet again, Graham moved to Gayndah and then on to Bundaberg, where he began what was to be a long career in sales.
His first job was at the Don Pancho Beach Resort at Bargara, Near Bundaberg, showing people around the resort. Dressed in shorts and a t-shirt with white deck shoes, he says it was a fun and dynamic time where he learnt a lot about sales.
Then began what Graham describes as a quest to find himself in sales. His jobs included door-to-door selling, being the trainee assistant manager at a high profile motel, duty manager at a country pub, real estate salesperson, Foreman at a security manufacturing firm, security guard, selling land on an island, radio advertising, advertising rep and then graphic design.
Utilising his graphic design skill, it was at this point that Graham started his own business, a promotional company. The company was successful, even winning high end contracts for the likes of McDonalds Restaurants.
But this was where things started to come unstuck.
Like many other salespeople, he was good at talking, but not so good at the paperwork. This led him to bring in a mate who was good at paperwork.
Neil had run many companies himself and seemed successful…
But all he ended up being successful at was stealing $135,000 from Graham and his company over a four-month period. Most of the money was borrowed funds for expansion.
This meant Graham had to make repayments with no money to make them.
He sought legal advice and was told his only option was to declare bankruptcy.
Graham was gutted, but reluctantly took his advice. In the meantime, dissatisfied with the outcome, he also sought help from a different lawyer who completely debunked the first lawyer’s advice.
He rushed to attempt to have the bankruptcy halted or reversed, but it was no use. After to-ing and fro-ing with the authorities, he found he was indeed stuck in the bankruptcy until the end of the term (three years).
Graham says it was a dark time, where he felt completely disillusioned with the process and devastated at the hand he had been dealt.
So for those clients suffering with a bad credit rating – Graham has been where you’ve been.
Graham did learn a lot while he was bankrupt. He says one of the main things he learnt, was that there was no one out there to help. Or at least no one he could easily find.
The experience prompted him to change his career, and he retrained as a mortgage broker – and quite a successful one.
On 1 October 2003, with the assistance of a close friend, he started the company called Mortgage Power which then became Mortgage Now in 2004.
Over the next five years, Mortgage Now grew to be known as the largest exclusively nonconforming mortgage brokerage in Australia.
Mortgage Now was so successful they were placed as a finalist in the 2006 Telstra Business Awards.
Within the company there were many opportunities to help everyday people avoid the mistakes he had previously made himself.
It was whilst researching other non-bankruptcy options to develop plans to help other people in similar situations that he came across the concept of repairing bad credit.
The very hands-on approach to his mortgage business meant he got to learn the plight of many of his clients. He learnt that many had negative listings appearing on their credit file that shouldn’t have been there – that was stopping them getting a home loan at normal interest rates.
These people had been victims of the fall out of incorrect credit reporting – and were paying dearly for it.
He was happy to help them get a non-conforming loan, but he still remembers feeling as if they had been dealt a very unfair blow – especially when he worked out how much more in interest they would end up paying.
Many of the clients he spoke to had been unaware they had ‘bad credit’ until they applied for a loan with a lender and were refused.
Many had spoken to the credit reporting agencies and the creditors about the mistakes and were told they could mark the listing as paid, but couldn’t remove the listing.
The clients were coming to Graham because their ‘paid’ listings were not enough to see them get a normal home loan at competitive interest rates.
He continued to help these people into a loan when they were refused elsewhere. A loan he knew first-hand they could service as they didn’t really have a bad credit history – it was a mistake.
Then one day he got some debilitating news at the busiest time in his career….he was diagnosed with the big C.
Up to his ears in work – he was forced to step back from it all and recover his health once again.
At the time it all seemed unfathomable, but in hindsight this gave him the ability to see what was really going on.
Funnily, life can be like that.
Whilst Graham was getting treatment for cancer, he was also faced with some other words – GFC.
The Global Financial Crisis in 2008 hit all brokers hard, not the least the non-conforming market. Sub-prime lenders were folding at a rate of knots – and this meant Mortgage Now was suddenly struggling to find lenders.
At this time he had even more clients, but had no facilities or lenders to help them.
In the wake of it all, when faced with a problem Graham found a solution.
He remembered his thousands of clients who were faced with bad credit that shouldn’t have been there.
Graham went back to basics, and found out how these clients could be helped.
After extensive studying of Australian credit reporting legislation he was able to come up with a framework for the solution to credit rating errors.
It was now possible to work on behalf of a client and actually repair their credit rating – instructing creditors to remove negative listings where they were listed incorrectly, unfairly or in error.
And MyCRA Credit Rating Repairs was born.
Today, Graham is enjoying the great success MyCRA has brought him with the development of a massive national team run from his Brisbane office.
As well as his regular speaking engagements he is also an active executive member of the Credit Repair Industry of Australasia (CRIAA), has interests in a direct debit service firm, and is Chairman of The NOW Foundation – raising awareness for male health issues and specifically, men’s cancers.
Graham is happily married to his lovely wife, Helen and they have three children, Cory, Joel and Stephanie. They have also taken in two foster children.
He looks forward to the future of helping more clients at a faster rate recover their financial freedom.
He is also excited about the concept of lifting the lid on credit repair, and showing people how they can repair their own credit rating themselves, with the introduction of a DIY Credit Rating Repair Kit to the MyCRA Credit Rating Repairs client services.
Despite giving away some industry ‘secrets’ Graham believes there is so much more a professional credit repairer can do for consumers, in terms of negotiation, relationships and knowledge of legislation which add value for individuals looking to repair their bad credit rating.
Recently, Graham opened two Law Firms and brought together some of the best Business focused Legal minds in the country. The two law Firms, Armstrong Doessel Stevenson Lawyers & MyCRA Lawyers continue Graham’s desire to help people from all walks of life.