CMP 15.11

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DLC GOES PUBLIC What the network’s debut on the TSX will mean for brokers

MORTGAGEBROKERNEWS.CA ISSUE 15.11 | $12.95

A VOICE FOR CHANGE How Laura Martin is waking the industry up to its diversity problem

NEW BROKER GUIDE Five things every newcomer must do to build a successful career

2020 WOMEN OF INFLUENCE

These 71 women are leading the mortgage industry toward a more gender-equitable future

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We’ve expanded our reach in Ontario! (Because we’ve learnt a thing or two about distance.)

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communitytrust.com

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ISSUE 15.11

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2020 WOMEN OF INFLUENCE SPECIAL REPORT

Get to know 71 female leaders who are putting in the work to create a more welcoming mortgage industry

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Blake Cassidy or Pierre Leonard | 800 494 0389 | www.romspen.com

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ISSUE 15.11

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UPFRONT 04 Editorial

Is there such a thing as too much homeownership?

06 Statistics

Can homebuyers – and the housing market – weather another surge in coronavirus cases? UPFRONT

08 UPFRONT

ALTERNATIVE LENDING UPDATE Certain groups of consumers are heading toward insolvency in worryingly high numbers

12

NEWS ANALYSIS

18 Opinion

Five steps every new agent or broker must take for a successful career

FEATURES 44 Pivoting the private lending industry

A tech partnership is giving brokers new options amid pandemic restrictions and tighter lending guidelines

PEOPLE

DLC is on its way to becoming a publicly traded company. How will this change things for the network and its brokers?

48 Other life

Hitting the trail with dirt biker and network executive Dustan Woodhouse PEOPLE

INDUSTRY ICON

Grant Armstrong has built a name for himself in alternative lending – and now he’s helping Community Trust get its name out to brokers

14 2

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UPFRONT

TECHNOLOGY UPDATE

A closer look at Properly’s ‘buy now, sell later’ proposition

46 PEOPLE

RAISING HER VOICE

How Matrix Mortgage Global COO Laura Martin is using her platform to push for greater gender and racial diversity in the industry

MORTGAGEBROKERNEWS.CA CHECK IT OUT ONLINE


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UPFRONT

EDITORIAL

Homeownership key to brokers

H

ousing activity has been unexpectedly brisk over the past three months – and whenever home prices in Canada start heating up, there’s usually a voice saying that now is the time to rethink the necessity of homeownership. This time around, CMHC CEO Evan Siddall told lenders, “Homeownership is like blood pressure. You can have too much of it,” while the Financial Post’s Barbara Shecter warned readers about the “dark side” of “Canadians’ addiction to housing.” Are there risks involved when a nation’s economy is being buoyed by billions of dollars in mortgages? Absolutely. But why are Canadians so eager to take on that debt and commit to a single location, a single investment, for the better part of their lives? And why do mortgage brokers work themselves ragged trying to get these deals across the finish line? It’s not because of an “addiction” to housing. And it’s not, in most cases, because of the pride associated with being a homeowner. It’s because many Canadians see in property one of the few ways they can significantly increase their net worth, build a retirement plan or create generational wealth. These are the goals that provide the foundation for home sales and the market for mortgages. They shouldn’t be marginalized, no matter what condition the market is in.

Canadians see in property one of the few ways they can significantly increase their net worth, build a retirement plan or create generational wealth Mortgage professionals have a front-row seat from which to witness the life-changing impact homeownership can have on a family. They know how hard most homeowners work to ensure their payments are made on time. They also know that the Canadian housing market, largely due to the shrewd work of the nation’s underwriters and lenders, remains stable. The greatest threat to that stability is speculation, not a desire among consumers to secure a safe future for their families. The risks of too much homeownership should always be weighed against the risks of less homeownership: fewer Canadians building retirement plans, generational wealth or equity to leverage into future purchases. Demand may be out of control, but we should be wary of diminishing the importance of homeownership or talking about it as if it’s bad for the country. When we do, we run the risk of dissuading responsible people from entering the housing market and becoming brokers’ new clients. If they step away, who will take their place? The team at Canadian Mortgage Professional

www.mortgagebrokernews.ca ISSUE 15.11 EDITORIAL Editor Clayton Jarvis

SALES & MARKETING Vice-President, Sales John Mackenzie

Writers Ephraim Vecina Kasi Johnston Mallory Hendry

National Account Manager Corey Bahadur

Copy Editor Clare Alexander

Global Head of Communications Adrijana Monevska

CONTRIBUTORS Matthew Ablakan

ART & PRODUCTION Designer Joenel Salvador Production Coordinator Kim Kandravy Client Success Coordinator Cole Dizon

Sales Executive Alan Stewart

Project Coordinator Jessica Duce

CORPORATE President & CEO Tim Duce Office/Traffic Manager Marni Parker Events and Conference Manager Chris Davis Chief Information Officer Colin Chan Human Resources Manager Julia Bookallil Global CEO Mike Shipley Global COO George Walmsley

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Canadian Mortgage Professional is part of an international family of B2B publications, websites and events for the real estate and mortgage industries MORTGAGE PROFESSIONAL AUSTRALIA rebecca.pike@keymedia.com T +61 2 8437 4787

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Copyright is reserved throughout. No part of this publication can be reproduced in whole or part without the express permission of the editor. Contributions are invited, but copies of work should be kept, as the magazine can accept no responsibility for loss

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TAKE YOUR MARKETING TO THE NEXT LEVEL… At CENTUM we create online lead generating campaigns for our entire network, free of charge. From social media graphics, pre-written captions, scheduling guides, web pages and data capturing forms, our marketing team guides you through every step of the way. It’s no surprise we’re known as the digital innovators in the industry!

thecentumnetwork@centum.ca | thecentumnetwork.ca ®/™ trademarks owned by Centum Financial Group Inc. (C) 2020 Centum Financial Group Inc. The intent of this communication is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to be a solicitation to anyone under contract with another mortgage brokerage operation.

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UPFRONT

STATISTICS

Here we go again

CONSUMER CONFIDENCE SLIPS With COVID-19 on the rise again and provincial economies forced to backtrack on their reopening strategies, confidence among Canadian consumers eroded in several regions in October, largely driven by fresh fears of rising unemployment. Nationwide, the Conference Board of Canada’s consumer confidence index saw a decrease of 9.5 points between September and October – the largest monthly drop since April.

As the number of COVID-19 cases spikes, optimism among potential buyers seems to be in short supply COLD WEATHER wasn’t the only thing to return to Canada in October. An alarming rise in COVID-19 cases across the country has many Canadians once again wondering what the next few months will mean for their livelihoods, work-life situations – and, for recent homebuyers, their investments. The housing market has yet to be knocked off its record-shattering course – sales were up

9.0%

Unemployment rate in Canada in September

46% year-over-year in September – but that golden goose is laying its eggs in a rickety nest. Consumer confidence is dropping, population growth is at record low levels, and most firsttime home buyers expect to need financial assistance from their families to purchase property. Canadians seem ready for a second tussle with the coronavirus – only time will tell if the country’s housing market is, too.

25,384

Increase in Canada’s population in the second quarter (a record low)

0.83%

Estimated equity Toronto condo buyers have built since April

Canada

121 80 74

$293,000 Average deferred mortgage amount in Canada as of October

Sources: Statistics Canada, CREA/Better Dwelling, RBC Capital Markets

AN UPHILL BATTLE

TAX INEQUITIES THREATEN BUSINESS STABILITY

According to BMO’s recent poll of first-time homebuyers, few have been preapproved for a mortgage – and more than half say they’ll need family help to get into the housing market.

The discrepancy between commercial and residential tax rates in major markets could limit businesses’ ability to weather the COVID-19 pandemic, Altus Group warned in a recent report. In several cities – most notably Montreal, Toronto, Halifax and Quebec City – the commercialresidential tax ratio is well above Altus’ recommended 2:1 ratio.

19%

of prospective buyers are already preapproved for a mortgage

11%

COMMERCIAL AND RESIDENTIAL TAX RATES (PER $1,000 OF ASSESSED PROPERTY VALUE)

56%

of first-time buyers say they’ll rely on family for financial assistance

expect to receive $100,000 or more in financial assistance from family

Commercial tax rate

Vancouver Calgary Source: BMO/Pollara Strategic Insights Housing Survey

6

Residential tax rate

$40 $35 $30 $25 $20 $15 $10 $5 $0 Edmonton Saskatoon

Regina

Winnipeg

Toronto

Ottawa

Montreal Quebec City

Halifax

Source: Canadian Property Tax Rate Benchmark Report, Altus Group

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CANADIAN CONSUMER CONFIDENCE INDEX February 2020

June 2020

October 2020

BC 139 91 97

Quebec 168 114 95

Alberta 63 51 40

Manitoba/ Saskatchewan 94 62 65

Atlantic provinces 164 89 118

Ontario 108 68 65

Source: Conference Board of Canada

HOME EQUITY BORROWING COOLS

AREAS OF CONCERN

The balance of loans secured by home equity barely budged in Canada in August, according to a recent Better Dwelling report. Total debt secured by home equity rose only 0.58% year-over-year, while personal home equity debt fell by 0.34%.

Industry players rated job and income growth and the pandemic as the most pressing issues facing the real estate sector in a recent PwC Canada survey; interest rates ranked relatively low.

TOTAL LOANS SECURED WITH RESIDENTIAL REAL ESTATE

PERSONAL LOANS SECURED WITH RESIDENTIAL REAL ESTATE

$400bn

$400bn

$300bn

$300bn

$200bn

$200bn

$100bn

$100bn

MOST IMPORTANT ISSUES FACING THE REAL ESTATE SECTOR Job and income growth 4.49 Pandemic 4.42 Land costs 4.07 Construction labour cost 4.05 Housing costs/availability 4.02 Global economic growth 3.98

$0

$290.99 billion

$303.41 billion

$305.17 billion

August 2018

August 2019

August 2020

$0

$262.06 billion

$270.07 billion

$269.15 billion

August 2018

August 2019

August 2020 Source: Better Dwelling

Construction material costs 3.90 Interest rates and cost of capital 3.68 LEAST IMPORTANT

MOST IMPORTANT Source: Emerging Trends in Real Estate, PwC Canada

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UPFRONT

NEWS ANALYSIS

DLC meets the TSX Following its acquisition by longtime investor Founders Advantage Capital, DLC will be hitting the TSX Venture Exchange in January as a publicly traded company

A QUIET announcement last month could result in one of Canada’s mortgage giants embarking on another growth spurt. On October 5, Founders Advantage Capital announced that it had signed an acquisition agreement that will, once approved, result in it acquiring 100% of Dominion Lending Centres. Once DLC is fully acquired on December 31, 2020, Founders and DLC will amalgamate and rechristen the new corporation Dominion Lending Centres Inc.; after signoff from the TSX Venture Exchange, the new DLC Inc. will begin trading under a new stock symbol that will replace Founders’ currently listed FCF. The relationship between Founders and DLC dates back to 2015, when Founders purchased

Centres, we thought that we would be recognized over time for running a really, really great company.” In 2016, the two parties began discussing ways for DLC’s brand and management team to do more of the heavy lifting in terms of whetting investor appetites and guiding the company’s decisions. Four years later, Mauris and fellow DLC co-founder Chris Kayat are inches away from the driver’s seat of a publicly traded company. “DLC has always been our crown jewel,” says Founders president and CEO James Bell. “We feel that this is going to make a much more compelling public market story going forward.” While Founders is the company doing the

“DLC has always been our crown jewel. We feel that this is going to make a much more compelling public market story” James Bell, Founders Advantage Capital 60% of the broker network. The two companies then watched as Founders’ stock languished on the market, despite DLC’s runaway success. “We didn’t think, because DLC was doing so well, that we were being recognized for the good work that we were doing,” says DLC CEO Gary Mauris. “If we got in control of it and made the public company Dominion Lending

8

acquiring – DLC cost the firm 26.8 million preferred shares – it will be DLC’s head honchos calling the shots. “We did this transaction because we want to be the ones steering the board and setting the direction for the company,” Mauris says. Considering DLC’s and Founders’ divergent track records over the past five years, Bell

wouldn’t have it any other way. “It was our respect for Gary and Chris that really led to this deal and us pushing to advance it with them, believing in what they can do as public company operators and believing in the DLC brand,” he says. Once December 31 rolls around and the two companies are amalgamated, the first change will be a restructuring of the corporation’s board. Mauris will become the new corporation’s CEO and executive chairman, while Kayat will become its executive vicechairman. Further changes to DLC’s senior management are also planned. Mauris doesn’t expect day-to-day operations for the network’s 6,000 brokers to be impacted at first, but he says the deal could allow the company to acquire new technology that will help make brokerages more efficient and more profitable. He hopes DLC’s agents and owners view the acquisition as “a positive signal that we now have the capacity and ability to continue to build, create and develop this already incredible network that we have.”

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DLC’S GREATEST HITS

2006

Dominion Lending Centres is launched by Gary Mauris and Chris Kayat

2013

Acquires Mortgage Centre Canada

2015

Acquires Mortgage Architects

2016

Founders Advantage Capital acquires a 60% interest in DLC

2016

DLC acquires Newton Connectivity Systems

2019 One change Mauris foresees in the immediate future is a bolstering of DLC’s profile, which should have the added benefit of generating momentum with investors, both outside the company and within. “Obviously, with a public vehicle, you get much more visibility; you get more brand

scrutiny the company will be operating under as a publicly traded entity. “Canadian public companies are required to post their financial data online,” he says. “I feel it will give our network of agents clearer transparency into just how healthy their financial parent is.”

“If brokers or lenders believe in what we’re doing, it’s a way for them to make an investment and be a part of it” Gary Mauris, DLC awareness,” he says. “If brokers or lenders or people in the Canadian finance space believe in what we’re doing, like the leadership team and like the prognosis for long-term low interest rates, it’s a way for them to make an investment and be a part of it.” Bell says the deal will also benefit DLC employees because of the intensified financial

DLC’s acquisition and rebirth as Canada’s only publicly traded mortgage network could be game-changing – but only if investors hop on board. Mauris has little doubt that they will. “I think, as investors, people are very secure in Canadian real estate,” he says. “The mortgage industry in Canada has some of the lowest defaults in the world, and it has

Exceeds $40 billion in annual funded mortgage volume

2020

Merges with Founders Advantage Capital proven, year in and year out for decades, to be a very stable investment.” Mauris is also confident that some of the company’s more innovative aspects – like Velocity, its highly touted deal submission platform – will catch the interest of investors aware of the growing role such digital tools are playing in increasing customer satisfaction and retention. “Velocity is a huge part of our future,” he says. “It is probably the most vital asset we’ve purchased since day one.” Investing in a broker network like DLC, as opposed to one of the Big Six banks, also means investors won’t need to worry about exposure to a potential spike in delinquent loans that could be just around the corner. “It’s a very comfortable space for people to play in,” Mauris says.

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UPFRONT

ALTERNATIVE LENDING UPDATE NEWS BRIEFS BoC keeps interest rates frozen at record lows

In late October, the Bank of Canada reiterated its intention to keep its benchmark interest rate at record lows for the foreseeable future. Despite Canada having entered what the central bank called a “recuperation phase” from the COVID-19 crisis, the BoC predicts a mere 1% annual growth rate this quarter and expects that GDP won’t return to pre-pandemic levels for at least two years. A recent survey of economists by Finder revealed that 47% believe the BoC’s target rate could remain at its current 0.25% level until 2023.

HomeEquity Bank awarded for veterans campaign

Reverse mortgage provider HomeEquity Bank has netted several awards for its Pause to Remember online campaign, which supports the Royal Canadian Legion’s Digital Poppy. HomeEquity Bank’s campaign took home silver and bronze awards at the creative industry’s The One Show, along with two gold awards from Strategy magazine and a top prize at the New York Festivals AME Awards. “We’re so proud to have been a part of this campaign, and we’re excited to build on its success,” said HomeEquity EVP Yvonne Ziomecki.

Private lender makes list of Canada’s fastestgrowing firms

For the second year in a row, private lender Canadian Mortgages Inc. (CMI) has been named to Maclean’s and Canadian Business’ list of the fastestgrowing companies across the country. CMI came in at number 110 on the 2020 Growth List, up from its 130th-place finish in 2019. “This achievement is a

strong testament to the determination of our team, as well as our commitment to continue to grow and lead the private lending space through innovation, cutting-edge product offerings, and superior service for mortgage brokers, investment advisors and investors,” said CMI COO Bryan Jaskolka.

Canadian mortgage debt to GDP ratio reaches new highs

The ratio of national mortgage debt to GDP soared to 84.28% in the second quarter of 2020, according to Statistics Canada. That’s up from 69.13% just a year ago and 59.02% a decade prior. Inflamed growth was already apparent even during the pre-pandemic months of 2020, which saw mortgage debt reach 72.64% of GDP. “This indicates a huge dependence on debt-driven growth, which has never historically ended well,” Better Dwelling said in its analysis of the data. “As debt loads get higher, more future spending is pulled forward. The higher these debt loads get, the more future growth is being used.”

Meridian Credit Union rolls out new hybrid mortgage

Meridian Credit Union has launched a hybrid mortgage product designed to shorten the time it takes first-time buyers to get into the market. The product consists of both a conventional mortgage and an interest-only hybrid loan. The total amount borrowed can be up to 80% of the purchase price, with 60% in the interest-only component. Carolyn Devic, Meridian’s director of product development, said the company hopes this product will allow it to compete with alternative lenders and MICs to win over young professionals whose student loan debts might exclude them from traditional financing.

Insolvency worries mount The disruption of COVID-19 has made it difficult for several groups of Canadians to keep up with debt obligations Canada is now a few quarters deep into a significant economic disruption, and certain segments of the population have sustained a considerable financial blow, according to MNP’s latest Consumer Debt Index. Among those hardest hit are lower-income earners, young Canadians, women and renters. “Over the course of the pandemic, Canadians have been encouraged to believe that ‘we are all in this together,’ but it has become clear that some groups are better equipped to weather the storm better than others,” said MNP president Grant Bazian. “This is an important distinction that may not be apparent on the surface but becomes very obvious in our research.” The next generation of prospective homebuyers has been the most financially affected by the COVID-19 outbreak, MNP said. Sixty-nine per cent of Gen Zers surveyed by MNP said they were $200 or less away from insolvency, and 39% were already past the brink. Meanwhile, 67% of respondents with annual incomes of less than $40,000 were within $200 of insolvency, and 38% are already insolvent. Among women, those figures were slightly lower (49% and 25%), but still worryingly high. Renters have also been hit particularly hard. Fifty-seven per cent of renters surveyed by MNP reported being close to insolvency, and 32% said they’re already there. Only 31% said they will be able to cover their living expenses for the next year. By contrast, just 36% of homeowners who responded to the survey said they were $200 or

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less away from insolvency, and only 18% reported being already insolvent. Owners were also more confident in their long-term prospects; 45% felt confident in their ability to cover their expenses for the next 12 months. Overall, 47% of Canadians surveyed by MNP said they were nearly insolvent as of midOctober, while 26% said they already were.

“Unemployment and income inequality are intensifying the debt challenges that were already present before the pandemic” “Unemployment and income inequality are intensifying the debt challenges that were already present before the pandemic,” Bazian said. “The income loss as a direct result of the pandemic limits more Canadians from being able to pay off existing debts and thus puts them in severe financial distress.” While sentiment among Canadians indicates anxiety about meeting their debt obligations, it hasn’t yet translated to a jump in insolvency filings. In fact, according to the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy Canada, insolvency filings fell by 2.4% monthly and 42% annually in August, hitting their lowest level in 23 years. However, that figure was largely attributed to fiscal programs (including mortgage deferrals) offered to Canadians to help them weather the pandemic, many of which have since ended.

Q&A

Amit Anand Senior mortgage manager TRIBECCA FINANCE

Years in the industry 24+ Fast fact Anand held high-level positions at AGF Trust and HSBC Finance before joining Tribecca Finance more than a decade ago

Adaptation is critical How has Tribecca Finance been doing lately? Thankfully, we have been able to adapt to the changing circumstances due to COVID-19. Our team has stayed healthy, and we have been able to service our valued broker partners and customers without interruption. Business has been steady, and we continue to work closely with our broker partners by offering our regular mortgage products as well as customized mortgage solutions.

What impact did the pandemic have on your operations? When the pandemic began, our team worked remotely. Fortunately, we were well equipped to make this transition seamlessly, and our operations continued to run relatively uninterrupted. We have seen an increase in volume in second mortgages. For many people, tapping into the equity in their home is the easiest way to obtain the funds they require. We are receiving more applications for second mortgages for the purpose of consolidating debts and to pay off existing second mortgages.

How are those clients faring in this environment? At Tribecca Finance, we have and always will work collaboratively with our customers. Our second mortgage customers have been faring quite well. As an alternative lender, we offer flexibility, think outside the box and have a common-sense approach to lending. It is important to us that the client has the ability to service our mortgage payments, and this is reflected in our underwriting practices. We know that economic circumstances can change quickly, as we have seen during this pandemic. Experience in lending, being disciplined and adapting to change are important factors in maintaining consistency and success through shifting economic environments.

What does Tribecca Finance bring to the table that distinguishes it from the competition? We are an established and experienced alternative lender. This allows us to think outside the box and offer customized mortgage solutions. We have the ability to underwrite and fund quickly. If required, we can provide an approval within one hour and fund within 24 hours. We underwrite with a common-sense approach, and we look at each deal on its own merits. We also offer excellent service and build long-term relationships with our broker partners.

As the year draws to a close, what should your clients and partners look out for? It is important for our broker partners and customers to know that we are here for them. We have been lending for over 20 years and have navigated through market downturns and economic changes in the past. We know that in challenging times, brokers turn more to lenders they trust, and our broker partners can count on us to continue being a leader in the alternative lending space.

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UPFRONT

TECHNOLOGY UPDATE

Can ‘buy now, sell later’ really work? Tech startup Properly allows owners to buy a new home without selling first – is it too good to be true?

bered. Once a new home is found and closed upon, the existing property is listed on the market. If it doesn’t sell within 90 days, Properly purchases it from the seller. Properly’s cut is 5% on the sale, which includes costs related to repairs, staging, cleaning and photography, along with any costs associated with whatever bridge financing a seller might need. Properly’s AVM, Ruparell says, takes into account “dozens and dozens of factors” and is, on average, “about 99% accurate.” Still,

“We can help [clients] get into that new home, even if they haven’t activated the selling process yet”

Real estate technology company Properly recently secured $100 million in financing from two US finance firms after the successful launch of its ‘buy now, sell later’ program. According to Properly CEO Anshul Ruparell, the initial popularity of the program signals an “opportunity to effect some real change within the Canadian real estate industry.” Properly is essentially a ‘guaranteed sale’ platform aimed at helping current homeowners purchase new properties without needing to stress about selling their current

NEWS BRIEFS

ones. As Ruparell explains, the process begins when a homeowner approaches Properly, which, using proprietary automated valuation models (AVMs), provides a “back-up offer” – the price Properly agrees to pay the seller if the property doesn’t sell on the market in 90 days. The seller can then take Properly’s offer to their lender, who Ruparell says “would treat it like cash” and extend the financing needed to buy their next home. With the sale ‘guaranteed,’ sellers can then move on with the purchase process unencum-

Filogix acquires cloud-based provider Doorr

Filogix has purchased Doorr, a provider of point-of-sale mortgage application software for brokers. Filogix said it hopes the acquisition will allow it to provide a better, more streamlined customer experience through digital signatures and self-service interaction. Brokers will also see reduced paperwork thanks to increased digitization, along with enhanced lead generation and CRM functionality, while lenders will benefit from improved access to mortgage volume from new and emerging channels.

AVMs aren’t a hit with all mortgage brokers. “I don’t agree with them, although they do make my job easier,” says iSask Mortgages’ Chris Kolinski, noting that AVMs can lack the insight to compare similar homes with minor but significant differences. “A house is only worth what someone is willing to pay.” While brokers might also be skeptical of any service that could further diminish the role of flesh-and-bone professionals, Ruparell sees it as one more tool they can use to help their clients get what they want. “It can be a pretty valuable service to inform their customers about,” he says, “because we can help them get into that new home even if they haven’t actually activated the selling process yet.”

Mortgauge launches rate comparison platform

Ontario-based Mortgauge Brokerage has launched a platform that allows users to compare rates from A, B and private lenders. “The platform algorithm runs over 1,000 mortgage offers from across 20-plus lenders instantly,” the company said. “Users can compare rates while receiving insight to lock in the best mortgage rate without ever meeting with a broker or going to the bank.” Users can also monitor their real estate portfolios post-purchase and receive alerts on property value changes and renewal or refinance opportunities.

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Q&A

Siobhan Byron SVP of technologyenabled managed services FINASTRA

Years in the tech industry 25+ Fast fact Prior to joining Finastra in 2019, Byron was instrumental in the growth of several top Canadian tech companies

Enabling business continuity during COVID-19 How has Filogix been doing so far this year? We’ve been doing great. We managed to maintain the safety of our employees throughout the pandemic, and we continued to support our brokers, lenders and consumers. Given the challenging year that everybody has had so far, keeping our employees safe and ensuring the continuity of business were key factors to our success. Amid COVID-19, what role has Filogix played in brokers’ operations? It’s being able to support them with business continuity. Very early on, we pivoted to a work-fromhome setup where possible. We’ve been monitoring the updates from the World Health Organization and the global response to the pandemic from January onwards, and that’s why we were very well equipped to make that pivot. We continued to provide support through our call centres and other technology resources, engaging and assisting brokers throughout the pandemic, whether they were at office or – more likely – working at home. What were the most significant problems your tools solved? Working from home poses different challenges for different people – some have young kids, some have older kids, some have no kids. Our tools provided the understanding that everybody is going through different challenges, but with the same underlying environment – the pandemic – and making sure that

Lendesk acquires Finmo mortgage origination platform

Lendesk has acquired mortgage origination platform Finmo. In the coming months, Finmo’s technology will be integrated into Lendesk’s platform, allowing brokers to use the suite of products to complete the entire mortgage process securely and digitally. The combined system will allow brokers to share personalized Finmo application links with clients, use the Lendesk’s Lender Spotlight to search and qualify specific products, digitally collect documents, and submit applications directly to hundreds of lenders.

we treat people not only with respect, but also with empathy and accommodations as needed. Our tools allowed us to be there for our clients and be the source of continuity that they needed – not only providing support, but also helping them navigate this environment. Our tools enabled us to connect and feel connected, being able to respond and adapt to the changes throughout the pandemic, and making sure that we recognize that for both our team and our customers. What advice would you give to those brokers who are still trying to maximize their use of platforms like Filogix? I invite them to take a look at what the tool can offer you and provide input. We rely on brokers to gauge what they would like from the marketplace, and from our platform, so that we can provide a more seamless experience. With your latest acquisition, what are you most looking forward to in your Canadian operations? I’m thrilled about the acquisition, as it really allows us to make a strategic move. It allows us to combine the Doorr solution with the leading solution that we have in Canada and continue to build our marketplace. This is a strategic investment to deliver nextgeneration solutions, and that’s what we’ve focused on: How do we improve the borrowing experience for consumers, brokers and lenders? I believe that this acquisition will help us deliver on that promise.

TD Bank files copyright suit against US startup

TD Bank’s US subsidiary has filed a civil suit in a New Jersey court, alleging that San Francisco-based startup Plaid aped TD’s colour scheme, official logos and other identifying information on its financial services user interface to deceive customers into providing sensitive personal data. Plaid told the Canadian Press that it has made its role in transactions clear to consumers and that it did not mislead them in any way, adding that “we have been working with TD for quite some time and are disappointed that they resorted to litigation.”

Data points to a trend toward early renewals

Early mortgage renewals have steadily become more common this year, according to user traffic analysis from online brokerage nesto. This was most apparent in August, which saw a significant uptick in the volume of renewal requests made more than four months before maturity. “Before the pandemic, most users were sticking with their current lenders for close term renewals, while during and after lockdown … they were more willing to shop around before the end of their term,” nesto said.

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PEOPLE

INDUSTRY ICON

OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS Throughout his career, Grant Armstrong has excelled at helping companies take the next step in their development. As Community Trust’s director of national sales, he’s working to bring the company to national prominence WHEN GRANT ARMSTRONG graduated from Toronto’s Humber College in 2000, the plan wasn’t to head straight for a bank job. Armstrong toyed with the idea of becoming a cop, following his mother into television production or even staying on at Humber and running for student council president. But when one of his counsellors told him that Scotiabank was sniffing around the school in search of fresh talent, accepting a position as a small business banker with a respected financial institution seemed like the mature thing to do. “I was like, ‘OK, why not?’” Armstrong recalls. That nonchalance quickly gave way to a sincere interest in the work. Armstrong’s natural love of math meant the number-crunching was more pleasure than punishment, but it was seeing the effect his efforts could have on clients – like the manufacturing company that was able to hire 100 employees and triple its business revenue after working with Armstrong – that confirmed he was on the right track. “I really enjoyed working with people and helping them meet their biggest needs,” he says. While at Scotia, Armstrong was faced with a choice common to young bankers: investments or mortgages. As someone who gravitated toward the tangibility of debt-service and LTV ratios, the choice was an easy one. The mortgage space, Armstrong says, “was

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something I could sink my teeth into. With investments, you’re kind of guessing the future. With mortgages, you’re dealing with what’s right in front of you, and you can see the immediate impact of helping a client with mortgage financing.” Over the next five years, Armstrong took on

“Listen to what people are offering you, have conversations, but don’t be afraid to ask the people where you are today about learning more,” he says. “If you’ve exhausted everything within your own organization and a new opportunity comes around that excites you and challenges you, take it and go.”

“With investments, you’re kind of guessing the future. With mortgages, you’re dealing with what’s right in front of you, and you can see the immediate impact of helping a client with mortgage financing” a variety of positions at GE Mortgage Insurance (now Genworth), National Bank, Xceed Mortgage and MCAP. Young mortgage professionals might balk at chasing so many different opportunities, especially over such a short time period. Armstrong, however, saw each new job as an opportunity to learn something new. His advice for young professionals who are approached with a potential new opportunity is to take stock, both of their current situation and what the new position could mean for their career.

It was just such an opportunity that brought Armstrong to his professional sweet spot: alternative lending.

Exceptional outcomes In 2006, Armstrong joined RBC as an alternate mortgage solutions specialist. He had gotten his feet wet working in the alternative space with Xceed and MCAP Subprime (now Eclipse), but because RBC’s alternative mortgage department was still in its infancy at the time, Armstrong would be doing more than flexing

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PROFILE Name: Grant Armstrong Title: Director, national sales Company: Community Trust Based in: Orangeville, Ontario Years in the industry: 20

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PEOPLE

INDUSTRY ICON

his mortgage muscles. He would be responsible for helping the department grow. And grow it did. When Armstrong first joined the team, annual sales were around $250 million. When he left the company in 2017, they had ballooned to nearly $1.5 billion. It was a high-stakes, high-volume environment in which no two days were the same. One day, a mechanic lacking traditional income verification would need funds to open a garage. The next, the CEO of a tech company would come in, asking for assistance to buy a rental property. The day after that, Armstrong would be in meetings focused on increasing sales. “You were brokering deals. You were fulfilling deals. You were out there drumming up business,” he says. “You were a BDM trying to get

There was even enough equity in the home for the father to start his own business. “Fifteen years later, they’re still in that house, and they’re still succeeding,” Armstrong says. “That’s when it really sunk in for me. I loved being a commissioned employee, but I loved helping clients even more. And that’s where I really measured my success: how many people were thankful for what I could do.”

The next big thing In January 2020, after a three-year stint at CIBC where he rose to the level of national director, Armstrong took on the role of director of national sales for Community Trust. He saw in the freshly created position another chance to build something from the ground up.

“I loved being a commissioned employee, but I loved helping clients even more. And that’s where I really measured my success: how many people were thankful for what I could do” the internal referral sources at Royal Bank to refer more business over.” By around 2009, Armstrong was closing more than 400 deals a year. But it was one of his first that still occupies a special place in his memory. A recently laid-off client terrified of losing his home was referred to Armstrong after breaking down in tears at an RBC branch. Losing the home, the man explained, wasn’t the primary issue – it was that his two autistic sons had only recently walked themselves to school for the first time. Moving them to a new home or neighbourhood after years of establishing valuable patterns and familiarity with their surroundings threatened to set their development back by years. By refinancing the house, Armstrong freed the family from the power of sale they were facing and accessed enough money for them to cover their mortgage payments for two years.

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SERVING MORE THAN CLIENTS When Grant Armstrong isn’t with his family or driving business for Community Trust, he can often be found making an impact on Canada’s youth through his long-running involvement with the Royal Canadian Army Cadets. Armstrong, a commissioned officer in the Canadian Forces since 2003, has accompanied his young charges to Europe and to Washington, DC, where they trained with the Marines. “I’ve had some amazing experiences,” he says.

“I saw an organization that was driven to succeed and driven to grow,” he says of his early meetings with Community Trust, when the company was simply asking for his input on what the role should involve. “Everything they said they wanted to do has come to fruition.” Community Trust has, like many lenders, had an off-the-charts year in terms of sales. But Armstrong says there’s much more to do. The company’s immediate goals include increasing awareness within the broker channel, improving service through innovations like automated valuations, and providing training seminars to brokers that will help them do their jobs more efficiently. “We want to add value to the brokers,” Armstrong says, “so when they think of why they’re being successful, hopefully they’ll remember that Community Trust was part of that pattern.”

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UPFRONT

OPINION

GOT AN OPINION THAT COUNTS? Email mortgagebrokernews@kmimedia.ca

On the come-up There are five things new agents and brokers should do if they want to make their mark on the industry, writes Matthew Ablakan THE WORLD of mortgage brokering can be both exciting and rewarding. While most agents and brokers start their careers on their own, it’s important to realize that you’re still operating a business. Regardless of whether you have your own brick-and-mortar office, you still meet with clients, collect necessary information, market, prospect, filter through leads and provide a service. All of this can become overwhelming, especially when working alone. Here are five tips that I recommend every up-and-coming agent or broker implement for the good of their career.

1

Develop the right relationships

We’ve all heard about the importance of developing strong relationships. But what you’ll find in this business is the constant solicitation of your time and attention by lenders, title search companies, lawyers, tech companies – the list goes on and on. What I recommend, and what we do at Millennial’s Choice, is to cancel out all of the noise. We only subscribe to relevant emails and only take meetings or phone calls that are valuable to us and our clients. In addition, having solid relationships with reputable lenders is always important. Go above and beyond with your lenders by inviting them to special lunches, dinners or planned activities.

2

Focus on quality deals

I know the excitement of having a client ready to work with you, but it’s important to focus on quality deals that are more likely to close, rather than just taking on any new

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deal that has the potential to fall apart. It’s also imperative that up-and-coming agents do all they can to make sure they’re submitting quality deals to lenders, which is key to building credibility and strengthening relationships with them. One of the ways we do this is by asking the client for all of the relevant documents upfront that we know the lender will eventually want to see. The idea is to get a full picture of the story so we can ensure maximum

what you want to be known for and work toward becoming the best at that.

4

Network

5

Commit to your personal and professional development

People are always looking to connect with like-minded individuals. Pre-COVID-19, we had many opportunities to network at in-person events like seminars and awards galas. I’m sure that time will come again. In the meantime, invest in attending online events for the mortgage industry to network with other professionals, business owners, potential clients and potential referral sources. You don’t have to invest your money to attend these events, although that’s not always a bad idea. Attend relevant events, develop a unique elevator pitch and be ready to expand your network.

First you learn, then you earn – but never think you know everything. Rules and consumer trends are constantly changing; lenders alter their guidelines and products all the time. Information is readily available online for

“It’s important to focus on quality deals that are more likely to close, rather than just taking on any new deal that has the potential to fall apart” success. We inform the client that we may be asking for more than we need, but we do so to ensure there are no surprises.

3

Stand above the crowd

We know there are many agents, brokers, brokerages and, of course, banks and credit unions that clients can simply walk into. Additionally, social media feeds are constantly flooded with advertising and solicitations about mortgage services, the best rates, etc. What are you going to do to stand above the crowd? Provide more services or a better quality of service? We went the one-stop shop route and decided to offer real estate, mortgage and insurance services under one roof. It’s not the route for everyone, but it works for us. Decide

clients, so it’s important to stay ahead of the curve and learn as much as you can so you can be the expert when a client comes to you with a question they can’t answer. As a part of our team training, we focus not only on mortgages and sales training, we also tackle personal development. We read books and listen to audio programs together. We share our thoughts on ideas we find helpful. Try to surround yourself with like-minded people and groups that share the same ideas about personal development. Matthew Ablakan is the founder and owner of the Millennial’s Choice Group of Companies and is constantly on the lookout for creative ways to shape the real estate, mortgage and insurance industries.

www.mortgagebrokernews.ca

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2020-02-20 9:19 03/11/2020 2:55:54 am AM


SPECIAL REPORT

WOMEN WOMENOF OFINFLUENCE INFLUENCE

2020 WOMEN OF INFLUENCE WOMEN OF INFLUENCE INDEX NAME

COMPANY

Ameera Ameerullah

Canada Mortgage & Financial Group

Debbie Belair

Smart Debt Mortgages – Mortgage Intelligence

Kate Brady

Dominion Lending Centres

Anne Brill

Centum Metrocapp Wealth Solutions

PAGE 34 30 22 40

NAME

COMPANY

PAGE

Christa DeversWilliams

TMG Ontario

37

Shannon Dolphin

Dolphin Enterprises

26

Claire Drage

The Windrose Group – Mortgage Alliance

36

Ann Marie Drohan

East Coast Mortgage Brokers

40

Catherine Ellis

Mortgages by Catherine – Xeva Mortgage

26

Suzanne Fleur de Lys-Aujla

Equitable Bank

36

Kimberlee Freeman

New Haven Mortgage Corporation

30

Cindy Freiman

Creative Soul Communications

42

Shirl Funk

Shirl Funk Mortgages – The Mortgage Centre

40

Samantha Gale

CMBA-BC

30

Karen Gibbard

Gibbard Group Financial

22

Sabeena Bubber

Xeva Mortgage

32

Christine Buemann

The Collective Mortgage Group

22

Angela Calla

The Angela Calla Mortgage Team

24

Nikki Carew

East Coast Mortgage Brokers

34

Gita Cartwright

RPS Real Property Solutions

38

Barbara Cook

The Mortgage Centre

25

Sherry Cooper

Dominion Lending Centres

35

Carmen Costa

TCG Lending Centres – Axiom Mortgage Solutions

38

Marci Deane

Ask Marci About Mortgages – Mortgage Architects

26

Marg Green

Concierge Mortgage Group – Mortgage Intelligence

41

Ebani deBussac

TMG The Mortgage Group

22

Rachelle Gregory

Paradigm Quest

34

20

NAME

COMPANY

Mary Gronkowski

Dominion Lending Centres

PAGE 36

Sue Hameed

Platinum Mortgages Ottawa

27

Meaghan Hastings

The Mortgage Coach

31

Shannon Hillman

BlueShore Pacifica Alternative Mortgage Centre

42

Frances Hinojosa

Tribe Financial Group

32

Luisa Hough

Xeva Mortgage

23

Yousra Jomha

Western Mortgage Services

34

Kim Kukulowicz

Equitable Bank

24

Veronica Love

TMG The Mortgage Group

35

Pin Luk

VERICO Canada

25

Shawna MacDonald

The Mortgage Associates

35

Katy Mackenzie

TMG The Mortgage Group

25

Amanda Magee

Stewart Title

32

Laura Martin

Matrix Mortgage Global

29

Lee-Ann McEllister

MCAP Service Corporation

36

Melanie McLister

intelliMortgage

23

Debbie McPherson

Sagen

28

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METHODOLOGY To whittle hundreds of nominations down to this year’s final Women of Influence list, CMP relied on the help of an independent judging panel composed of industry leaders and former Women of Influence recipients, including:

Meet 71 women who continue to break down barriers in the mortgage industry

• Sabeena Bubber, Xeva Mortgage • Reza Ghazi, Greenflow Financial

THE HUNDREDS of nominations CMP receives each year for our annual Women of Influence list makes it clear that there is no shortage of impressive women in the mortgage world – accomplished professionals who dedicate their time, experience and considerable skill to their careers, colleagues and communities. This year’s group of 71 Women of Influence includes top-producing brokers and brokerage owners, network executives and award-winning BDMs, all of whom are working to ensure that the Canadian mortgage industry is a more welcoming and equitable place for the women who come after them. Almost without exception, all of the women on this year’s list said the relationships they’ve built over their careers are the highlight of being in the industry. On this list, as in life, they’re in good company.

NAME

COMPANY

PAGE

Christa Mitchell

CLC Network

28

Barb Morgan

Invis Mortgage Intelligence

42

Donna Mullen

Mortgage Architects

38

Leanne Myles

Centum Home Lenders – Clinton Wilkins Mortgage Team

28

Paula Needler

SafeBridge Financial Group

Kelly Neuber

• Veronica Love, TMG The Mortgage Group • Laura Martin, Matrix Mortgage Global • Caroline Rapson, CENTUM Financial Group • Troy Resvick, Resvick & Associates Mortgage Advisors To compile the final list, CMP considered the advisory panel’s recommendations, as well as external nominations. The panelists confirmed the final list based on all qualifying candidates’ industry achievements and service to the mortgage profession. To avoid conflicts of interest, self-voting and voting for relatives was prohibited.

COMPANY

Cara Shulman

Mortgage Professionals Canada

38

Mortgage broker

Eden Simari

Quantus Mortgage Solutions

33

The Collective Mortgage Group

Debbie Thomas

TMG The Mortgage Group

43

Susan Thomas

Invis Mortgage Intelligence

30

28

Krista Valadao

Home Trust Company

33

Invis Mortgage Intelligence

32

Lisa Valade

Mortgage Architects

43

Hali Noble

Fisgard Asset Management Corporation

41

Tracy Valko

Valko Financial

24

Pam Pikkert

Regional Mortgage Group

39

Sharon VanderDuim

43

Ann Pope

Premiere Mortgage Centre

23

VanderDuim Mortgage Team – Neighbourhood Dominion Lending Centres

Trish Pritchard

The Collective Mortgage Group

21

Enza Venuto

InTouch Mortgage Solutions

25

Caroline Rapson

CENTUM Financial Group

41

Doreen Walsh

Dominion Lending Centres

43

Grace Reynolds

Northwood Mortgage – My Mortgage Master Team

24

Deb White

DLC White House Mortgages

40

Kyra Wong

Manulife

26

Christianne Saab

Mortgage Alliance Commercial and Multi-Prêts Commercial

35

mint mortgage

23

Christine Xu

Moneybroker Canada/ Ready Capital Mortgage Investment Trust

42

Sarah Schiess

PAGE

TRISH PRITCHARD

NAME

What Trish Pritchard enjoys most about the mortgage industry is the work-life balance it offers – over her 16-year career, she’s grown her business at a pace that works for her family. Maintaining an industry average in the early years provided her time to spend with her son, running fundraising for his school, attending field trips and numerous sporting events, and working non-traditional hours. “As those obligations became more manageable, I was able to more than double my business,” Pritchard says. “I love that I can maintain so much flexibility as I continue to achieve new goals.” Over the years, Pritchard has integrated many technological advances into her business to enhance her clients’ mortgage experience, which helps her “provide a higher level of customer care that cannot be replaced by technology,” she says.

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SPECIAL REPORT

WOMEN OF INFLUENCE EBANI DEBUSSAC Mortgage professional TMG The Mortgage Group

After 17 years in the business, Ebani deBussac has some advice for new mortgage professionals: “Believe in yourself, persevere, be tenacious and start over as many times as you need to until you’ve found your launch pad.” Finding her home at TMG in 2018, deBussac did just that, prioritizing genuine human connection and an unwavering dedication to her clients. She was recently nominated as Planet S magazine’s Best Mortgage Broker in Saskatoon and is a member of the TMG Summit 20 for 2020, ranking among the top 20% of TMG mortgage agents nationwide. A proud hockey mom, deBussac also volunteers her time playing the guitar and singing at local charity events.

KATE BRADY Vice-president, marketing Dominion Lending Centres

In just under three years at the helm of marketing at DLC, Kate Brady has redefined the role. Recently appointed to VP of marketing, she is the youngest executive on the team. Brady joined the mortgage industry shortly after graduating from university, spending four years at FCT before moving across the country to work for DLC. Brady is driven by the pursuit of excellence, with an intuitive ability to think outside the box. She is passionate about networking and oversees the strategic planning and execution of all DLC Group events. “Collaboration and communication are the keys to success,” she says. “Don’t stop evolving and don’t be afraid to take risks.” Brady sits on numerous planning committees and has appeared as a panelist at virtual events throughout 2020. “For me, it’s the relationships I have built within the industry,” she says. “The mortgage space is unique, and I value the connections I have made throughout the years.”

KAREN GIBBARD President Gibbard Group Financial

Throughout her 30-year career, Karen Gibbard has racked up many sales achievement awards and was named Mortgage Broker of the Year (Fewer than 25 Employees) at the 2012 Canadian Mortgage Awards. In 2017, she received the MBABC Pioneer Award for Lifetime Achievement, and she’s also the only woman to be inducted into the Billion Dollar Club. For the past several years, Gibbard and her team have been named Favourite Mortgage Broker in the North Shore News Readers’ Choice Awards. Gibbard is also a soughtafter panelist, speaker and trainer within the industry. “I still get enjoyment out of the same thing I did 30 years ago – helping people get into that dream home or helping them get out of a financial disaster by using the equity in their home,” Gibbard says. “I know it’s basic, but that still fuels me after all of these years.”

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CHRISTINE BUEMANN Mortgage broker and co-owner The Collective Mortgage Group

Christine Buemann has been a mortgage broker for more than 10 years in the small community of Prince George in Northern BC, and she recently started her own brokerage, The Collective Mortgage Group. She says the industry is rapidly evolving, putting more emphasis on the value of relationships and quality over quantity. “Transparency, authenticity, empathy and humility are emerging as key factors for success,” she says. “My hope is that we will continue holding ourselves to a higher standard and celebrating those who lead with kindness and respect.” Buemann is a member of MPC’s BC chapter, sits on RFA’s broker advisory board and is currently in her second term as a director for the Northern BC Real Estate Board. Always looking to get involved, she’s also a member of 100 Heroes, 100 Brokers Who Care and KARES, as well as several local initiatives.

www.mortgagebrokernews.ca

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ANN POPE

LUISA HOUGH

Mortgage agent

Mortgage professional

Premiere Mortgage Centre

Xeva Mortgage

Ann Pope is a veteran mortgage agent with more than 20 years of experience helping her clients make wise home-buying and financing decisions. Passionate about mentoring, Pope helps fellow agents reach their potential by sharing tips and tricks she has learned throughout her career. “Enter everyone you know into your database and stay in touch,” she advises. “True story: Eight clients in the summer of 2016 all thought I did their mortgage because I kept in regular contact. I helped all these people refinance or buy up!” A high-producing agent, Pope was recognized as WIMI of the Year for Ontario in 2017 by Women in the Mortgage Industry. When she’s not taking care of business, Pope nurtures foster dogs back to health and devotes her time to causes such as Women Build with Habitat for Humanity GTA and Meaghan’s Walk, which raises funds for brain tumour research in children.

Prior to joining the mortgage industry in the early 2000s, Luisa Hough worked for a real estate law firm, which gave her valuable insight that she uses to her clients’ advantage to this day. Hough has been a finalist for Broker of the Year at the Canadian Mortgage Awards five times, taking home the honour in 2016. She has also been recognized multiple times on CMP’s Top 75 Brokers and Women of Influence lists. “I most enjoy watching my clients get into their dream homes and meet their financial goals,” she says. “My focus with my clients is on the longevity. I’m truly there for the life of their mortgage.” In addition to her work as a broker, Hough speaks at numerous industry functions and seminars, holds mastermind sessions to pass on her expertise, and gives back to her community through donations to the children’s hospital, local food banks, 100 Brokers Who Care and other charitable organizations.

MELANIE MCLISTER

SARAH SCHIESS

Co-founder and principal broker

Mortgage broker & happiness builder

intelliMortgage

At the outset of Melanie McLister’s career in 2006, when a client asked about the best rate, the answer was simple. Today, any broker is hard-pressed to answer that without asking a series of questions. “I would have never imagined underwriting would get so complex,” McLister says. McLister has co-founded several mortgage platforms, including Myvirtualmortgagebroker.com, Canadian Mortgage Trends, intelliMortgage and RateSpy. She has won Best Internet Presence at the Canadian Mortgage Awards in 2010, 2012 and 2013 and won the West Coast Top Investor Award in 2012. McLister says there is constant demand to evolve and change, and while the pandemic has caused some setbacks this year, “a strong team support and collaboration kept us in growth mode, despite the odds. When you think you’ve heard it all, something will hit your desk, and you realize this business will keep you on your toes.”

mint mortgage

Sarah Schiess always had a desire for a career that would allow her to tap into her personal passions and create experiences that spread joy to others, which the mortgage industry provides through “the people I’ve met and the thrill of sharing the ‘new home’ feeling with our clients and friends,” she says. Schiess recognized that her ability to connect with others’ emotions could be nurtured into a superpower that could lead to both personal growth and professional achievement. Over the past five years, she’s received several awards, including National Broker of the Year for Number of Mortgages by an Individual Broker from TMG in 2019, as well as National Innovator of the Year (2018) and National Broker of the Year (2017) from Mortgage Professionals Canada. She’s also been named to the TMG Summit 5 for being in the top 5% TMG mortgage brokers nationally every year.

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SPECIAL REPORT

WOMEN OF INFLUENCE KIM KUKULOWICZ

GRACE REYNOLDS

Senior vice-president, residential sales

Mortgage agent

Equitable Bank

Kim Kukulowicz’s advice to newcomers to the mortgage industry? “Don’t base anything on a textbook – real-world experience is key.” As the longest-standing employee at Equitable Bank, Kukulowicz knows what she’s talking about. During her three decades at Equitable Bank, Kukulowicz has developed comprehensive knowledge of sales management, underwriting and mortgage administration, combined with a disciplined approach to risk management and deal negotiations. Since 2010, she has overseen the national sales team for Equitable Bank’s single-family residential division. In November 2017, Kukulowicz spearheaded stnce, a new initiative to promote financial confidence for women. With the support of an internal committee of enthusiastic ambassadors, she brought together a group of knowledgeable financial experts and advisors to share personal finance stories and inspire others to take financial ownership.

TRACY VALKO Founder, broker and owner Valko Financial

Tracy Valko has served her clients and community for 25 years, using her mortgage business as a vehicle for greater overall good. Currently in the third year of her first term as an Ontario director for MPC and her second year as executive secretary, Valko is seeking re-election to continue making a difference. Her advice for industry newcomers: “Be ready to work hard and dedicate the majority of your time to adding value to everyone you meet.” Passionate about advocating for homeownership and fair mortgage policies, Valko has been part of multiple roundtable discussions with local MP and MPP representatives, as well as leaders within her community. She was named Broker of the Year at the Mortgage Awards of Excellence in 2017, and she has consistently been in the top 1% of DLC brokers nationally since 2015.

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Northwood Mortgage – My Mortgage Master Team

Although Grace Reynolds had no previous experience when she began her mortgage career, her “dogged need to take care of [her] clients” paid off. Within 15 months, Reynolds had been named Canada’s Best Newcomer Agent at the 2018 Mortgage Awards of Excellence, was a finalist for Best Newcomer – Individual Agent/ Broker at the 2018 Canadian Mortgage Awards and had been named to CMP’s Young Guns list. She followed that with the Peterborough Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Award for 4 Under 40 last year. “Every file is so different, and I enjoy strategizing, gathering the puzzle pieces and seeing how it all comes together for the client,” Reynolds says, adding that tenacity, patience and organization have been the keys to her success. Outside of the mortgage industry, Reynolds has served as president of the Women’s Business Network of Peterborough and the Peterborough Kawarthas chapter of Business Network International. She is also finance chair of The Mombassadors.

ANGELA CALLA Mortgage expert and author The Angela Calla Mortgage Team

A 16-year industry veteran, Angela Calla leads by example. “I can’t imagine a better career,” she says. “I get to marry my passion for real estate and investment while guiding Canadians through market changes and helping them save thousands.” Calla is known as a mortgage expert on TV and radio, is the author of The Mortgage Code, and is a go-to source for media outlets across the country. In August, at the age of 37, she surpassed $1 billion in personal funded mortgage volume. “In life and in business, you have two choices: to lead or to follow,” she says. “I have always felt it was my responsibility to take control of what I can and give people the tools and confidence to succeed and let go of what we can’t.”

www.mortgagebrokernews.ca

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ENZA VENUTO Owner/principal broker InTouch Mortgage Solutions

After 45 years in the mortgage industry, Enza Venuto firmly believes in educating her clients, her team and her referral sources. Her advice to newcomers to the industry is the same: learn all you can and never stop learning. “Educate yourself on all the lenders you choose to work with,” she says, “and be an educator, not a follower; be an advisor, not an order-taker.” Taking her own advice, Venuto’s biggest accomplishment so far this year has been helping clients in need during the COVID-19 pandemic, advising them and finding solutions to help them stay positive. “Each client is unique, and I love helping them achieve their dreams,” she says. “Difficult situations are what I enjoy doing the most – clients who need that extra care. I enjoy working with the lenders that understand our stories and are able to help our clients.”

KATY MACKENZIE Mortgage professional TMG The Mortgage Group

Katy Mackenzie began her career 21 years ago in Scotiabank’s exception lending department, where she learned how to present difficult mortgages to secure approvals and the benefit of strong lender partnerships. What she enjoys most is being able to offer advice, not just a product, by “educating clients on how a real estate transaction impacts all pillars of their financial plan,” she says. “I get to be pivotal in helping clients achieve their financial goals.” Mackenzie joined TMG The Mortgage Group in 2015 and was soon awarded Rookie of the Year and Team Player. Most recently, she became a member of TMG’s Summit 20, placing in the top 20% of TMG brokers nationally. Outside of the industry, Mackenzie volunteers on Canuck Place Hospice’s End of Life Team.

PIN LUK Vice-president of operations and marketing communications VERICO Canada

Pin Luk leads VERICO Canada’s internal team and delivers support to more than 200 brokerages. Her responsibilities include operations, technology, marketing communications, corporate initiatives and conference management. Luk has extensive experience supporting large networks and individual businesses, having previously worked at Century 21 Canada, PwC and Accenture. At VERICO, some of her more memorable accomplishments include the organization’s win of three Canadian Mortgage Awards and two Mortgage Awards of Excellence for Network of the Year, along with surprising a little girl with the trip of a lifetime through the VERICO Helping Hands program and creating unforgettable experiences for VERICO members at conferences and gala dinners. “I will take this opportunity to highlight the contributions of VERICO’s internal team – Brian, Kevin, Robert, Naomi and Josh,” Luk says. “Their daily commitment to excellence is instrumental to our success.”

BARBARA COOK Vice-president, franchise development The Mortgage Centre

The winner of the Woman of Distinction Award at the 2020 Canadian Mortgage Awards and a three-time member of CMP’s Women of Influence list, Barbara Cook is no stranger to holding an influential role within the industry. “The one thing I enjoy and love about this industry are the people and their passion for the work they do,” she says. Cook knows the mortgage business can be extremely rewarding, and she says she’s been pleased to see many women within the industry step into executive roles over the past five years. “The change I hope to see moving forward is women within our industry be provided the encouragement and investment to step into high-visibility and mission-critical roles while closing the wage gap,” she says.

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SPECIAL REPORT

WOMEN OF INFLUENCE SHANNON DOLPHIN CEO Dolphin Enterprises

Shannon Dolphin started in the mortgage industry in 2000 alongside her father, Dan, who customized mortgage software systems for large lending institutions. After Dolphin successfully spearheaded a marketing campaign showing the potential of a software platform geared specifically toward private lenders, MIC Manager was born. When her father passed away suddenly in 2006, Dolphin faced the daunting task of carrying on his legacy. Her dedication grew the company from four clients to hundreds, managing more than $16 billion of capital. “This is not an industry for the faint of heart,” she says. “Success can only come from digging deep, especially when you are challenged.” For Dolphin, the best part of the industry is how full it is of entrepreneurship and driven personalities. “The job requires dedication and hard work while maintaining integrity and being true to yourself, your products and – of course – to your clients.”

KYRA WONG District vice-president Manulife

A 25-year industry veteran, Kyra Wong is well known for her bold leadership style and long track record of success in developing Manulife’s network relationships and business advancement across Canada for the DLC Group of Companies. “I love the fast pace of the industry and the incredible people I’ve had the chance to meet along the way,” Wong says. “I find that there’s an abundance of support, collaboration and connection to be had, and I’ve grown both personally and professionally as a result.” In addition to her work at Manulife, Wong is a bestselling author, keynote speaker and the creator of The Magical Unicorn Project, a non-profit initiative that promotes a vision for the future based on equality and greater humanity. “I have seen an increase in female mortgage brokers entering the scene since I first began in this industry,” she says. “What I hope to see in the future is an expansion of women and minorities in the top leadership positions in the corporate world as well.”

CATHERINE ELLIS CEO and mortgage professional Mortgages by Catherine – Xeva Mortgage

Catherine Ellis’ passion, attention to detail and hard work have led to her success in the mortgage industry. Ellis finds innovative ways to connect with her industry partners, clients and community, with a strong focus on personal growth and development. A three-time member of CMP’s Women of Influence list, Ellis was also named a Rising Star by CMP in 2020 and became a member of MPC’s BC chapter. She has been awarded Best Team Player and Best Overall Growth by Xeva Mortgage, where she is a top producer for both volume and units. She also made Verico’s Presidents Club in 2019 and was named WIMI of the Year for British Columbia in 2018. In addition to her involvement in MPC and WIMI, Ellis is a member of MBABC and 100 Brokers Who Care. She also provides financial literacy initiatives to youth, senior centres and first-time homeowners; volunteers with Junior Achievement BC; and, along with her puppy, Tawny, provides pet therapy as a BARK volunteer.

MARCI DEANE Mortgage broker Ask Marci About Mortgages – Mortgage Architects

Marci Deane has worked in the financial world for 25 years, but it wasn’t until she became a broker in 2007 that she found her true calling. “This industry is truly about making a difference to families, which is amazing and something that I feel very grateful to be a part of,” she says. “We have the ability to impact people in a very powerful way, which is both unique and awesome!” Deane joined Mortgage Architects in 2013 and has been a President’s Club gold member for the past three years. She has held a number of volunteer board positions over the years and is currently involved with CMBA-BC and 100 Brokers Who Care.

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SUE HAMEED Mortgage broker Platinum Mortgages Ottawa

The relationships and the challenges are what Sue Hameed enjoys most about the mortgage industry. She says she values the connections with clients, her team and lending partners and thrives in an environment “where my mind and creativity are consistently pushed to new levels.” Among the top 1% of Mortgage Alliance brokers, Hameed provides mortgage solutions for every type of situation. She prides herself on operating with honesty and integrity, and she measures success by helping as many individuals achieve homeownership as possible. Throughout her career, Hameed has seen continuous changes, including the recent shift to a more virtual process. The key, she says, is to adapt and move forward. “In the future, I hope to see more changes on the technology end, where lenders and networks adopt even higher levels of technology and automation that can allow us to do more business efficiently,” she says.

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SPECIAL REPORT

WOMEN OF INFLUENCE CHRISTA MITCHELL Managing partner CLC Network

LEANNE MYLES Senior mortgage advisor Centum Home Lenders – Clinton Wilkins Mortgage Team

Leanne Myles has a passion for helping individuals overcome credit challenges to build a brighter future. “Being able to help someone who has had life events and move them forward when their bank wouldn’t really drives my passion for helping people,” she says. Since 2018, Myles has been working at Centum Home Lenders in Halifax, where she is ranked in the top five brokers. In just over two and a half years, she has tripled her volume to $40 million. Understanding how personal hardships can unexpectedly occur, Myles is also passionate about ensuring her clients are protected with MPP insurance and was ranked number two in Canada for her sales efforts. In her spare time, Myles mentors and empowers women financially, raises funds for NET cancer, and volunteers for her local junior B hockey team.

Christa Mitchell entered the mortgage industry by accident more than 15 years ago with a passion for technology and affecting change. She progressed from receptionist at Mortgage Alliance to national sales manager for MortgageBOSS, where she helped revolutionize technology within the broker channel. She then became VP of sales, service and user experience, growing the business considerably in three short years and earning a promotion to VP of operations. In her current role as managing partner at CLC Network, Mitchell has launched an independent payroll system, rolled out a broker recognition program, navigated the COVID-19 pandemic and worked to take the company fully independent. “We need to continue to support each other and help women become who they want to be so that in the near future, there will be no more women leaders – just leaders,” she says.

DEBBIE MCPHERSON Senior vice-president, sales and marketing Sagen

With more than 30 years of experience, Debbie McPherson’s goal from day one has been to create an environment of excellence, leadership and collaboration, and her team is constantly looking for ways to add value. “I feel extremely fortunate to have had the opportunity to discover, mentor and help so many talented individuals in their careers – that is the ultimate legacy,” McPherson says. “I hope I have inspired and will continue to inspire women to take on more senior roles and achieve the success they deserve as our industry evolves to greater levels of gender parity.” McPherson plays an active role in many industry organizations, including MPC and the Canadian Real Estate Association. She was inducted into the Canadian Mortgage Hall of Fame in 2018 and CMP’s Hall of Fame in 2019. Outside of the mortgage industry, McPherson is an active volunteer for the United Way and Habitat for Humanity Canada.

PAULA NEEDLER Director of operations and compliance SafeBridge Financial Group

From coaching new agents to helping teams grow their business, Paula Needler’s 21-year career in the mortgage industry has been varied and rewarding. She has supported more than 400 mortgage agents, helping to mold and define the onboarding experience for new team members. Working alongside the partners at SafeBridge, she ensures best practices and processes are in place to allow team members to focus on building their mortgage practice. Beyond her responsibilities at SafeBridge, Needler teaches a mortgage agent course to newcomers through MPC. She also attends MPC broker course panels to share her experience with brokers looking to start their own firms.

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03/11/2020 4:14:34 am


LAURA MARTIN Broker and chief operating officer Matrix Mortgage Global

A multi-award-winning broker and COO at Matrix Mortgage Global, Laura Martin has a vision for a more inclusive and dynamic way of doing business and communicating in the 21st century. With information at consumers’ fingertips, “brokers need to step up their game in terms of providing valuable education to their clients and delivering on service in a way that banks and automated mortgage solutions cannot,” she says. “Do what humans do best – build relationships and connections – and let technology do the rest!” Martin is a published thought leader and has been ranked among Canada’s Top 100 Professionals. Her insights on real estate finance, workplace equality, branding and leadership have earned her spots on conference panels and in a variety of publications. She is also the co-host of the Broker’s Playbook podcast and serves as secretary and a director of CMBA Ontario.

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SPECIAL REPORT

WOMEN OF INFLUENCE SUSAN THOMAS Regional manager Invis Mortgage Intelligence

Thirty-four years in retail banking, financial planning/ wealth management and lending have taught Susan Thomas that teamwork is essential to creating and executing a winning strategy. She has been the top recruiter at Invis Mortgage Intelligence since she started at the firm in 2018, and her team is the largest and most profitable in the company. Continuing education has also been vital to Thomas’ success, and she is currently undertaking a course at the Rotman School of Management. She has been a member of MPC’s Ontario chapter and Professional Standards Committee and has represented the industry at a Queen’s Park Advocacy Day. Outside of the mortgage industry, Thomas is a 20-year volunteer with the Canadian Cancer Society and an active member of Women in Capital Markets. “The people I have met, the experiences I have had and the lifelong friends I have made would make me recommend this industry to anyone,” she says.

Director of business development and planning New Haven Mortgage Corporation

Kimberlee Freeman says her 23 years in the mortgage industry have been an incredible journey of rising to challenges and growth. She’s particularly proud of the 13 years she’s spent in her current role as New Haven Mortgage Corporation’s director of business development and planning, as well as the past three years with CMBA, where she’s been able to influence the future of education for the industry. With a passion for sharing best practices and seeing others grow and achieve their goals, Freeman regularly creates lead-generation seminars and training for new agents to help them succeed. “While some new agents are enthusiastic and come out of the gates running, many have stepped outside their comfort zone to grow in their careers,” she says. “I truly love the mortgage business and will always continue to support this great industry as I myself continue to grow and learn.”

SAMANTHA GALE

DEBBIE BELAIR

CEO

Broker of record

CMBA-BC

Smart Debt Mortgages – Mortgage Intelligence

As the head of CMBA-BC, with former regulators, lawyers and privacy officers rounding out her staff, Samantha Gale knows the benefits of joining your local mortgage broker association – and she encourages newcomers to do just that. “It provides new mortgage brokers with a multitude of opportunities to learn the ropes through networking, courses and seminars,” she says. “CMBA-BC provides an invaluable and unique practice support program to members for a modest membership fee.” In addition to her current role, Gale serves as an executive director of CMBA-BC’s umbrella organization, CMBA. She provides practice support to members and lobbies government and regulators on behalf of the industry. Gale obtained her law degree from UBC in 1991 and practiced real estate law prior to a 15-year stint at FICOM. She currently attends Osgoode Hall Law School part-time in pursuit of her master of laws with a specialization in financial regulation.

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KIMBERLEE FREEMAN

“There are so many accomplished women in this industry who have done far more than I could even imagine doing – actually, there are a hell of a lot more men, too!” jokes Debbie Belair, adding that her biggest accomplishment is that her three kids have all worked alongside her. Although many in the industry rave about technology, Belair says she sometimes wishes it could be “like the old days,” where you photocopied mortgage packages, booked lunch with a lender and enjoyed the company. “Don’t get me wrong – technology is awesome, but it depersonalizes the business,” she says, noting that approvals now show up by courier before the end of the day. “We need to remember there are humans behind it, and I hope today’s generation doesn’t miss the chance to form those great relationships that span a lifetime over your career.”

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MEAGHAN HASTINGS Founder and principal broker The Mortgage Coach

When Meaghan Hastings founded her brokerage at the beginning of 2019, she did so with a mission to improve upon the traditional mortgage agent experience. “Having already held a number of different roles within the mortgage brokerage industry, I knew that as good as it is now, it could be even better,” she says. “So I set out to create it.” Hastings’ agents get constant support, including an initial 12 weeks of training, followed by inclusion into a lead-generation mastermind. They are also given access to Alfred, a CRM system that enables them to manage every relationship within the mortgage process. Less than two years since it was founded, The Mortgage Coach has grown by more than 1,000%. Hastings was the silver winner of Broker of the Year (25 Employees or More) at the 2020 Canadian Mortgage Awards, where The Mortgage Coach was the gold winner of New Brokerage of the Year. The brokerage’s success is testament to Hastings’ vision – and, she adds, “I’ve only just begun.”

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SPECIAL REPORT

WOMEN OF INFLUENCE FRANCES HINOJOSA Principal broker/managing partner Tribe Financial Group

When Frances Hinojosa started her career 25 years ago, women in positions of power were rare in the mortgage industry. “I have seen firsthand the continuous advancement of woman as both leaders and entrepreneurs,” Hinojosa says. “I have experienced the positive change that happens when women come together to support, guide and empower each other, and it’s up to each of us to continue that momentum for greater change, progression and equality for all.” Hinojosa has a passion for mentoring; in addition to offering guidance to agents within her firm, she also arranges coaching sessions with professionals in the industry. A dedicated member of both MPC and CMBA, Hinojosa has also been a member of the advisory boards at Teranet, Home Trust, Community Trust and 100 Brokers Who Care.

SABEENA BUBBER Mortgage broker Xeva Mortgage

During her 27 years in the mortgage business, Sabeena Bubber has found that what she likes best is the “sharing and caring” group of professionals who make up the industry. “Most industries are fiercely competitive,” she says, “but we support each other, encourage growth and celebrate each other’s successes.” Bubber has been recognized several times among CMP’s Top 75 Brokers and is the co-founder of 100 Brokers Who Care, which aims to raise $40,000 annually for Canadian charities. Her work with that organization led her to win the award for Excellence in Philanthropy and Community Service at the 2019 Canadian Mortgage Awards, as well as the 2019 Inspiration Award from Women in the Mortgage Industry.

AMANDA MAGEE Director, business development – Western Canada Stewart Title

In more than 15 years in title insurance, Amanda Magee has learned that anything worth achieving requires hard work and knowledge. In 2004, she joined Stewart Title, where she’s responsible for both the operational and marketing portfolios for Western Canada. Over the years, she says she’s seen the types and structures of real estate deals change. “Companies like Stewart Title have had to evolve, coming up with new and creative ways to solve problems and introducing innovative coverages or tech applications to support clients,” Magee says. “Presently, I’m thrilled to see fintech and proptech startups finding new and exciting ways to address current market constraints and am constantly impressed by the resiliency of our partners and stakeholders.” A licensed professional with the Insurance Council of BC, Magee is a member of the Canadian Risk Management Association, the Insurance Institute of Canada and the Mortgage Investment Association of BC, where she served as president for three consecutive terms.

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KELLY NEUBER Vice-president, marketing Invis Mortgage Intelligence

Kelly Neuber moved into the broker channel in 2001, joining Mortgage Intelligence at an exciting time. In 2006, she was part of the management team that started Mortgage Architects; in 2011, she returned to Mortgage Intelligence, which had become Invis Mortgage Intelligence. One of Neuber’s proudest accomplish­ ments is the icare program, a full customer contact program for brokers to use with clients after closing. She is also proud to have helped so many brokers with their personal branding, allowing them to stand out in their markets. “What I love the most about this industry is that every broker is different – it makes my job developing marketing programs so interesting and challenging,” Neuber says. “I also love that the stepping stone to long-term financial health starts with a mortgage broker, which makes helping them become successful very rewarding.”

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03/11/2020 2:57:20 am


EDEN SIMARI

KRISTA VALADAO

Mortgage broker

Business development manager

Quantus Mortgage Solutions

Home Trust Company

After 18 years in the industry, Eden Simari has amassed extensive experience in mortgage underwriting, risk management, business development and customer service. Licensed in both Alberta and British Columbia, she prides herself on finding strategic financial solutions and developing lifelong relationships with her valued clients. Simari is a valued member of the Calgary entrepreneurial scene. She has been featured on multiple financial podcasts, speaks regularly at small business forums and is a staunch advocate for women in business. She is also a passionate community and non-profit advocate, serving on the board of directors for Community Key, an Alberta non-profit that helps families financially while they care for critical or terminally ill children. She also volunteers regularly at the Alberta Children’s Hospital, Ronald McDonald House and the Terry Fox Foundation.

Krista Valadao joined the call centre at Home Trust in 2011 after graduating from the University of Guelph. She quickly progressed into more senior roles, assuming her current position in 2018. From mortgage underwriting to sales, Valadao’s front-line experience and deep understanding of mortgage lending bring a diverse skill set to the sales team. She says she enjoys the relationships she’s built and the access she has to learning, whether through industry events, webinars or the expertise of the professionals around her. “You may be having a bad day, feel drained and want to give up, but looking at the big picture will help you realize that everyone feels the same way at different times,” Valadao says. “There will be good days, and as long as you are passionate about what you do, the big picture will look a whole lot better than the one you are painting of the bad day you are having today.”

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SPECIAL REPORT

WOMEN OF INFLUENCE NIKKI CAREW Mortgage advisor East Coast Mortgage Brokers

RACHELLE GREGORY Executive vice-president, homeowner experience Paradigm Quest

Rachelle Gregory believes you get out of the mortgage industry what you put in. “I love what a small community it is,” she says. “No matter what role I’ve been in, the opportunity for mentorship has helped me excel. Everyone’s end goal is to help more Canadians own a home – and that’s something you can feel proud of when you put your head on your pillow at night.” One of the founding employees of Paradigm Quest and MERIX Financial, Gregory found her passion in the sales division and was instrumental in launching the inside sales team at MERIX in 2008. She went on to lead the Eastern credit centre and, in 2016, was promoted to VP of servicing. In 2018, Gregory returned to MERIX as SVP of originations, leading the national sales team for MERIX and Lendwise before taking on her current role at Paradigm Quest earlier this year.

Nikki Carew was well on her way to having an incredible year as a broker in 2019 before being diagnosed with breast cancer that spring. She still managed to write $21.6 million in volume across 82 mortgages during a very difficult economic cycle in Newfoundland. This summer, she returned to work with $8 million booked, a pipeline of business built up and, most importantly, her health. Prior to her illness, Carew was active in the community with Brokering Wishes through the Make-A-Wish Foundation, the Newfoundland Regatta, Ronald McDonald House and other charities. She plans to raise money again, especially for causes related to cancer. During chemo, she started Rocks for a Cause with her mother. “Although I was not a painter, my mom certainly discovered her passion,” Carew says. “We now sell the rocks, and all money goes to families going through the struggles of a cancer diagnosis to help with their financial strain.”

YOUSRA JOMHA Mortgage broker and owner Western Mortgage Services

Twenty-two years of hard work as a broker have taught Yousra Jomha that nothing remains the same – except the necessity of taking the time to help others. “Helping new Canadians, supporting single parents, teaching high school students about credit and saving money are all things that I am passionate about,” she says, “in order to help each one of them plan for their tomorrow.” In 2013, Jomha’s local community of High River, Alberta, was hit with a massive flood that took lives, paused lending, and destroyed homes, belongings and confidence. Through it all, Jomha never gave up on High River as a safe place to invest, and when lenders agreed to return, “I felt an incredible sense of accomplishment,” she says. The president of EQ Bank thanked her, noting that “it is by being such a consistent advocate for your community that you make it better for everyone and, by extension, our whole society.”

AMEERA AMEERULLAH CEO/broker/lender Canada Mortgage & Financial Group

Ameera Ameerullah is an award-winning mortgage broker, entrepreneur and social service worker. She immigrated to Canada in 1999 and made a name for herself in the mortgage industry before founding Canada Mortgage & Financial Group. She says it’s less of an uphill battle these days, as there’s been “a big shift in gender balance – more men are supportive of women in leadership, and our voices are being heard.” Ameerullah maintains balance in her life by spending time with family and volunteering. She serves as a strategic planner and advisor for the Ontario College for Development Training, creating opportunities for those deprived of education due to financial setbacks or other responsibilities. “Today, many children are paying high tuition fees; then, after graduating from college or university, they struggle to find a job,” Ameerullah says, “whereas in the mortgage industry, anyone can easily get in and pave their path.”

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VERONICA LOVE Senior vice-president of corporate development TMG The Mortgage Group

Veronica Love is thrilled that the mortgage industry is becoming more transparent. “There is more sharing between brokerages and agents than ever before,” she says, noting that platforms like industry Facebook communities have facilitated this collaboration. “Education is becoming key, and all industry partners are offering it. Collectively, the industry is stronger when we educate the newest agents.” Love writes regularly for Women in the Mortgage Industry and was recognized as WIMI of the Year in 2017. This is her fourth appearance on CMP’s Women of Influence list, and she is also a three-time member of CMP’s Hot List. In 2019, she received the Outstanding Representative Award from CMBA Ontario and the inaugural Woman of Distinction Award at the Canadian Mortgage Awards. She was also named to the 2019 Mortgage Global 100 list, produced by CMP and its sister publications in the US, Australia and New Zealand.

SHAWNA MACDONALD Principal broker and owner The Mortgage Associates

Shawna MacDonald got an unconventional start in the broker channel. In 2006, when she was nine months pregnant, she was released from one of the major banks – but she turned that setback into success and is now one of Canada’s top brokers. “Starting out can be an uphill climb,” she says. “Keys to my success are follow-up, communication and perseverance.” MacDonald regularly appears among CMP’s Top 75 Brokers, and this is her second time on the Women of Influence list. She was CAAMP’s inaugural Broker of the Year in 2014 and won the WIMI Inspiration Award in 2019. She is also heavily involved in her community. Through the years and all of the changes in the industry, MacDonald says it’s her clients who keep her going. “Whether it’s helping people make life more affordable, helping them purchase their first home or just knowing I am truly doing what’s best for the clients, it’s such a rewarding career,” she says.

SHERRY COOPER Chief economist Dominion Lending Centres

A sought-after speaker, writer and advisor, Dr. Sherry Cooper is regarded as one of the most influential women in Canada and is renowned for her ability to simplify and demystify the complex subjects of economics and finance. Before joining DLC, Cooper was chief economist and co-head of fixed income at Burns Fry and the first female director of a Bay Street investment firm. She joined BMO Financial Group in 1994 when it acquired Burns Fry, serving as EVP and chief economist. She holds an MA and PhD in economics from the University of Pittsburgh and an honorary doctor of laws degree from the University of Windsor. “This is a highly competitive industry where change is constant,” Cooper says. “That makes it exciting, but it requires that mortgage professionals continue to self-educate.”

CHRISTIANNE SAAB Vice-president, operations and business development Mortgage Alliance Commercial and Multi-Prêts Commercial

Christianne Saab says she loves what she does and is grateful to be able to help others. With more than 15 years of real estate experience, Saab chose to focus on commercial real estate financing six years ago; since then, she has been at the helm of the marketing and operations departments at Mortgage Alliance Commercial and Multi-Prêts Commercial. Though she admits it’s been challenging to stand out in this area, her dedication has allowed her to thrive while enjoying every aspect of the journey. Outside of work, Saab pursues her passion for volunteering by giving her time to homeless and family shelters and helping to organize fundraisers.

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SPECIAL REPORT

WOMEN OF INFLUENCE SUZANNE FLEUR DE LYS-AUJLA Regional business manager, British Columbia Equitable Bank

At Equitable Bank, Suzanne Fleur de Lys-Aujla has consistently excelled in her role thanks to her innate ability to build strong, supportive relationships, both in business and within her local community. In addition to her work at Equitable Bank, Fleur de Lys-Aujla is also the co-founder of Women in the Mortgage Industry. A two-time member of CMP’s Women of Influence list, she has received several industry awards over the years, including the 2017 Community Service Award from CMBA-BC and the 2018 Michael Ellenzweig Outstanding Service Award from MPC. She is currently vice-chair of the BC Lender’s Association and also served on the 2020 nomination committee for the Mortgage Awards of Excellence.

MARY GRONKOWSKI Vice-president of training and business development – Eastern Canada Dominion Lending Centres

LEE-ANN MCELLISTER Business development manager MCAP Service Corporation

Lee-Ann McEllister started her career in financial services 12 years ago as a bank teller and discovered that she had a gift for explaining complex ideas to help people understand their personal finances. She eventually took on various mortgage roles at Manulife Bank and found herself drawn to the broker channel. McEllister has received Manulife’s Sales Excellence National Leader Award and has been nominated three times for BDM of the Year at the Mortgage Awards of Excellence and the Canadian Mortgage Awards. She was also one of CMP’s Young Guns for 2019. She sits on the boards of CMBA-BC and the BC Lenders Group and is a longtime volunteer for Junior Achievement. “Inclusivity and diversity has slowly – and I mean very slowly – improved, but there is a lot of work to still be done,” McEllister says. “There is no final end to awareness and growth – it can always get better.”

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Over the last two decades, Mary Gronkowski’s command of brokering has made her one of the industry’s most recognizable names. In her current role, she’s responsible for the recruitment, training and education of DLC brokers. Gronkowski began her career at Genworth Financial Canada, where she was promoted four times in under six years and increased market share with monoline lenders from 5% to 50%. From 2004 to 2013, she served as a regional manager with Invis, managing its largest region with a volume of more than $1.3 billion. She was named the company’s top recruiter for four consecutive years and also launched the first Invis/MI Professional Development Day in Toronto, which later became a mandatory event in major cities across Canada. In addition to her daily responsibilities, Gronkowski volunteers with Habitat for Humanity, Breakfast for Learning, Angels in the Night and DLC’s Bikes for Kids campaign.

CLAIRE DRAGE CEO The Windrose Group – Mortgage Alliance

Claire Drage describes herself as “a mortgage broker for people who feel it’s like going to the dentist – you don’t want to have to do it, but you need it!” An active member of the mortgage and real estate industries for more than 30 years, Drage has experienced all sides of the mortgage process is well versed in the nuances of the current lending environment. Her passions include training and mentorship, which are key pillars of the culture at The Windrose Group. “Truly be a specialist who advocates for your client’s financial success, whether that is planning their mortgage-burning party, debt elimination or being the banker plus more,” Drage advises newcomers to the industry. “The options are endless. Carve out a niche that resonates with you, but then nail it – really nail it!”

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CHRISTA DEVERS-WILLIAMS Mortgage broker TMG Ontario

Over the past 23 years, Christa Devers-Williams has become a trusted resource for countless borrowers. “Being in the industry gives me the ability to lend the expertise I have gained to help more Canadians navigate the murky waters, not only in good times, but also in bad – and on their schedule, not the banks’,” she says. Recently celebrating her 10-year anniversary with TMG Ontario, DeversWilliams was named a Rising Star in 2011 and reached Summit 5 status, putting her among the top 5% of TMG brokers across Canada, in 2017. She has been a member of TMG’s Summit 20 (in the top 20% of brokers across Canada) since 2012. Devers-Williams oversees a team of six agents and continues to increase her client base year after year by offering one-stop shop convenience, impartial advice, and solutions from more than 50 different financial institutions and lenders. She is a member of both CMBA and MPC and holds the Accredited Mortgage Professional designation.

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SPECIAL REPORT

WOMEN OF INFLUENCE CARA SHULMAN Vice-president, membership and events Mortgage Professionals Canada

Cara Shulman has been with Mortgage Professionals Canada (and its predecessor, CAAMP) for 13 years, managing a wide range of events, from smaller regional symposiums to a national conference for the mortgage industry. Prior to MPC, Shulman honed her event planning skills as an event lead at Cottage Life and the Greater Toronto Homebuilder Association (now known as BILD). Over the course of her career, Shulman says she’s enjoyed collaborating with fellow women in the mortgage industry and has seen the positive impact that a greater female presence can have. She was the recipient of the WIMI Ambassador Award in 2018. “I’ve been fortunate enough to be in this industry since 2007,” Shulman says. “I am always amazed at the speed with which our market evolves. Staying current is critically important in the creation of comprehensive, relevant education and programming for members’ events. I also really enjoy connecting with many of our 12,000 members right across the country.”

GITA CARTWRIGHT Senior manager, broker solutions RPS Real Property Solutions

Gita Cartwright started in retail banking right out of university, holding roles in personal banking, investments and customer service management. She then spent a little over a decade at Genworth Canada, managing a territory and conducting training. During her two years at RPS, she’s been dedicated to building brand awareness and growing the business within the broker channel nationally – a role she describes as both challenging and rewarding. “I have met some of the most entrepreneurial, creative, kind and passionate people over the last 25 years, who have all in some way helped me become the person I am today,” she says. A two-time member of CMP’s Women of Influence list, Cartwright says she’s honoured and privileged to be among such influential women in the mortgage industry. She advises industry newcomers to remember it’s a marathon, not a sprint. “You are your brand – represent yourself truly and authentically,” she says. “Be patient, be consistent and be diligent.”

DONNA MULLEN Mortgage broker Mortgage Architects

After more than 36 years in the financial services industry, Donna Mullen has learned that education is paramount. “There is no substitute for a good financial education, and yet it seems so hard to find one place that will help in all areas,” she says. “This does not need to be complicated.” In the mid-’90s, Mullen realized that the only financial options in her community were the major banks and household finance, which left a considerable gap. She sensed that as a broker, she could fill that gap, make an impact on her community and “bring Bay Street to the Georgian Triangle.” “It’s our mission to educate the customer, not sell them,” Mullen says. “We have helped many people make the best choices for themselves and their families – educated choices that benefit them both now and in the future.”

CARMEN COSTA Mortgage broker/owner TCG Lending Centres – Axiom Mortgage Solutions

Carmen Costa believes there is no greater satisfaction than seeing your name on the wall – and while it took her some time to get there, she feels she has finally arrived. “Starting my mortgage career with a three-month-old and no maternity leave proved to have its challenges, but I was determined and passionate about what I was doing,” she says. “I survived and successfully achieved my initial goal.” Costa then took it a step further and started to build her empire. Nine months pregnant with her second child, she started TCG Lending Centres. Today, she measures her success by the “team of rockstars” around her, in whom she’s instilled her knowledge, helping them develop into successful agents. “The early struggles, long days and even the tears have been worth it to get to this moment,” she says.

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PAM PIKKERT Mortgage broker Regional Mortgage Group

A broker for more than 11 years, Pam Pikkert is a member of both AMBA and MPC, and she attends as many industry events as possible – something she recommends to industry newcomers. “I have developed lifelong friendships with the most amazing people,” she says. “We face challenges with every file, and having a network of people you can call upon for help and support is invaluable.” Pikkert is serving her second term on the AMBA board, where she is currently the co-chair and will be the third woman in 44 years to serve as chair. “I’ve watched our industry begin its transformation from a Wolf of Wall Street mentality to a unified collective looking to increase professionalism and inclusivity – I cannot wait to see where we are in 10 years,” she says. “The calibre of women in this industry is truly astounding, and I am honoured to be featured alongside them.”

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SPECIAL REPORT

WOMEN OF INFLUENCE SHIRL FUNK Mortgage broker and owner Shirl Funk Mortgages – The Mortgage Centre

Shirl Funk started her mortgage career 11 years ago under the DLC umbrella. In 2017, she opened her own brokerage in Winnipeg as part of The Mortgage Centre. A firm believer in hard work and doing the best for her clients, she has a team of three mortgage agents, whom she constantly mentors. “Our work is diverse, satisfying, and no day is ever the same,” she says. Funk prides herself on adapting quickly to changing trends and markets. Going forward, she hopes to see stronger relationships between the big banks, credit unions and brokers. “Together, we could build a much more lucrative and stable future for our clients,” she says. In addition to running her brokerage, Funk is two years into a three-year term as Manitoba director for MPC. She also supports Winnipeg Harvest and volunteers with a local soup kitchen.

ANN MARIE DROHAN Mortgage broker East Coast Mortgage Brokers

Ann Marie Drohan began her career in the financial industry more than 25 years ago, entered the broker channel in 2012 and now wonders why she didn’t do it sooner. Having grown her portfolio to $20 million annually, Drohan was recognized as Broker of the Year within her brokerage last year. She says treating clients with the highest level of respect and offering the best service have been key to her success, adding that “word of mouth is the best advertising tool that is available.” The biggest change Drohan has witnessed during her time in the industry came just a few years ago with the introduction of the mortgage stress test. “The stress test has disqualified homeownership to so many creditworthy individuals,” she says. “I hope to see this streamlined in the near future.” When she’s not brokering mortgages, Drohan volunteers with Brokering Wishes and raises funds for several local charities.

DEB WHITE Owner/mortgage broker DLC White House Mortgages

Deb White is a veteran broker who wants newcomers to the industry to know they’ve picked an amazing career. “Don’t get discouraged and be prepared to learn,” she advises. “There are so many facets to mortgage brokering – be open-minded.” Outside of her brokerage, White is deeply involved in her community, spending hours volunteering her time and raising money for various charities and community programs. She has won several community service awards at both the provincial and national level. She is also an advocate for the broker industry and spent five years on the CMBA-BC board of directors.

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ANNE BRILL Principal broker Centum Metrocapp Wealth Solutions

Anne Brill has been in the financial industry since her 19th birthday. When she turned 30, she started her own company, doing mortgages “on the side,” but she soon found that she loved the mortgage world. “Helping people’s dreams materialize, especially when they didn’t even think homeownership was possible, or helping them keep their homes when you present options they were not aware of, is what I enjoy most,” Brill says. Ten years later, she opened her own brokerage, which she says was “more about building and mentoring those around me.” While Brill has been recognized numerous times – including multiple appearances on CMP’s Hot List, Top 75 Brokers and Women of Influence lists, plus the 2018 Canadian Mortgage Award for Broker of the Year (More Than 25 Employees) – she knows that she doesn’t stand alone. She says her team is her biggest support system and more like friends and family than colleagues. “This is what makes me do what I do – shine amongst all other beautiful women in this industry!” she says.

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CAROLINE RAPSON

HALI NOBLE

MARG GREEN

Director of operations

Senior vicepresident, residential mortgage investments and broker relations

Mortgage broker/ owner

CENTUM Financial Group

With more than 24 years of combined real estate and mortgage industry experience, Caroline Rapson specializes in building relationships and strategic partnerships with lenders, partners and suppliers. She focuses on continuously enhancing the experience, support and offerings provided to CENTUM’s network and the consumer. “I enjoy seeing how quickly this industry as a whole adapts to change,” Rapson says. “From mortgage regulations to how business and events are conducted currently with restrictions on social interactions, we are a responsive industry.” Outside of CENTUM, Rapson is a member of 100 Brokers Who Care, a supporter of MPC and a regular advisory panelist. She has been a director on the CMBA-BC board since 2016 and was the recent CMBA-BC representative for the Mortgage Awards of Excellence. Over the years, she has earned several accolades, including two previous appearances on CMP’s Women of Influence list.

Fisgard Asset Management Corporation

Nothing brings Hali Noble more joy than seeing her female colleagues recognized for their extraordinary contributions to the advancement of women in the mortgage industry, and she takes great pride in being named among them. In addition to her role at Fisgard, Noble has served as president of MBABC and chair of MPC. She is currently MPC’s regional director for BC and a director of the BC MIC Managers Association. She has received several industry awards, including the MBABC Pioneer Award for Lifetime Achievement and being inducted to the Canadian Mortgage Hall of Fame. A proud member of the British Columbia Metis Nation, Noble supports Our Place Society, the Mustard Seed Food Bank, the Salvation Army, the Victoria Conservatory of Music and the Victoria Symphony. She also co-founded Women in the Mortgage Industry and KARES, an organization that focuses on marginalized youth.

Concierge Mortgage Group – Mortgage Intelligence

When Marg Green started in the mortgage business 35 years ago, it was predominantly male, applications were delivered to lenders by mail, and everyone operated by pagers. “It’s been incredible to have seen and experienced so much change – for better or worse,” she says. For the first 18 years, Green worked on her own before starting a team of two that’s since grown to 24. She enjoys helping brokers go from new to the business to thriving, although she advises them that money should never be at the forefront – if you put your clients first, the money will follow. Some of Green’s clients are ones she met 30 years ago when they were first-time buyers, and many have referred their kids to her as well. Green has also made many lifelong industry friendships. She organizes an annual women’s golf event that has participants from multiple brokerages, “all of which are new and old friends,” she says.

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SPECIAL REPORT

WOMEN OF INFLUENCE CINDY FREIMAN President and word wizard Creative Soul Communications

Cindy Freiman is passionate about creating educational and thoughtprovoking content for businesses to share via social media, blogging, databases and marketing. A journalist by trade, Freiman has focused on the mortgage industry for the past 15 years. She was the founding editor of CMP, raised the profile of Dominion Lending Centres as its director of public relations and communication, and spearheaded the rebrand of CAAMP to Mortgage Professionals Canada. She launched Creative Soul Communications in 2017 to help busy professionals grow their businesses by getting important messages across to existing and potential clients and referral partners. “I love working as a team with the common goal of keeping them top of mind with clients and referral partners to ensure a continual flow of business in their door,” Freiman says.

SHANNON HILLMAN President BlueShore Pacifica Alternative Mortgage Centre

CHRISTINE XU President and CEO Moneybroker Canada/Ready Capital Mortgage Investment Trust

Even after 30 years in the Canadian banking and investment field, including 20 years as a mortgage broker and founder of her own companies, Christine Xu says there’s still always something new to learn. “Every client has his or her own story and situation – there is never a boring day,” she says. Xu has repeatedly been named Alternative Lending Broker of the Year at the Canadian Mortgage Awards, setting a record as the only broker in Canada to win three times. She’s a four-time member of CMP’s Women of Influence list and a five-time member of the CMP Hot List, and she has ranked in the top 10 of CMP’s Top 75 Brokers every year since 2014. She also received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012 in recognition of her community volunteer work. In the current environment, Xu urges brokers to understand that most clients can’t get mortgage approval. “We need to adapt to this reality and find more alternative funding sources for the demand,” she says.

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Since starting in the mortgage industry in 1994, Shannon Hillman has taken on many different roles. She encourages those new to the industry to educate themselves and never stop – and don’t be afraid to ask for help, as many people in the industry are generous with their time and expertise and are more than happy to share their knowledge. “I was privileged to have been mentored by one of the best,” she says, “and the lessons I learned in the beginning of my career still resonate with me today.” As head of BlueShore Pacifica Alternative Mortgage Centre, Hillman oversees alternative lending solutions from both a top-ranked credit union and a proven mortgage investment corporation. “What I love most is the diversity of the deals that cross my desk and helping our broker partners understand our way of lending and how it benefits their clients,” she says.

BARB MORGAN Vice-president – Eastern Canada (retired) Invis Mortgage Intelligence

In 1977, Barb Morgan took a job with a bank “until something better came along.” A single mom, she raised her daughter while climbing the ladder to branch manager and working on her business diploma at night. When she moved to the broker channel in 1998, “the real education began,” Morgan says. Her emphasis on business development and relationship management landed her awards at NBC, FirstLine and MERIX, but Morgan’s favourite and longest role was her last, as VP for Eastern Canada at Invis Mortgage Intelligence, which she held until her retirement in October. She was the network’s primary point of contact and support for both new agents and existing agents who were looking for assistance to grow their businesses. “Although we’re a national industry, it’s really a small, close-knit community,” Morgan says. “I’ve been extremely lucky to make good friends from Halifax to Kelowna and in between. Because we have strong relationships, we push each other to be better and best for our clients.”

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DOREEN WALSH Vice-president, network development Dominion Lending Centres

With more than 25 years of experience, Doreen Walsh brings a wealth of knowledge to DLC’s executive team. A champion of change, in her first year at DLC, Walsh developed the New Agent Program with a streamlined, practical training process. Her no-nonsense positive approach, coupled with her innate ability to translate high-level processes to a novice level of understanding, makes her an exceptional educator. A two-time member of CMP’s Women of Influence list, Walsh has been nominated as Lender BDM of the Year at the Canadian Mortgage Awards and was inducted into CMP’s Hall of Fame last year. She has also been a director on the CMBA board and participates in various industry panels and committees. “This industry has taught me to be brave and not be afraid of change,” Walsh says, adding that she’s forever grateful for the career she was empowered to build, the lessons she’s learned and the friendships she’s made along the way.

SHARON VANDERDUIM Mortgage agent VanderDuim Mortgage Team – Neighbourhood Dominion Lending Centres

Sharon VanderDuim began her career in banking in the mid-1970s, rising from teller to administration, then to a management training program, branch manager, area sales manager and manager of mortgage development. Along the way, she says, she was fortunate to learn from some knowledgeable co-workers, clients and industry professionals, and her love for the industry grew. “I get to meet awesome people, have fun, and it doesn’t feel like I go to work every day,” she says. “No day is the same, and I am constantly learning decades later.” Over the years, VanderDuim has been a member of the FirstLine advisory board, the Oshawa and District Association for Community Living and Durham North Community Living. She also supports Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Clarington and personally helps families with differently abled children to secure community funding and resources for their needs.

DEBBIE THOMAS

LISA VALADE

Founder

Vice-president of sales, Ontario

TMG The Mortgage Group

Mortgage Architects

As the only woman to head up a national brokerage, Debbie Thomas says one of the aspects that initially drew her to the mortgage industry was the lack of gender disparity in terms of remuneration. “If you put in the time and the work, you will be rewarded accordingly,” she says. A mentor and advocate, Thomas has been recognized with the Partners in Excellence Award from CAAMP and the Pioneer Award for Lifetime Achievement from MBABC. She was inducted into the Mortgage Hall of Fame in 2013 and was the first recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2018 Mortgage Awards of Excellence. Before COVID-19, Thomas says her advice to newcomers would have been to just “get out there,” but she admits that message has changed a bit. “Everything has to be done from a distance, so I can’t emphasize how important it is to have a robust CRM program,” she says. “Let the world know what you do!”

Lisa Valade has been in the mortgage industry since 1988, starting out at Household Finance Corporation, where she received “invaluable” training. Over the years, she’s held roles in everything from credit management to sales to brokering. Valade says this diversity of experiences has provided her with “amazing insight to better understand and appreciate this industry, as well as my relationships, from every angle.” “What I most enjoy about the mortgage industry is where I can have impact,” she says. “My passion is to elevate others for excellence. Providing core business support and training to brokers is very satisfying.” Valade advises newcomers to the industry to “know your ‘why’ – why do you want to be in this industry? What are you passionate about? Do a business plan and soak up any training you possibly can. Never stop learning.”

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SPECIAL PROMOTIONAL FEATURE

TECHNOLOGY

Pivoting the private lending industry Heading into an uncertain 2021, brokers and lenders will continue to benefit from the partnership between Filogix and Mortgage Automator IT’S BEEN a wild ride in the mortgage industry this year. The COVID-19 pandemic has made the value of technology and connectivity even more evident. While there are still some big question marks around what 2021 will bring, even lenders that were hesitant in the past are coming to the realization that ease of transaction is crucial if they want to keep up with their competitors in the new year. Private lenders on the Mortgage Automator platform are given the added value of being connected through the Filogix Mortgage Marketplace, allowing them to receive submissions electronically and compliantly. “Being able to receive applications directly from Filogix has increased the overall acceptance from the broker community and has made it even easier for brokers to find and submit applications to us,” says Roy Thomas, managing director at Vault Mortgage. “As a company that has always emphasized technology and efficiency, moving onto Mortgage Automator was a natural progression for Vault Mortgage. It further streamlined our operations by minimizing manual inputs and improved reporting.” The revised Equifax mortgage inquiry process that came into effect in September means the credit bureau’s information can only be shared with credentialed lenders through industry connector platforms like Filogix. Brokers want to ensure they are compliant with the new process, and they’re keen to see lenders do the same. “Lenders who can receive electronic deals effortlessly are going to win,” says Mortgage Automator co-founder Lawrence Schwartz. “Brokers also want to spend more time with

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their clients, not sorting documents and sending emails.” The integration promotes handling customer information more securely while offering newfound efficiency to all parties. It also opens lenders up to new business they wouldn’t have seen otherwise while providing more options and choice for brokers. “This integration has led to a handful of new brokerage partnerships,” says James Grantis, director of lending at Hosper Mortgage. “It has never been easier for new brokers to submit to us for the first time, and it’s created new opportunities for us to demonstrate the strengths of Hosper

platform also gives lenders the ability to zero in on specific points of the transaction to help locate inefficiencies, according to Ryan Spence, director of strategic accounts at Filogix. “Being able to track individual steps more thoroughly will help improve the entire transaction and ultimately increase profitability, resulting in the ability to scale the business and fulfill their overall strategy,” he says. Using technology to fulfill a business plan, as opposed to just another tactic to get a deal through the door, is a trend Spence expects to continue through the new year. For Mortgage Automator, 2020 has been a pivotal year. The company has experienced

“Lenders who can receive electronic deals effortlessly are going to win” Lawrence Schwartz, Mortgage Automator Mortgage. When the first experience is a hassle-free success, it frequently leads to additional submissions.” The benefits for all parties are undeniable. For brokerages, the compliance burden is relieved. For agents, the process is more streamlined – whether a file is being sent to a big bank or a small private lender, the method is the same. For lenders, response time to brokers is improved, and there are many organizational advantages as well. If a dedicated underwriter or point of contact for the broker is not available, a file that comes through the Mortgage Automator platform is accessible to the other users on the lender team with the appropriate permissions. The

exponential growth as clients recognize that the system is more than just a loan servicing platform. “We are a connectivity platform to our clients. They see the benefit outside of generating documents and servicing loans,” says Mortgage Automator co-founder Joseph Fooks, who expects that industry guidelines could restrict even further in the new year. “More lenders will need to sign up to receive deals digitally – this is the new norm, and we are proud to be on the forefront with this partnership.” For more information, visit mortgageautomator.com and filogix.com.

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PEOPLE

BROKER INSIGHT

Raising her voice Matrix Mortgage Global COO Laura Martin is using her status as an industry leader to advocate for greater diversity and inclusion

IN THE mortgage industry, good things don’t always come to those who wait – which is why Laura Martin has always chased opportunity. She started her career in mortgages straight out of high school, working her way up from office manager to licensed agent. By the age of 24, she had already opened her own brokerage. At the same time, Martin realized she had more learning to do and decided to broaden her experience by going back to school. She graduated from the University of Toronto with a bachelor’s degree in cognitive science and psychology and followed it up with a master’s degree in business psychology. Returning to the mortgage industry feeling refreshed, Martin was ready to tackle the job with a whole new perspective. “What I really took away from the cognitive science degree is the power of AI and using technology to improve human processes,” she says. “Technology can do almost everything brokers can with much less error. Rocket Mortgage in the US is capitalizing on this with tremendous success.” Because of this, the broker’s role is changing – a broker’s value today comes from originating clients, which means selfbranding and marketing are key. Borrowers have never been more educated, and access to information has never been easier, so delivering advice in a digestible way and finding new ways to get in front of a targeted demo-

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graphic are important. “People want to be told, not sold,” Martin says. “Focus on understanding the industry and the pain points of clients and become a trusted advisor. Add value to their life in a meaningful way.” Upon her return to the industry in 2010, Martin spearheaded a total rebrand at Matrix Mortgage Global, where she’s currently COO. She created social media strategies and prioritized brand identity. She focused the company’s messaging on private lending and being able to do all the deals that banks can’t. Since then, Matrix has won numerous awards for its growth and excellence. But even as Martin continued to exceed her targets and successfully lead operations at Matrix, she noticed that respect from industry peers wasn’t always easily earned. “The misogyny and racism kept coming,” she says. “I have proven with objective measures of success that I am worthy of your attention and respect, and I continued to not get it.” Martin believes these experiences are a direct result of the lack of female leadership across financial services; the 2019 Rozenweig

Report found that 90% of top corporate jobs across Canada were held by men, and the net number of women in executive positions has increased by just two since 2006. Martin says she’s been able to achieve success because Matrix Mortgage Global CEO Shawn Allen trusted her, but she says women shouldn’t have to saddle up to a successful male entrepreneur for that to happen. “There needs to be more awareness in HR and in leadership,” she says. “Companies need to recognize there’s a problem. We can’t be innovative, diverse or relevant in 2021 without this realization.” Change doesn’t happen unless people are willing to talk about it, so that’s what Martin does, using her platform on social media to try to bring awareness to these issues. “I won’t shut up until I see representation at the top,” she says. Martin made one of her first videos after an experience she had when attending a conference alone. In addition to being cut off and at times ignored, she was leered at and touched inappropriately, making her extremely uncomfortable. She woke up the next day and

MARTIN’S ADVICE FOR OTHER WOMEN IN THE INDUSTRY “Find a brokerage that supports you, and don’t take any crap. If you bring a grievance to your principal broker and they seem apathetic, move on. Don’t wait for opportunity; demand the mic. If you don’t ask, you don’t get.”

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FAST FACTS: LAURA MARTIN

BROKERAGE Matrix Mortgage Global

LOCATION Toronto

SPECIALTIES Private lending, thought leadership, fintech

YEARS IN THE INDUSTRY 13

“Companies need to recognize there’s a problem. We can’t be innovative, diverse or relevant in 2021 without this realization” felt compelled to share her story. “I was vulnerable, my voice cracked, and my emotions came through,” she says. “Some of my colleagues warned me it was too raw, but when you are willing to be vulnerable, people listen.” She was right; that video garnered more than 250,000 views. Martin doesn’t mind being polarizing if it means she can make

a genuine impact. She’s made hundreds of videos since, tackling issues of diversity and inclusion, Indigenous rights, and more. Influencers in the mortgage space have since approached Martin for advice on how to talk about race in light of events like the death of George Floyd, which has encouraged her to continue pushing boundaries, even if it makes some people uncomfortable.

ACCOLADES Named to CMP ’s Women of Influence list two years in a row, named one of the Top 100 Canadian Professionals for 2020 and nominated for Broker of the Year (25 Employees or More) at the 2019 Canadian Mortgage Awards

INDUSTRY INVOLVEMENT Current secretary of CMBA and a conference panelist for CMP ’s Broker Connect event “If I can influence others at the top who have the ear of people who won’t necessarily listen to me, that goes a long way,” she says. “Other industry leaders need to pick up the torch.”

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PEOPLE

OTHER LIFE

TELL US ABOUT YOUR OTHER LIFE Email mortgagebrokernews@kmimedia.ca

Woodhouse with a warning for newbs on the trails in BC

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Years Woodhouse has been dirt biking

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Weeks a year he hits the trails

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Woodhouse’s average heart rate while riding

DIRT, HURT AND FOCUS Network exec Dustan Woodhouse’s approach to dirt biking is more akin to a monk liberating his consciousness than a speed freak risking life and limb DUSTAN WOODHOUSE has been a fixture on British Columbia’s densely forested dirt biking trails for the past 28 years – basically since he moved out of his parents’ home and they could no longer stop him from buying a bike of his own. While most would view the kind of high-octane trail riding Woodhouse loves as a pursuit for individuals with the urge to defy death, the Mortgage Architects president has a rather Zen way of looking

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at the dangers involved: When all that matters is what’s 50 feet ahead of you, everything else occupying your mind recedes into the background. “My brain is on overdrive all the time,” Woodhouse says. “But when I get to the woods on the bike for a couple of hours, I have to pay attention to every root, rock, patch of mud and puddle. Your focus has to be absolute.” In his almost three decades of riding,

Woodhouse has only experienced two significant injuries: a broken ankle two years ago and a blown-out knee about 20 years before that. “I generally come off the bike every time I ride. It’s pretty rare not to crash,” Woodhouse says – but he points out that far more broken ankles result from drunken nights out on the town than they do from dirt biking. “Who’s got the more dangerous hobby?”

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Everybody has a story

And a mortgage application doesn’t tell it all Let’s partner and ask the right questions to truly understand your client’s story. Together, we can develop the right financial solution. To see the whole picture, visit hometrust.ca/realstories

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