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MARKET MATTERS 6 | Letters to the Editor 8 | Reading between the Lines A look at shrinking refi business 10 | News Analysis What Americans think of our housing market; and one major player provides five predictions for 2014 14 | Broker Advice Dustan Woodhouse shares his methods for managing broker stress on the job

NEWS 9 | Product News 24 | National picture at a glance

FEATURES 18 | Year in review 2013 according to CMP 48 | CMP Roundtable Four broker heads debate the issues of the day

26 9.01

54 Housing market pressures



CMP’s Hot List 2014 Who is hot this year? Featuring some familiar (and some fresh) faces, these players are shaping the industry today and tomorrow

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MARKETING 38 | Business strategy You all know the cliché: it’s not what you know but who you know ... writes Doren Aldana, but it may be who knows you that truly matters 42 | Creditor insurance Protecting your client ... and yourself 44 | Life, liberty and less tax Reducing your clients’ tax exposure 46 | Residential title insurance A win-win for both clients and brokers but one too few have thought of

REGULARS 62 | Favourite Things 48 | CMP Service Directory




SPECIAL 60 | Broker remembered

The best SEO in life may be free CMPmagazine Like Us on Facebook Canadian Mortgage Professional

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COPY & FEATURES EDITOR Vernon Clement Jones STAFF WRITER Justin da Rosa CONTRIBUTORS Dustan Woodhouse, Angela Calla, Jeff Mayer, Maggie Crowley COPY EDITOR Rachel Naud




Editorial enquiries Advertising enquiries Subscriptions tel: 416 644 8740 • fax: 416 203 8940 KMI Publishing 312 Adelaide Street West, Suite 800 Toronto, Ontario M5V 1R2 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 CMP magazine can accept no responsibility for loss.

A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO 2014 A successful Realtor and an equally successful broker walk into a bar on New Year’s Day. The real estate agent orders “the same number of deals as last year, please.” The broker pauses before placing his order: “Um, I’ll have triple the number of deals I had in 2013,” he says. The Realtor’s obviously a little bit surprised and says, “Whoa, slow down there, referral partner, or you’re going to get loaded.” The brokers says, “Nah, no chance of that; my comp’s down to 55 bps a deal.” It’s OK to a laugh. That joke came straight from the mouth of an industry veteran, offering what I saw as gallows humour in the face of increasing pressure to buy down rate and the even greater pressure to increase volumes. But that phenomenon is no laughing matter for brokers as they anticipate growing competition, not just from banks – more and more willing to offer their best renewal rates without the threat of a client defection – but also from rate sites. Those challenges aren’t expected to disappear this year, but so many of you are finding creative and effective ways to respond to that new reality. Those strategies for success are highlighted in this month’s CMP Hotlist 2014, starting on page 26. That special feature profiles some of the industry’s highest fliers, specifically players expected to soar this year at the same time they help lift the broker channel. When charting your own course for a new year, it’s always helpful to look over your shoulder, and examine what you did during the previous 12 months. That’s what CMP is doing with its 2013 Year in Review, starting page on 18 to remind you of where you’ve been and ultimately where you’ve got to go. Hopefully your agenda for 2014 includes The Mortgage Summit, the professional development conference powered by CMP and focused on helping brokers up their game. This year’s event will provide a backdrop for unveiling the CMP Top 75 and segues neatly into the Canadian Mortgage Awards – the industry’s premiere salute to excellence. Read more on page 59. Cheers, Vernon Clement Jones


Contact the editor:

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Earn More ask us how


Join the Network that puts you first


Independently Owned and Operated. ®/™ Trademarks owned by Centum Financial Group Inc. © 2014 Centum Financial Group Inc. The intent of this communication is for JANUARY 2014 | 5   informational purposes only, and is not intended to be a solicitation to anyone under contract with another mortgage brokerage operation.

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LIFE OF RILEY There are a lot of worried brokers out there, but with an average income of between $81K and $100K and with a family to spend more than four week’s vacation with, this is still a profession that pays dividends to those who do the work. I am sharing this (article) with my Bown ROfamily. K - Martin Nyguen


So how do you stack up agai the average nst broker? Read survey resultsthe





Comments from on the news stories making waves in advisor waters TRADERS? I have never had a mortgage with one of the big banks. Why are more of us using the banks than using the monolines for our own personal mortgages? We cannot afford to be hypocrites. If we expect our clients to use our lenders, we have to do the same. - Graeme Goldberg



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BEST SUITED Realtors we are not. Just look at how much the average one of us is paying for our best suit ($100 - $500). That surprised me. It is time we walked the talk and dressed the part. 27/11/2013

1:59:06 PM

Join the debate at

-Vancouver Broker

CMHC & Conventional Mortgages for:

Single Family Alternate Equity Lending:

Multi-Family Rental Properties Senior’s Housing Projects Commercial Properties Construction Projects

Toronto CMHC/Conventional Financing Phone: 416-368-3266 Email:

Equity Take Outs Purchases/Refinances Homeowner or Rental Flexible Income Verification

Calgary CMHC/Conventional Financing Phone: 403-237-8795 Email:

Vancouver CMHC/Conventional Financing Single Family Financing Phone: 604-685-1068 Email:

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THE LINES According to CMHC’s latest quarterly report, refinances are down 81 per cent, a drop with profound impact on a broker’s bottom line. Jeff Mayer of Dominion Lending Centres The Mayer Group reads between the lines to explain the drastic drop and address similar changes brokers are grappling with.


1. With the changes that have occurred

and those that came at the end of 2013, mortgage brokers and lenders will be forced to adapt or die! 2

2. The harsh reality is these changes are a good thing for the Canadian economy. In the end, brokers and lenders will have to work closer together to keep this industry moving forward.

Jeff Mayer, Mortgage Agent, The Mayer Group

3. Mortgages over $1 million are becoming a thing of the past, too. Unless the client is carrying large investments with the institution, a lender, will not entertain the deal.


4. Self-employed clients are also feeling the pain when it comes time to

refinance or purchase a home. They generally write off a large portion of their income for tax purposes and this does not help the client when applying for a mortgage. If they have to state an increase in their income over and above $65,000, the lender/insurer will ask for a number of documents to justify this (financials, T1 generals, company profile, etc.). As a result of these changes, many “business-for-self” clients are being limited to a trust company, credit union or even a private lender.


5. “Equity take-outs” are also a thing of the past. Clients looking to extract more than $200,000 from the equity in their homes are facing an uphill battle. Lending institutions will require a major reason and proof for such a large amount of money. This includes trust companies and credit unions. 4

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PRODUCT NEWS AND INDUSTRY ANNOUNCEMENTS A bite-sized guide to the industry’s newest products and appointments as they come down the channel

WHO: Derik Rehou of Onelife Financial WHAT: InterestBLOCKER InterestBLOCKER is a tool built by Derik Rehou of Onelife Financial that was created to help Canadians better understand their budgets and plot the best path to paying off mortgage and other debts. “There are similar solutions out there (Smart Equity, UFirst, Speed Equity), however they sell for thousands of dollars per unit and their target audience is the direct consumer,” Rehou tells CMP. “We’ve positioned our price point to get our product in the hands of mortgage agents, Realtors, credit counsellors, and financial planners to add value to the service and offerings they provide their clients.” Soon after becoming a mortgage agent, Rehou says, “I found out very quickly that mortgage agents needed to go beyond service; in order to truly compete in this industry, we’d have to also educate our clients.” To aid in adding value, he created the tool, which is a subscription-based service. Its tagline is “showing Canadians the path of least interest” and is available at

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Are advisers really in the

same boat? It’s a survey about your referral partners that may have implications for your own relationship with the same clients

According to BMO InvestorLine research, Canadians may thank the Internet for their investment knowledge, but fully rely on the personal advice of financial planners to help them act upon it. While 72 per cent of Canadians say technology has made them better investors and increased their ability to manage their portfolios, an even higher number – 87 per cent – consider personalized advice to be essential when making the wisest investment decisions. Those are the kind of figures brokers – with a 30 per cent penetration – can only dream of as they continue their fight to grow consumer awareness about what exactly they do for their clients. They’re also facing a growing threat from online players, namely the proliferation of comparison sites hawking rock-bottom and often bought-down rates. Investment advisers are in much the same boat as they confront the challenges of dealing with robo-advisers and the legion of DIY investors. Still their certifications and the ongoing nature of their relationships with clients often allows them to better hang onto those customers long after they’ve closed a property purchase.



























Source: MortgageInsights Fall 2013 (CAAMP)

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What Americans really think about your market

Oh, boy. Doom and gloom about Canadian real estate hasn’t escaped the notice of industry pundits A major American media outlet is getting in on the doom-and-gloom reporting about Canada’s oftdebated housing bubble, citing analysts who expect said bubble to soon burst. “Ever since the real estate bubble burst in the United States in 2007, observers have pointed to Canada as an example of a well-regulated financial system that has avoided many of the regulatory mistakes that helped lead to an American crash,” Time Magazine’s Christopher Matthews writes in his real estate column for the publication. “But Canadians weren’t able to perch on their high horse for very long, as a bubble of their own has been inflating for the past couple years.” In the article, unambiguously entitled “Canada has its Own Housing Bubble and it’s About to Burst,” Matthews references – among others —a quote by Amna Asaf, an economist with Capital Economics, who explains what will eventually burst the Canadian housing bubble. “Even a modest uptick in mortgage rates will translate into much higher homeownership costs, easily outpacing any expected increase in household incomes,” she writes. “This will price out some prospective home buyers, reinforcing the drop back in existing home sales that is already under way.” Matthews does, however, mention what may be Canada’s saving grace: Tighter mortgage lending rules. “This is the same dynamic that eventually sunk the U.S. economy and triggered a global financial crisis,” Matthews writes. “Canada’s saving grace, however, may end up being its strict housing regulations–which encourage high down payments and government-backed insurance.” Comparing Canada’s housing market to its southerly neighbour is nothing new, take a look at household debt-to-income ratios. It’s anything but encouraging for Canadian homebuyers and those whose livelihood depends on the housing industry.







Source: MortgageInsights Fall 2013 (CAAMP)

Predictions, predictions

Just about everybody makes them, but a leading Canadian broker is offering a list of five specifically focused on this country’s mortgage market In a column for in early January, Rob McLister points to key changes on the horizon for the broker channel this year. Not all of them are pretty although most have already been spied in the crystal balls of other, including the emergence of new mortgage rules and stronger online competition from rate sites. Still, some may take industry players by surprise, especially McLister’s claim around growing competition from credit unions. “Since they’re provincially regulated,” he writes, “credit unions have more flexible lending guidelines than federally regulated banks. They’ll use that to their advantage, in addition to marketing more heavily, both online and to mortgage brokers. We’ll also see some big mergers this year as credit unions seek out economies of scale.” The blogging broker is also predicting the rise of the hybrid this year, a direct result of the protracted speculation on when – if at all – rates will rise. “Economists and government officials have been warning us of higher rates for four years,” he writes. “So far they’ve been wrong, and now many consumers aren’t sure what to believe. More Canadians will hedge their rate bets with hybrid mortgages (part fixed and part variable).”

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BREATHE How does a broker keep her head, when all those around her – clients, underwriters and referral partners — are losing theirs? A very Zen-like Dustan Woodhouse offers some advice for managing stress

Is Mortgage Brokering a stressful career? “No” was my first thought when asked this question. I tend not to allow stress to be a part of my life. This is likely helped by the fact that I eat healthfully, sleep pretty well, and am a fairly physically active person.  What do vegetables, seven hours’ sleep, and strength training have to do with brokering?  Everything, I would argue. A sound body and a sound mind are key to having the stamina to work through some long and often challenging days. They say that the brain consumes 20 per cent of the body’s energy. Is that energy being supplied by premium fuels?  After all, as one of my favourite fellow optimists, Lao Tzu, likes to say, “if you do not take care of your body, where will you live?” That said, if anything’s going to crack your Zenlike veneer, it’s going to be that underwriter who goes home early on the day of a subject removal without having signed off on that tricky BFS income. You know, the matter that’s been under review for days and one that has the client losing his cool and the Realtor swearing you will never again work in this town.

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Yes. Breathe. Come to think of it, perhaps I should have answered the aforementioned question with a “Yes.”   A Broker often finds himself surrounded by highly stressed parties at every turn. 

WHEN A STRENGTH IS A WEAKNESS Recently I completed a DiSC assessment of myself, a very useful experience.  It turns out what I perceive as my confident “make this happen” goal-oriented mindset can come across to people under moderate to extreme stress  (i.e. many of the people we interact with daily) as demanding, aggressive and controlling. Increasing my own self-awareness was a long-term focus throughout 2013 and recognizing that those things I see as my strengths are in fact problematic in certain situations has been very useful.  I highly recommend that brokers learn more about how clients perceive their own communication styles, and just as importantly that brokers learn more about how to tailor those communication styles to suit the many different clients we interact with. Understanding the correct formatting and phrasing to apply to your communications with individual clients is a key element in managing stress. The starting point is to know thyself. Let’s get back o the potentially stressed parties involved: clients, underwriter(s), assistants, Realtors, the appraiser, the lawyer and her staff, and even the client’s accountant hustling on a tax return.  Their stress can rub off on us if we are not careful in ways that affect our own communications with all of the aforementioned.

MOOD SETTING Being the calm at the centre of the storm is a skill worth mastering. The increased (failed) transaction volumes of 2013, which most of us experienced, combined with what often feels like the extreme challenge of getting files approved due to tighter guidelines – mixed with rate-hike deadlines, subject removal and completion dates – have all conspired to put every person involved in the processing of a transaction into a state of frenzy at one point or another. Internal frenzy is OK; well, at least behind locked doors frenzy is OK. Phone securely disconnected frenzy is OK. Let it loose, but do it in absolute privacy, or share it with your “venting buddy” is OK Everybody needs a venting buddy. No doubt there have been challenges in this industry since its inception, and some have been

constant, while others may fade (high rates) only to be replaced by new ones (extreme regulation). It is fair to say that today is not representative of an “easy” time to be in this business. Considering that the broker, aka “the face” of the deal, is often the client’s sole liaison to many of these other people who have sway over the approval, his or her role isn’t without some pressure. And when the others behind the scenes are overloaded, stressed, or unreasonable, one must be cautious to filter any anxiety out of the communication with the client.

CURRENTLY, BROKERS CONTEND WITH; •• Continuously changing lender guidelines •• Government-imposed legislation requiring more, more and still more documents from clients •• Lenders ill-prepared to deal with anything slightly past standard volumes •• Media misdirection (i.e. Maclean’s with their ‘Bubble 2012,’ and then a year later ‘Bubble 2013’ articles. Watch for Bubble 2014 coming soon to a newsstand near you •• Simultaneous headlines citing interest rates about to rise and also about to fall in the same paper on the same day (fixed vs. variable) •• The misinformation and misunderstanding of not just the clients themselves, but their family, friends, co-workers, etc. •• The list goes on...

UNDER-PROMISE All we can do in the face of all of these various challenges is manage the expectations of our clients from the start. This is perhaps the key stressreducing tactic I try to utilize. Under-promise (which is tricky in a world of rate sites and sandwich boards) and over-deliver! Do not set expectations for rates until you have a credit score and income documentation in hand, do not set expectations for mortgage amounts until the appraisal is in hand. Set expectations early, and review them with the client regularly throughout the process. Perhaps, most importantly we must always keep a focus on management of our own expectations as well; this helps us to temper our tone, our predictions, our promises and general outlook. If we can keep ourselves calm and rational, it is far simpler for the client to remain in that same state with us. Manage expectations!

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CMP 8.1 – Hot List

TaxING TImEs realtOrs 1, brOkers 0

H T LIST 2013

“If 2012 is anything to go by, these ‘Hot’ industry If 2012 is anything to go by, these ‘Hot’ players are set to industry players are set to heat up 2013 heat up 2013.” Each year CMP presents a glimpse of the country’s current leading mortgage industry players – from CEOs to frontline agents. 2013 was no exception and many of those featured in this issue went on to make significant strides in their professional lives while also leading the industry pack to greater gains. Covers and Spine 2.indd 1

24/01/2013 1:21:26 PM

WHO WAS HOT AT THE BEGINNING OF 2013? • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

CMLS Financial’s Dan Putnam Verico Northwood Mortgage Ltd. Axiom Mortgage Partners’ Mike Cameron Marlborough Stirling’s Tim Brown Centum’s Paul Therien HomeEquity Bank’s Steve Ranson Mortgage Brokers Association of British Columbia’s Samantha Gale Invis-Mortgage Intelligence’s Bob Ord The Mortgage Centre’s Eddy Cocciollo Mortgage Architects’ Albert Collu Paradigm Quest’s Kathy Gregory Canada Guaranty’s Andy Charles Dominion Lending Centres’ Gary Mauris O’Leary Mortgages’ Kevin O’Leary


ED 06 PM




“Some of the people on this list are great and really are set to make a significant contribution to the broker channel’s growth this year. I include Mike Cameron in that number, but there is also a few people on the list who may make significant contributions to their own business and not to brokers, in general. I hope their inclusion on the list will help to change their attitude of look out for No. 1.” - Pete McSherry

Mediocre Marketing Missteps to avoid new lender Look and Learn

February 2013 / issue 8.2 / $6.95

Quality referrals Made not Magic

March 2013 / issue 8.3 / $6.95


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2013 kit Bag LIST 2013 Broker


Forget your troubles! Pack up these 8 new tools in your old kit bag

Covers and Spine.indd 1

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Ron BuTleR a rate site makeover

The 411… on ird CalCulations

21/02/2013 2:29:00 PM

CMP 8.2 – Broker Kit Bag 2013

“Forget your troubles! Pack these eight new tools in your brokering kit bag.”


Exposing your concerns over mortgage rules, an attack by the banks and the government’s next move

Cloud computing Third-party CRM E-signing Credit union Three mobile apps: Brewster, Here on biz, Hootsuite

BROKER BUZZ “If CMP is going to help brokers with a list of gadgets that will help us this year, it seems to me that they have to look at the app platforms and ask what can be done to make them better tools for brokers. We need to know that deals that are submitted won’t be held up by technical problems and that we can return answers to clients in a timely fashion and better compete with the banks.” – Pete McSherry

Covers and Spine FINAL.indd 1

22/03/2013 10:30:20 AM

CMP 8.3 – Broker sentiment poll 2013

“Exposing your concerns over mortgage rules, an attack by the banks and the government’s next move.”

SENTIMENT POLL HIGHLIGHTS • 88.10 per cent of respondents said mortgage rule changes in 2012 had a negative effect on business • 43 per cent said the biggest change for 2013 would be big bank sales teams competing with brokers • 48.67 per cent said the biggest concern for 2013 would be fewer lenders operating through the broker channel • 35.33 per cent said 51-75 per cent of their loans would be put through a non-bank in 2013 • 67.67 per cent said they would not be hiring new staff in 2013 • 94.33 per cent said they don’t think they would leave the broker industry in 2013 • 56 per cent of independents said they would consider joining a national network or brokerage in 2013 • 85.67 per cent of those belonging to a national network or brokerage said they would not consider going independent in 2013

BROKER BUZZ “As brokers, we need to make our voices heard at the federal level of government and clearly what we are saying is that the latest mortgage rules are a problem not only for ourselves but consumers, homebuyers and our clients. I would hope that this concern that is so clearly spelled out in the results of this year’s poll will strengthen our lobby efforts in Ottawa.” -Michael Velenz

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Broker FiNaLists

April 2013 / issue 8.4 / $6.95

Last Laugh... On Jim Flaherty Brokers revisit... the GOlden rule

CMP 8.4 – What’s your business worth?

“We’ve got the answer. And it’s not as simple as tallying your fixtures and fittings.”

We've got the answer. And it's not as simple as tallying up your fixtures and fittings

May 2013 / issue 8.5 / $6.95


“The top players in the game claimed industry praise and thanks at this year’s CMAs.”

The best and brightest in the mortgage industry shine at the annual Canadian Mortgage Awards O’LEARy LAuNCh BRokERs BREAk it Down

DRESS CODE suit-up foR succEss

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Page 12

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16/04/2013 9:08:43 AM

DETERMINING THE VALUE OF YOUR MORTGAGE BUSINESS TO A POTENTIAL BUYER • History of the brokerage • Size of the brokerage • Blend of services offered • Relationship with lenders • Sources of clients • Present competition in the market

• Commissions and bonuses obtained • Historical growth and growth prospects • Agent-fee arrangements • Your assessment of the future for the brokerage • Projected profitability

BROKER BUZZ “I think we brokers have overestimated the value of our brokerages if they are sold to another. Our businesses are based on the personal relationships that we have cultivated with our clients. That can be hard to pass on to another broker if we do not stay involved in the business. What the article points out is the importance of maintaining some connection with the brokerage, maybe keeping your name attached to the business after you’ve sold it.” -Ty Nystrom cMP crosscanada Private lending guide

mortgAgeBrokernews.cA issue 8.6 | $6.95

deBt ratios numBer crunch-up ird intelligence Brokers got it! Building a Broker Agent trAining

W men of influence CMP’s salute to industry go-getters

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CMP 8.6 – Women of influence

13/06/2013 1:57:26 PM

“CMP’s salute to industry go-getters.”

CMP 8.5 – CMA Winners revealed




17/05/2013 12:16:20 PM

• The Invis/Mortgage Intelligence award for best newcomer, lender BDM »» Camillo Delli-Pizzi »» Pillar Mortgage • The Mortgage Centre award for best lender BDM »» Jody Comeau »» First National Financial • The Canadiana Financial Corp Award for mortgage brokerage of the year (fewer than 25 employees) »» Get Er Done team »» Mortgage Intelligence, Get Er Done Girls • The D+H Award for national broker network of the year »» Colin Dreyer and Gary Mauris and their respective network members

»» VERICO Financial Group Inc. and Dominion Lending Centres • The First Canadian Title Award for Mortgage brokerage of the year (25 employees or more) »» Don MacVicar »» VERICO Premiere Mortgage Centre • The First National Financial Award for mortgage broker of the year (fewer than 25 employees) »» Greg Nowik »» Mortgage Architects, Universal Mortgage Architects • The Bridgewater Bank award for mortgage broker of the year (25 employees or more) »» Jeff Cody »» Mortgage Brokers City/Ottawa

BROKER BUZZ “A great night and a very nice venue. Congrats, Cam and Jeff. Well done, gents!” -Matt Robinson “Good work, brokers! Alberta men and women, you’re bringing home the hardware that you deserve and it looks good. Congrats, Doug Farmer.” -Mike Ablonski

WHO WERE 2013’s WOMEN OF INFLUENCE? • Alyson Thiessen of Mortgage Intelligence, Get Er Done Girls • Patricia Giankas of CENTUM Metrocapp Wealth Solutions Inc. and ScoreUp • Alyssa Richard of RateHub • Maria Dominelli of Invis • Angela Calla or Dominion Lending Centres The Angela Calla Mortgage Team • Christine Xu or Argentum Mortgage & Finance

• Janet Mckeough of Mortgage Brokers Association of Atlantic Canada • Alice Chan • Debbie Thomas of TMG The Mortgage Group • Hali Strandlund of Fisgard • Roslyn Goldmintz of Verico RBG Mortgage Professionals

BROKER BUZZ “I am very new to the industry and really enjoyed reading about the success of other women. I think that they have created a trail for us to follow. Thank you and thank you, Canadian Mortgage Professional magazine.” -Marilyn Spencer

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CMP 8.7 – Top 75 issue 8.7 | $6.95

Top brokerS by voluMe

revealed The big qUesTion why consuMers need you!

RefeRRaL Review grow your book now

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“They – and the Small Market Top 20 – defy expectations and Jim Flaherty”

brokers tapping non-mortgage deals Keep iT simple refining referrals

argenTum’s agenda albert collu answers

Team building strategic successes

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They — and the Small Market Top 20 — defy expectations and Jim Flaherty! who qUaLifies? defining a broker

CO T O BRMME P 10 OK RC ER IA S L issue 8.8 | $6.95

11/07/2013 2:59:41 PM


• Jim Tourloukis of Advent Mortgage Services: $218,114,349 • Collin Bruce of Dominion Lending Centres Mortgage Mentors: $201,005,200 • Dave Butler of Verico Butler Mortgage: $186,577,252 • Nicole Drummond of Dominion Lending Centres The Mortgage Source: $123,700,667 • Jason Singh of Verico COD Financial Services: $121,041,907

08/08/2013 12:55:35 PM

CMP 8.8 – The diversifiers

“Brokers tapping nonmortgage deals.”

• Andre Semeniuk of Mortgage Architects, Insurance, financial planning and wealth management through involvement with Canadian First Financial Centres • Verico Safebridge Financial Group, Investment services • Terry Kilakos of Verico NorthEast Mortgages, Real estate, life and disability insurance, investment and financial planning services, home and auto insurance • Gord McCallum of First Foundation Home, auto, commercial and life insurance

BROKER BUZZ “Diversification shows that mortgage brokers are coming into their own as the financial services experts we truly are. We are one of the most regulated FI professionals in Ontario and that means that we have already been inculcated with the importance of due diligence in whatever service we provide consumers.” -Wally Ewacuk

CMP 8.9 – Brokers on lenders 2013


“Hundreds of industry professionals are sending a new message to old partners.”

“Well done, Jim, and thank you for your tips. All makes sense. Jim, you should consider a weekly or monthly advice column. You would have no shortage of grateful readers, myself included. Thanks again, much appreciated and congratulations.” -JM


Brokers 2013 on lenders Hundreds of industry professionals are sending a new message to old partners


dream come true Broker-owned Bank?

Brokerage Balance sheet CalCulating your worth

Broker Branding Personalizing Professionalism

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CMP 8.10 – Lenders Reply

“Brokers didn’t pull and punches with this year’s survey and now neither are the lenders.”



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1. Merix 2. MonCana Bank 3. First National 4. RMG 5. CMLS 6. MCAP 7. B2B Bank

• • • • • •

8. Scotia 9. Home Trust 10. Street Capital 11. Bridgewater Bank 12. National Bank 13. TD

“It’s interesting that this year’s list is significantly different from the last one in terms of broker satisfaction with the monolines. But the results clearly align with the decisions that some of the lenders have made this year in terms of compensation and their programs. If you moved down the rankings, don’t make the mistake of ignoring that. Your business depends on listening to us.” – Kevin Braithwaite


09/09/2013 2:17:06 PM

• • • • • • •


07/10/2013 4:17:12 PM

“Thank you to the brokers who participated in the survey. We sincerely appreciate the feedback. The information gathered from this survey will be used by MCAP in our efforts to continuously improve. Our focus in 2014 will be to continually provide the support and value the broker channel is looking for from a mono-line lender.” Gino Tieri Vice-President of Sales MCAP Service Corporation

“We appreciate all the brokers who took the time to provide their feedback and will use it as a valuable benchmark moving forward to enhance areas that can be improved upon. We are committed to the industry and the Broker channel for the long term and look forward to continuing to support your business success.” Dan Putnam Senior Vice President, Business Development, CMLS Financial

BROKER BUZZ “I appreciate that several of the lenders took the time to acknowledge the survey results and suggest areas that they plan to improve their service in. I do not appreciate that many of the lenders in the survey did not provide feedback on the broker feedback. That is not respect.” – Max

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11:35 AM



CMP 8.11 – Superbrokers


“National networks want you and here is exactly what they have to offer.”







“My decision in picking which superbrokerage to join came down to two main factors; Trust & Professionalism. From top to bottom, it’s evident when you deal with anyone at Mortgage Architects head office that you’re part of a friendly, family-like team, which at the same time, are exceptionally skilled and knowledgeable professionals.” -Bruno Mangiardi OFC_IFC_Spine.indd 2

National Networks want you and here is exactly what they have to offer

07/11/2013 5:15:32 PM

“It’s a great company to work for. RMA allows me to be very independent in the sense that I pay my desk fee and that’s it. That’s not to see I can’t pick up the phone and ask for advice, because they’re there. What I like is they allow you to keep everything I’ve earned; a lot of the super brokers take a split. Another thing I really like is that we have two major players have a lot of experience, Ron DeSilva and David Yuzpe. Both of them have a lot of years in the industry so they’re great to have and they’re really nice people.” -Mary Macfarlane YOUR 2014 ALT. LENDING GUIDE

CMP 8.12 – Your broker lifestyle revealed

“So how do you stack up against the average broker?”


So how do you stack up against the average broker? Read the survey results







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• • • • • • • • •

27/11/2013 1:59:06 PM

7.3 hours: The average workday 8 years: The average experience 21 per cent: Earn $81,000-$100,000 $26,000: Average amount of money in savings account 91 per cent own their home 81 per cent have a mortgage 2.2 per cent: The average mortgage rate 57 per cent have their mortgage with a bank 60 per cent use social media daily

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This month’s roundup looks at the most recent data on residential new and resale listings Despite a summer housing market surge, home sale activity slowed in December – sparking a trend back to moderation that is expected to carry on in 2014. “Activity has gradually eased back from stronger than expected levels last summer and is now roughly in line with the 10-year monthly average,” said CREA President Laura Leyser. “We’ll likely continue getting mixed signals in the months ahead, with positive year-over-year comparisons for sales masking the recent moderation in the monthly sales trend.” National home sales fell 1.8 per cent in December over November despite jumping 12.9 per cent above December 2012’s tally. December marked the third straight monthly decline as activity fell a total of 5.2 per cent following September’s peak. 2014’s sales forecast may depend on potential mortgage rule changes, with CREA Chief Economist, Gregory Klump, believing 2014 may benefit from steady job growth. “National sales activity has softened in recent months and is expected in 2014 to remain down from levels reached last September,” said CREA Chief Economist Gregory Klump. “That said, absent further mortgage rule changes, sales in 2014 may surpass the annual total for 2013 if demand holds steady near current levels as a strengthening economy and better job growth offset the impact of further expected marginal mortgage interest rate increases.” Current homeowners will likely rejoice, with the national sales price rising 10.4 per cent year-overyear. The national price of sold homes in December was $389,119.

157.1 per cent NORTHERN LIGHTS


per cent



per cent


However, according to MLS, the Home Price Index is a better indicator of price trends “because it is not affected by changes in the mix of sales activity the way that average price is.” The “Aggregate Composite MLS HPI” rose 4.31 per cent year-over-year. “Year-over-year price growth in the MLS® HPI was mixed across housing markets tracked by the index, led by Calgary (+8.74 per cent) and Greater Toronto (+6.31 per cent),” the report states. “Greater Vancouver recorded a second consecutive year-over-year increase (+2.13 per cent) following more than a year of declines between late 2012 and late 2013.”

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u.s. U.S. housing market worse than thought The number of Americans who bought previously occupied homes rose in October. But the National Association of Realtors says it overstated more than three million sales during and after the Great Recession, showing the housing market was weaker than previously thought. The private trade group says sales rose four per cent in October to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.42 million. That’s below the roughly six million homes a year that economists say are consistent with a healthy housing market. But it’s ahead of 2008’s revised sales, now considered the worst in 13 years. The trade group revised its sales from 2007 to 2010 down 14 per cent, from more than 20.6 million to nearly 17.7 million. Among the reasons for the lower figures, the Realtors group says: changes in the way the Census Bureau collects data, population shifts and some sales being counted twice. The Realtors consulted with government and private housing experts, including the Federal Reserve, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Mortgage Bankers Association, the National per cent Association of Home Builders, mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and CoreLogic, a California-based data firm that first raised doubts about the annual THOMPSON numbers earlier this year. CoreLogic has estimated that the Realtors group overstated sales in 2010 by at least 15 per cent. The changing numbers could affect how economists view the trade group’s data. It could also affect companies that use the figures for hiring and expansion plans. per cent Sales are measured when buyers close on homes. But many deals are collapsing before that point. One-third of Realtors said they had at least one contract BRANTFORD REGION scuttled in October, up from 18 per cent in September. Contracts are being cancelled for several reasons: Banks have declined mortgage applications; home


British Columbia: inspectors have found problems;47appraisals per cent showed a home was worth less than the bid; a buyer Source: lost CREAa job before the closing. More than two years after the recession Alberta: 9.8 per cent for officially ended, many people can’t qualify loans or meet higher down payment requirements. Even those with excellent credit Saskatchewan: and stable jobs are holding off because they fear Percentage of per cent that home prices will keep falling.9.3Sales are also homeownership being hurt by a decline in first-time buyers, who costs, including are critical to reviving the housing market. mortgage payments, Manitoba: Sales have fallen in four of the five years utilities and property 9.1 per cent since the housing boom went bust in 2006. taxes that take up a Declining prices and record-low mortgage rates typical household’s haven’t been enough to boost sales. monthly pre-tax Ontario: has At the same time, home construction 10.2 per cent income in Vancouver begun a gradual comeback and should add to the and Toronto, economy’s growth in 2011 for the first year since respectively (RBC the Great Recession began in 2007. Last month, New Brunswick: Economics Housing builders broke ground on an annual rate of 12.3 per cent Trends and 685,000 homes, the government said recently. Affordability Report) That was a 9.3 per cent jump from October and the fastest pace since April 2010. Nova Scotia: Most economists say home prices will keep 3.3 per cent falling, by at least five per cent, through 2012. Many forecasts don’t foresee a rebound in prices until at least 2013. Prince Edward The high rate of foreclosuresIsland: has made -22.1 per cent resold homes cheaper than new ones. The median price of a new home is roughly 30 per per cent Newfoundland cent above the price of one that’s been occupied andInvestors Labrador: are before – twice the normal markup. per cent -7.5 per cent taking advantage of the discounts. MONCTON The housing market is struggling even Northwest in YARMOUTH as the broader economy has improved Territories: recent months. 0 per cent The economy grew at an annual pace of two per cent in the July-September quarter. Many Yukon: economists expect slightly better growth in the October-December quarter. CMP-7.5 per cent

90.6% 52.1%


Sales Activity

(year-over-year percentage change)










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If 2013 is anything to go by, these broker channel players will heat up 2014


he New Year brings a fresh start for everyone, including those in the broker channel. 2013 saw industry players continue to grapple with the previous year’s mortgage rule changes and the ever-present threat of further action. But it’s fair to say most brokers endured the frustration and emerged relatively unscathed. To be sure, 2014 will provide its own challenges but as one of our “Hot Listers” suggests, brokers and their networks won’t be the only ones “in tough.” We don’t want to reveal too much here, but suffice it to say, the industry players selected for our 2014 Hot List are set to shape their evolving industry this year and beyond. Our list contains some old faces and some new; many of them continue to lead while others are keen to join their ranks. These brokers are not only leaders in their respective companies; they are leaders in the industry. But that’s enough preamble. Your 2014 Hot List awaits.

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Who: Mark Kerzner What: President Where: TMG The Mortgage Group Mark Kerzner’s resume comprises a number of management and executive positions at various mortgage industry companies. He brought this experience and an MBA from the University of Toronto to his role as president with TMG The Mortgage Group in 2009.

Milestones achieved in 2013 • A number of staff and brokers celebrated 10- and 15-year anniversaries with the company • We achieved phenomenal growth in terms of overall production as well as the number of new individuals joining TMG • TMG was named CMP Employer of Choice • TMG founders Debbie and Grant Thomas were recognized for their contribution to the industry and inducted into the CAAMP 2013 Mortgage Hall of Fame

Who: Collin Bruce What: Mortgage Broker Where: Dominion Lending Centres Mortgage Mentors Collin has been a mortgage broker since 2005 and has owned his own Dominion Lending brokerage since 2009. Being DLC’s No. 1 broker in terms of volume and units over the past four years helped Collin bring home CMP’s Mortgage Broker of the Year Award in 2012. Collin’s brokerage, Mortgage Mentors, is home to 30 agents and, together, the team is top five for Dominion Lending Centres in terms of both volume and units.

Forecast for the industry in 2014 Goals for 2014 • With an ongoing company objective to support our brokers by providing the best training and tools in the industry • TMG will continue to achieve its four-year benchmark of exceeding market growth • Our lender relationships are paramount. 2014 is about continuing to work together, understanding consumer challenges, and ultimately, providing home financing solutions to our consumers • TMG will continue to get involved in communities across the country and will raise more than $50,000 for Breakfast Clubs of Canada • TMG has the most talented, dedicated and passionate leadership team in the industry. This is just one small part of a corporate culture that is characterized by “family values” and manifests itself in empathy, support and caring about our brokers and their customers

Forecast for the industry in 2014 “The broker channel has always been and continues to be resilient. Despite the market challenges the industry has faced beginning in 2008 and continuing until today, we have increased market share largely because brokers represent the best solutions for consumers looking for mortgage financing. Arming ourselves with training and support tools are vital to our continued success. I am confident that broker share is going to continue to grow because, in an era of change, Canadians must rely on experts – brokers.”

“We expect 2014 to be a really busy year. The housing market forecast is very strong and being in Alberta we expect big things. With the lenders continuing to tighten lending guidelines, I do worry a bit about smaller offices being able to survive with less diversification of mortgage products. Hopefully the consumer will continue to see the value of strong customer service and product expertise over just selling interest rate alone.”

Milestones achieved in 2013 • Increased his individual volume by over 20 per cent • Increased the brokerage volume by over 15 per cent • Donated over $50,000 to charities

Goals for 2014 • Achieve an individual volume that exceeds $300,000,000 • Achieve an overall brokerage volume that exceeds $550,000,000

“As an industry we also have to find ways to collaborate effectively to bring our message to the Canadian public. I am pleased to be working with an industry committee whose goal is to engage and educate Canadian consumers as to why using a mortgage broker is in their best interest. This initiative is agnostic with respect to brand; rather, it is an opportunity to work as a united front to sell our value proposition against other mortgage channels. Over the course of 2014 we look forward to expanding the committee to include members of other brokerages, associations, lenders and suppliers who share the same vision.” — Mark Kerzner

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We’re so confident you’ll stay with Mortgage Architects that we’ll let you join with no commitment. You’ll love not worrying about your commissions, payroll, technology and compliance. Add our free marketing tools and we know you’ll be saying yes to MA.

JOIN US TODAY! /contact

JANUARY 2014 | 29   © Copyright 2014, Mor tgage Architects Inc., all rights reserved.

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Who: Albert Collu What: President Where: Mortgage Architects Albert joined Mortgage Architects as president in 2013, following a successful stint as president and CEO of Argentum Mortgage and Finance Corp., where he was instrumental in growing the company by $2 billion and adding 500 brokers in two years. Albert attained a business degree from York University and is currently enrolled with the hopes of attaining a law degree from the University of London in England. He has also worked in the mortgage industry in the capacities of national manager with two leading lenders.

Milestones achieved in 2013 • As the President & CEO of Argentum I made a strategic decision to bring Mortgage Architects and Argentum together by way of agreeing to the acquisition of Argentum • This provided both organizations an opportunity to collide incredible strategies and leadership teams to create a formidable company in Mortgage Architects to better position our mortgage brokers for success. • This has catapulted MA to a channel of 1,200 brokers with strong market share

Goals for 2014 • My main aim for 2014 is to continue the incredible momentum we’ve enjoyed with Mortgage Architects in 2013 and to create an identity within our industry so that Mortgage Architects becomes synonymous with an environment known to contribute and assist towards increasing income for its mortgage professionals • Our unique lender/broker strategy is the only living and breathing structure in our business that allows us to give back commissions to our mortgage brokers

Forecast for the industry in 2014 “I don’t have enough space to elaborate, but in sum my forecast is this – I believe most brokers will remain relatively flat but that said I also believe that those who embrace the regulatory changes that have occurred the past two years will reap great rewards. These rewards will be attained by brokers who have widened their appetite and proficiency of alternative mortgages, diversified their revenues and who have implemented existing customer database strategies.”

Who: Alyssa Richard What: Founder What: Alyssa leveraged her business degree from Queen’s University to break into the financial services industry and attain a financial consulting job in the United States with Bain and Company. It was there that she learned about mortgage rate comparison sites and conceived the idea for Following the success of, which is Canada’s No. 1 rate comparison site, Alyssa launched, which helps homebuyers calculate the cost of buying and selling a home.

Forecast for the industry in 2014 “As consumers continue to go online to start their mortgage research, we think it will become increasingly important for brokers to develop a strategy to acquire online leads, either through their own sites, rate sites, etc. The brokers who survive will be the ones who have a strong online presence. We think those who do will play an important part in the mortgage industry, and we’re excited to continue to work with some of the best brokers in Canada next year.”

Milestones achieved in 2013 • This year we launched a refinance centre, a condo guide, and a section on investment property mortgages as well as alternative mortgages • We created more widgets for industry professionals to use on their sites • We also launched ads (and offered ad space) on the site for the first time • We were mentioned by the press more than ever before, and became regular commenters on CTV • Overall, we averaged 250,000 visits per month

Goals for 2014 • We want to solidify our position as the No. 1 mortgage rate site in Canada • We hope to expand our education centre offerings • We also want to build up offerings for alternative mortgages, such as bad credit mortgages, new-to-Canada mortgages, etc. • We plan on doing some offline advertising • Overall, we want to continue to see profitable growth

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Want to know the real value of a property before moving forward with a transaction? Bring an AIC-designated Real Estate Appraiser on board. AACIs and CRAs are the real value experts, providing accurate, up-to-date valuations on all property types based on current and emerging market trends. You’ll thank them—and your clients will thank you.

Find a Real Estate Appraiser in your area by visiting online now.

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Who: Patricia Giankis What: President & CEO Where: ScoreUp Patricia has over 30 years’ experience in the financial services industry on both the banking and mortgage brokering side and, more recently, launched ScoreUp – a credit analysis and education resource. Patricia has lectured at women’s shelters and the YWCA and has provided assistance to community charities.

Milestones achieved in 2013 • CENTUM Financial Group endorsed Score-Up Inc., making our products and services available to thousands of their agents • Signed up International Women’s Leadership Association in New York, which has over 40,000 members • Jamaica National Building Society endorsed Score-Up Inc. and has over 30,000 members • Signed up 30 + licensees and growing every week • Brought Score-Up Inc. to the U.S. by way of opening offices in New York City, Atlanta and Ft. Lauderdale • Featured in the September-October 2013 Success Issue of the Inspirational Woman Magazine in Association with The IWLA • Signed up two super brokers

Goals for 2014 • • • •

Publish a book due out this year Open 10 new offices in the U.S.A. To bring score navigator online to Canada To market and brand product across Canada

Forecast for the industry in 2014 “We feel that the requirement for good credit will become a necessity by most merchants dealing in loans, financing, leasing and credit granting, to name a few. This trend, which we have already experienced by the tightening of the mortgage loan requirement with the B20 rules (and more to come), will cause Canadians to seek out trusted, proven and easy to use credit assistance, credit management and credit education. We forecast that this requirement for good credit will be adopted and become the standard around the world thereby making the need for a credit management and credit education system a must.”

Who: Martin Reid What: President Where: Home Trust Martin was appointed to the position of president for Home Trust Company and its parent, Home Capital Group Inc. in January 2010. He brought 20 years’ experience in the financial services industry to the position of treasurer with Home Trust in 2007. Prior to that, he worked for Deutsche Bank Canada in a number of roles; and Dundee Bank of Canada as managing director, rates and liquidity.

Forecast for the industry in 2014 “Broker penetration will continue to increase as buyers become more aware of the value they bring in this heightened regulatory environment.”

Milestones achieved in 2013 • Home surpassed $1 billion in shareholder equity • We are on target to complete our 16th consecutive year of ROE over 20 per cent • Home assets under administration surpassed $20 billion

Goals for 2014 • Our strategy for 2014 is to continue providing our broker partners with leading-edge service and a “One Stop Shop” product suite that will assist in capturing additional market share within the residential mortgage space • This past year Home has continued to expand in the areas of underwriting personnel, technology and office space, so that we may continue to meet the demands of mortgage brokers across Canada, both in 2014 and beyond

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Who: Gord Appel What: Vice-President Where: TMG The Mortgage Group With 10 years of mortgage experience and over 20 years in sales and customer service, Gord is Vice-President and broker of record for TMG Alberta. He is also the current sitting president of the Alberta Mortgage Brokers Association (AMBA).

Milestones achieved in 2013 • 2013 saw growth in all areas of our business; volume, funding ratios, insurance penetration, agent year-over-year growth and profitability • Volume is up 25 per cent • Funding ratios are up • Insurance pen rates are up 40 per cent • Profitability rate is up 12 per cent

Goals for 2014 • • • • •

It promises to be another busy year AMBA recently launched the best pre-licensing education course in the country The Real Estate Act will be reviewed by the provincial government The potential privatization of the Land Titles Registry The new task force created to help the Provincial and the National Associations work more cohesively and eliminate duplication where possible • Looking forward to the important work our association is undertaking and yet another successful year for TMG in Alberta

Forecast for the industry in 2014 “2014 will be a year of continued change; some good, some bad, and some indifferent. I expect most of the major markets across the country will continue to remain strong, whereas the pockets of weakness will continue to fight for growth. The good brokers will, as always, adapt to the changes in the lending environment; providing their clients with innovative and thoughtful lending solutions. Their clients will be the educated. Theirs will be the advocate(s) for the broker within the marketplace. Change is the new constant; the demand for the innovative, informed broker will strengthen the industry by washing out some of the less committed and/or part-time brokers. The top brokerage houses will continue to focus on their internal client (their brokers) by providing them with the best in technology, marketing and education, allowing both brokerage and broker to stay in the forefront of the flux. Those who can’t afford this investment or don’t focus on their true clients will falter over time. Let us not forget our lending partners. Sadly, in recent years we have seen the relationship between lenders and brokers/brokerages

deteriorate. The feeling of reciprocity (or lack thereof ) can be chalked up to one of “what have you done for me lately”? This, I think we can all agree, is detrimental to both sides of the relationship. I expect both lenders and brokerages will look for creative ways to repair and renew a sense of “partnership” providing better efficiency and support within the industry and inevitably better solutions for not only the originator, but the lender and ultimately the client. Is bigger better? It certainly can be if the corporate culture is one capable of providing that boutique feel while also making available the luxuries previously mentioned (technology, marketing, payroll support etc). This may be a difficult balance to achieve for some of the smaller brokerages without considering making the move to “bigger”; consolidation will continue to be a reality in 2014. The reasons for consolidation have also seen a shift from a focus on volume as the primary driver, to the alignment of culture, efficiency, best practices and sustainability also sharing the spotlight. In short, our industry will get better, faster and stronger as the best and brightest in the broker channel shine.” JANUARY 2014 | 33  

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Who: Gord McCallum What: President Where: First Foundation Residential Mortgages A commerce graduate with distinction from the University of Alberta’s School of Business, Gord has worked hard building First Foundation into a group of companies offering mortgage brokerage services as well as general insurance, life insurance and other financial services. Gord is a former director with the Alberta Mortgage Brokers Association and a consecutive four-time member of CMP’s Top Brokers list. He was also named the Accredited Mortgage Professional of the Year in 2011 by CAAMP.

Who: Dan Eisner What: Founder Where: True North Mortgage A former contestant on CBC’s the Dragons’ Den, Dan has since opened nine of his retail True North Mortgage stores across Canada; from Vancouver to Halifax with a number of offices dotting most major cities in between. True North Mortgage has claimed a number of honours over the years, including; CMP’s Broker of the Year in 2011, CMP Top 75 broker, Profit 200 fastest growing companies from 2010-2013. Eisner, himself, was also named to Avenue Magazine’s “Top 40 under 40” in 2009 and to Business in Calgary’s “Business Leaders of Tomorrow” in 2011.

Forecast for the industry in 2014 “It will be an uphill battle trying to maintain and grow our business as OFSI continues to rewrite the rules of underwriting every few months.”

Milestones achieved in 2013 • Closed over $830 million in mortgages, representing a 20 per cent growth over 2012 • Successfully opened two new stores

Goals for 2014 • Expand by opening more store in cities we currently do not have locations • Develop and grow our newly founded real estate brokerage arm across Canada

Milestones achieved in 2013 • Expanded into Saskatchewan with the acquisition of Highland Mortgage Partners in Regina • Completed our rebranding and redevelopment of • Relaunched the #owngrowprotect blog at • Hosted a number of excellent mortgage industry leaders on Canadian Mortgage Hangout TV #cmhTV • Secured a lease on a prime high-traffic location in Edmonton

Goals for 2014 • Help more people to own a home, grow their wealth, and protect themselves and their loved ones • Increase mortgage client to insurance client conversion rates • 92 per cent funding ratio across all of our lender partners • Grow organically throughout Western Canada • Partner with other like-minded brokerage owners across Canada to increase the asset value of mortgage brokerages; create saleable value in mortgage brokerages where none exist, and give owners a potential exit strategy • Continue to develop leaders within our organization

Forecast for the industry in 2014 • • • • • •

Minor regulatory changes More competition online Some consolidation between firms New business models emerging Increasing rate uncertainty Stronger real estate markets in local areas with job growth and underwriting that reflects this

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Who: Brennan Wood What: Regional VP Where: Mortgage Alliance Commercial Canada Brennan, who holds a J.D., left the legal world in 2008 to focus exclusively on commercial financing across Canada. For most, commercial financing can be daunting but Wood has been around the commercial brokerage roller coaster his entire life. When he saw an opportunity to grow professionally with a new division of Mortgage Alliance he jumped in with two feet and hasn’t looked back. Growth has been exponential and Wood believes it will remain that way as his network across Canada continues to grow.

Forecast for the industry in 2014 “From the commercial perspective there is great opportunity for brokers who dedicate themselves to commercial financing. Lenders continue to impose more confusing rules on borrowers. This confusion increases the demand for quality brokers who are not only able to source but structure loans to meet specific lenders’ changing appetites. As long as brokers are able to provide effective solutions that meet clients’ requirements there will be no shortage of opportunities. Through diligent review of transactions we offer realistic and effective solutions that both borrowers and lenders are happy with.”

Milestones achieved in 2013 • CMP top 10 largest commercial broker list • Top producer with Mortgage Alliance Commercial • Personally: I got engaged!

Goals for 2014 • Continued aggressive growth across the country through strategic partnerships • Top commercial broker in Canada by volume • Access to equity solutions for developers • Close at least one deal in every province

Who: Phil Fiuza What: Managing director, single family mortgages Where: Canadian Mortgage Capital Corp. and Atrium Mortgage Investment Corp. Milestones achieved in 2013 • We launched a single family division in 2013 • We are not interested in competing on pricing to grow receivables quickly • We prioritize a safe risk profile while targeting an eight per cent dividend yield to our shareholders.

Goals for 2014 • Our challenge for 2014 will be building on our current relationships with the existing broker community and enhancing it • Building new relationships is important, but keeping Atrium top of mind with the existing set is top priority. We feel that we have a responsibility for helping to spread the MIC message, that’s why events like the Mortgage Summit are very important to us • Atrium also has offices in Alberta and B.C. Most of the business out west is commercial. We want to expand our residential portfolio in these areas as well. We plan to establish a larger single family presence in the west during 2014 • Hiring more underwriters to increase our underwriting capacity in Ontario and in Western Canada

Forecast for the industry in 2014 “2014 will continue to bring its challenges to the broker channel. Rule changes, tighter underwriting criteria, the fear of a landing (pick one – hard, soft, none at all?). It’s a bit upside down out there when I tour the offices and talk to the agents directly. They are struggling and are frustrated with underwriting policies that some lenders are implementing because “pick and click” underwriting doesn’t really work these days. What I do see is an increase in the quality of the transactions we are getting. When people hear alternative lending, they immediately think bad credit, bankruptcies, high LTVs. Let me tell you, this is not the case. We are seeing applications with quality borrowers and quality real estate.” JANUARY 2014 | 35  

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Who: Gary Mauris What: President Where: Dominion Lending Centres Gary played a central role in creating three national companies from the ground up. Currently, he is active as the president of Dominion Lending Centres.

Forecast for the industry in 2014 • Stable and consistent year from a growth perspective • Not likely to experience significant swings, and interest rates should continue to be low for the foreseeable future, although the rate wars and sub 3 per cent fixed pricing is in the past • Alternative lending space to see greatest uptick due to changing guidelines and new regulatory requirements imposed on lending community • Continued consolidation within broker community • Local associations will struggle to keep membership numbers, as agents and owners grow frustrated with the added costs in duplication of industry events

Who: Calum Ross What: Broker Where: Calum Ross Mortgage (Verico) “There is an old proverb that says, ‘In calm water, every ship has a good captain.’ With the last three rounds of mortgage rule changes now worked into the system and mortgage rate wars compromising profits, there is going to be a lot of people leaving the mortgage sales space. The positive side of this is that more complex rules and tighter lending conditions are both exciting and great news for people who have been committed to improving and evolving with the times. When markets get more challenging there tends to be ‘flight to quality’ where consumers don’t want to work with just any mortgage professional, but instead begin to favour those with track records and formal training. I am excited for the great opportunity to go the extra mile for clients, giving them the tools to navigate the more tumultuous real estate, mortgage, and investment landscape. With every change in market conditions there is increasing opportunity. This will be a year where long-term business planning pays off for those who have anticipated this for some time now.”

Milestones achieved in 2013 • #1 Brokerage in Canada in both volume and number of mortgages funded • DLC Up 6.3 per cent over 2012 • Record Market Share – 17.2 per cent market share among all Canadian brokerages (27 per cent when combined with MCC) • Purchased Mortgage Centre Canada – bringing total annual funded volume to $20 billion • Lender Rankings & Efficiencies – DLC is #1 among 11 of Canada’s Top 20 Lenders; #1 or #2 with 15 of the top 20 lenders (D+H Lender Insight Report)

Goals for 2014 • Continue to drive consumer awareness via consumer direct marketing initiatives such as home show sponsorships, television, radio and PR campaigns, newsletters and education • Build on our social initiatives such as Breakfast for Learning, anti-bullying campaigns and financial literacy • Continue to add products consumers will recognize and value such as unsecured Visa card 36 | JANUARY 2014 line, mortgage insurance and equipment leasing

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Who: Enza Venuto What: Broker Where: CENTUM Streetwise Mortgages “As a principal broker, I recognize that a well-developed customer relationship platform will be crucial to the success of my brokerage model for 2014. Building, finessing and maintaining a solid client relationship has converted leads into more funded mortgages. Our model is not just based on understanding constantly changing mortgage regulations and upholding class leading professionalism, but more on client fulfillment. I find that getting deals completed is not as challenging as making sure that the client is left satisfied. Take the time to get to know your client, understand their needs, and most importantly be there for them as they get to those goals.”

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The Year ahead


Who: Ron Butler

Who: Greg Nowick

reality out there instead of trying What: Broker What: Broker to sell around it, then people will Where: Verico Butler Where: Universal Mortgage Architects trust us.” Mortgage But any efforts the industry may “2014 will be a year of growth and education for our team. Automation and education will be our undertake as a whole will have no will “2014 main focus for the first half of this year with the represent a effect if individual brokers don’t do expectation of an increase in our market share. A challenging year their parts, which means giving large part of a successful business is the reputation it has for our company. Already clients the best value-added service, achieved by continuity in business practice. I believe what sets tightened lender underwriting improving efficiencies and funding us apart is our strength in mortgage standards and future B-21 ratios with lenders, and of course, planning and annual reviews. With mortgage insurer changes of homeowners say they new brokers joining our team this placing clients with the right could lenders shrink the entire year, education is foremost. In order Canadian mortgage origination for their needs. are in a good position to to provide referral sources and new “Focus on the best interestspace. of theStill, Butler Mortgage clients the services they are Inc. has ambitious goals. We client first and foremost,” said weather a potential downexpecting these new team are committed to direct-toTherien. “We are at a crossroads: we Internet marketing members require the education and consumer turn in the housing market either go backmortgage to being rates the person you to not only build their of discounted serviced entirely from our call Source:tools Mortgage Insights: customer base but to also provide go to when the banks say no asthe it was centre. We spent 2013 managing changeover and Highlights from CAAMP’s Fall We 2011like our continuity of business. revamping ouror systems. still trusted have dozens of systems 25 years ago, becomeWe truly consumer andtoindustry surveys clients say, ‘Wow, your help is tweaks and process upgrades to make; changing a 20-yearadvisers to our customer and move up Research Canada) exactly what my friend told me it business model CMP is really hard. We are certain that the future(CAAMP/Martiz toold the next level.” would be.’ Let this be a successful of mortgage marketing is web-based and we must be part of year for all!” that evolution.”



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STRATEGIC NETWORKING You all know the cliché: It’s not what you know, but who you know, writes Doren Aldana; but it may be who knows you that truly matters SECRET #11: THEY PROACTIVELY CREATE A HIGH-POWERED NETWORK OF INFLUENTIAL PEOPLE. Have you ever heard of the saying, “It’s not what you know, but it’s who you know”? Well, let me take that one step further. It’s not just what you know and who you know, but who knows you! Your sphere of influence makes all the difference. Superstar mortgage professionals proactively and strategically target centres of influence (COI’s) who have access to, or a strong relationship with, their target market and have the ability to send loads of high quality referrals. They don’t leave this to chance, but rather intentionally orchestrate ways to get to know these people and make a positive impression. I call this strategic networking.

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“Thank you

for joining us in celebrating

25 years

of shared success.

Here’s to the next 25!” JANUARY 2014 | 39  

Ontario Mortgage Brokerage License No. 10514

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Doren Aldana is considered by many to be Canada’s leading Mortgage Marketing Coach and has won the “Best Industry Service Provider” award two years in a row at the 2012 and 2013 Canadian Mortgage Awards. Since 2005, he has been dedicated to helping mortgage professionals attract more clients with less effort, regardless of market conditions. For a free copy of Doren’s new CD titled, “21 Secrets of Superstar Mortgage Brokers,” visit: www.

The first step in strategic networking is to identify your COI’s -- the types of people who offer the greatest potential for a profitable, win-win alliance. Here’s a powerful question to help you with that: “Who does my ideal client work with, before, during and after they work with me?”

Here’s a partial list of potential COIs: Realtors Financial Planners Insurance Agents Divorce Attorneys Accountants Real Estate Lawyers Wedding Planners You want to make a list of those key COIs and create a strategic networking plan that outlines how you will cultivate those relationships. Devise some type of method to get to know those people. Perhaps you can ask your existing clients or referral partners if they can recommend someone they know, like and trust. Then send them a letter introducing yourself and how you can help add value to their business (beyond the minimum expectation of good rates and great service). Then follow-up by phone and let them know that Mary Sue had recommended them as a top-notch __________ (insert their profession) who

might be open to exploring ways to growing their business through a win-win strategic alliance. Once they confirm this is true, invite them to meet with you for coffee or lunch. At this point, your sole focus is to build trust and show them specific ways you can add value to their life and their clients’ lives. Once you have established a relationship with these influential people, you always want to continue nurturing that relationship by staying in touch on a regular basis. Follow-up is the key to cultivating the mutual trust necessary for long-term, highly profitable, win-win referral alliances. In my coaching program, I teach you, step-by-step, how to supercharge your networking results by handpicking the best, highest leverage, most profitable referral partners to align yourself with. Then I provide you with the intro letters, scripts, tools and systems you need to add massive value to your referral partners so they can’t help but send you all their coveted referrals for life! In next month’s 12th secret, you’ll discover how Superstar mortgage professionals set themselves apart from their competition and position themselves as the only logical choice in their prospect’s mind. Stay tuned...


t 4 t

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Reach over 90% of the broker community Every day of every month CMP and delivers top quality, relevant content that independent mortgage broker professionals use to improve their business - no filler - no fluff.

Maximize your marketing ROI with the leading independent voice of the mortgage brokering industry.

ContaCt: trevor Biggs 416 644 8740 x 236

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Brokers have heard creditor insurance providers expound on the benefits of their product, but will they listen to CMP Top 75 broker Angela Calla’s reasons for embracing it?

Angela Calla

As mortgage professionals, it’s part of your job – and mine – to ensure your clients are protected when buying a home and taking on what is likely the largest debt they’ll ever encounter in their lifetime. Pushing a piece of paper across the table and instructing them to waive creditor insurance – which is what many brokers do – is simply not enough. Brokers have an obligation to work in the best interests of their clients at all times. What happens once they walk out the door? Offering creditor insurance to your clients can help protect them immediately. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t refer your clients to a life insurance agent if you have a great relationship with one and value their offerings. The problem is that very few of your clients will visit the life agent immediately. Life happens, and we all know how many decisions have to be made when buying a home. What are the odds that your client will visit a life insurance agent right away? As soon as clients remove subjects on a purchase contract, they’re on the hook to complete the sale and could be sued if they don’t. It’s much better to get covered right away so the client is protected immediately and if they want to go shop around later they’re free to do so. My creditor insurer, offers

a 60-day money-back guarantee, so if the client cancels in that time the protection actually doesn’t cost them anything. And, after all, if you’re not offering creditor insurance, be advised that the lawyer and lender will likely be offering it.

PORTABILITY An extremely important feature unique to my insurer’s product versus the lender’s creditor insurance is that it’s portable. The lenders purposely sell non-portable insurance products as just one more way to ensure the client stays with them. If one of your clients purchases a non-portable product and is then diagnosed with a disease and will be unable to get insurance anywhere else after the diagnosis, how likely do you think they’ll be to switch lenders even if it’s in their best interest from a mortgage perspective? Beyond a fiduciary responsibility, it’s smart to be strategic and think long-term. You would be doing your clients a huge disservice if you didn’t offer them a fully portable insurance product to which you have direct access. Clients who have portable insurance products can move it with them at renewal and this helps preserve the longevity in your business cycle.

SUPPLEMENTARY OPTION FOR THOSE ALREADY INSURED Many of your clients will also tell you they don’t need creditor life insurance because they’re already insured through work. But did you know that often times this coverage is not nearly enough? Many

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group work life policies provide for just one times a client’s base annual salary. So, a $60,000 base salary would give your client $60,000 in life insurance coverage. That would most likely not be adequate. In addition, many group work disability products only cover the client if they get injured at work, and won’t cover the client outside of work. Be sure to ask your clients how much and exactly what coverage their work policy actually provides so they can make an informed decision on their insurance needs before passing on creditor insurance.

“One question we always ask: If something happened to your spouse and you had to live on one income, could you still make this payment? We look at the opportunity to provide life insurance to our clients as a major responsibility. While payout rates may be low, we do not want to be in a position to advise a spouse that there is no coverage if a tragedy happens.  We have been in that situation and it is not a comfortable situation. We tell our clients that before they decide that this coverage is not needed, or they decide that they cannot afford it, they should really think it through first. We advise them to take the policy for the first few years or so until they get settled and know their expenses.  We remind them that if they cancel within 60 days, they can get fully refunded the paid premiums. In some cases, clients may decide against the coverage because of the cost.  We try to emphasize that the cost is minimal based on the value it may have in the future, but we also emphasize that they can always take a partial coverage as well at a reduced cost.” Danny Allesandrini, The Mortgage Centre Algoma Mortgage

“FOREVER YOUNG” FEATURE MPP is very competitive when compared to other insurance products such as term insurance. Another unique advantage of their life insurance product is that it includes a “Forever Young” feature. This means that if the client takes creditor insurance today and then down the road decides to get a larger mortgage, they get to keep the original amount of their insurance coverage at the age they were when they first applied. Only the additional topped up amount gets priced at the client’s current age, and then the insurer does a blend and extend on the premium. This can save the client a lot of money over time. With level term insurance, however, once the term comes up for renewal the whole amount of the insurance is now re-priced at the client’s current age and it starts to get very expensive as clients get older.

YOU’RE COVERED TOO My insurer of choice has a great track record of

paying claims as all of their medical underwriting is completed up front. If a client wants to apply for insurance, they can leave the medical questions blank and every client who does this will be contacted by a Manulife representative who will go through all of the health questions with the client. This makes the process easy and comfortable for brokers and clients. In addition, my insurer indemnifies brokers. Clients who don’t have coverage when they need it will often sue their mortgage professional for not properly offering the protection. If you’re sued by a client and you consistently offer creditor insurance on every live deal, the insurer will handle all legal action on your behalf and pay for all costs. As long as people have mortgages there is a fit for creditor insurance. There are products out there like MPP, which will also cover HELOCs; proving that the creditor insurance space keeps up with current market trends.

INSURNACE MATTERS BROUGHT TO YOU BY Founded in 1991 and based in Oakville, Ontario, the FCT group of companies provides industryleading title insurance, default solutions and other real-estate-related services. Its customer base is comprised of more than 1,250 lenders, 43,000 legal professionals and 5,000 recovery professionals, as well as real estate agents, mortgage brokers and builders, nationwide. With an emphasis on integrity and thinking differently, FCT offers customers increased efficiency while providing superior protection and customer service. Underwriting expertise, innovative products and services, and an unwavering passion to serve customers are the cornerstones of FCT’s promise of Experience Excellence™. FCT employs over 800 staff from coast-to-coast and provides a work culture where every employee is empowered to be great. The employee-led FCT Charitable Foundation was established in 2012 and provides funds to charities to help alleviate poverty and homelessness, as well as scholarships for the advancement of post secondary education in the communities in which FCT operates. FCT has been recognized by Achievers as one of the 50 most engaged workplaces in Canada since 2012. Experience Excellence with FCT

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AND LESS TAX Brokers continue to grapple with whether to refer clients to insurance brokers, but as Chris Karram of Verico Safebridge Group writes, the services of those experts can extend well beyond the benefits of life vs. creditor insurance A very common discussion around a kitchen table is “I can’t believe how much tax the government took from my paycheque this month.” That’s because Canadians are used to paying upwards of 50 per cent of their annual income back to the government, which means less money in their own pockets. What makes it worse is when one is able to build an asset base that starts to earn interest, dividend or capital gain income on the money they’ve invested. Despite the fact that it feels good to know your portfolio is growing, it is easy to become disheartened when you realize that a good chunk of your profit is going to disappear forever. The best known way to minimize the tax bill incurred on the growth of one’s portfolio is an RRSP. Just about every Canadian understands how their RRSP works, or at least the concept of how it works, but their tax planning seems to stop there. A very common misconception is that an RRSP

Save $1,000 per month, in a 46.41% tax bracket


RRSP $601.547

Those choosing a Universal Life Policy stand to put away over $1 million, compared to the traditional RRSP route of $601.547.

is the only option when it comes to saving towards one’s retirement in a tax-preferred way. Thankfully, Canadians have more then one tax-preferred vehicle available, but choosing the best financial product for your situation takes some planning since different types serve different functions. One specific vehicle that has been around for many decades is a permanent life insurance policy such as whole life or universal life. These two forms of life insurance have been used by many Canadians to protect their families from an unexpected death, the same way other life insurance products do. But what can be amazing about these policies are the tax advantages that come with owning them. In fact, many of Canada’s wealthiest people have used these types of insurance policies to shelter their investment income from tax despite the fact that they already had enough life insurance.

HOW IT WORKS A permanent life insurance policy is generally made up of two components. The first is the obvious death benefit, which is the value that is paid out to the beneficiary upon the death of the life insured. The second component is the cash value, which is very similar to that of a traditional mutual fund. The difference, however is that any money invested inside of a life insurance policy can allow the policyholder to accumulate cash values, within certain regulatory limits, without paying income tax on the growth. What’s more, the cash values inside of your policy can be accessed to supplement a retirement income through a policy loan, partial surrender or loan strategy that can actually create

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the equivalent of a tax-free income stream when needed. There are no age limits as to when or if you have to withdraw your cash value, and the “MTAR,” or “contribution limit,” is in no way connected to your income, but rather to your actual “cost of insurance.” If you want to invest more than the contribution limit allows, simply increase the size of your death benefit and away you go. However, it is important to note that straight cash withdrawals are subject to taxation based on the rates and rules in effect at the time you withdraw the funds.

WHO BENEFITS? Canadians who have maximized their RRSP contributions and are looking for an alternative method to save for their retirement are in a great position to take advantage of this tax-preferred life insurance vehicle. As well, those who are interested in protecting their assets from creditors or personal liability could very well be a great fit for a taxadvantaged life insurance policy.

HOW ABOUT AN EXAMPLE? There are different types of structures and products available within the permanent life insurance category. For the purpose of our example, we will

look at a non-smoking male, age 35, who is looking to a buy a $1-million universal life insurance policy, and we will assume an annual return of only 6 per cent (if the markets perform better than that, your cash values will be even higher). Let’s assume this individual was in a position to save $1,000 per month in addition to his monthly or annual RRSP deposits. If he were in a 46.41 per cent tax bracket, he would be left with a total of $601,547 after taxes at the age of 65. In comparison, if he were to invest that same $1,000 per month into the above mentioned universal life insurance policy, he would end up with a whopping cash value of $1,068,282! What’s more, if he wanted to prolong when he would start to withdraw his RRSP savings until the age of 69, he could draw an annual income of $85,808 from age 60 to 69. Let’s not forget that this is while time our “client” owned and continues to own a milliondollar life insurance policy. As demonstrated, there are definitely many unique strategies available to Canadians when it comes to saving for their retirement, while minimizing their tax bill. The key to finding the right solution is to walk through the appropriate financial planning process to better define which product, or combination of products, is best suited for you.

Chris Karram (far right), partner Elisseos Iriotakis (centre) and Drew Donaldson advise some of Canada’s wealthiest individuals on tax savings. About the writer: Karram is the founding principal and financial consultant with Safebridge Financial Group & Investment Planning Counsel.

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Residential title insurance The key to outshining the competition

As you know, borrowers look to you as a niche expert — an expert with the ability to find the products and rates that best meet their mortgage financing needs through your vast network of contacts. Your job is to save your clients both time and money, while providing them with a differentiated experience. This can be increasingly difficult in today’s market and competitive landscape. What you may not know, however, is that title insurance can offer you a convenient and costeffective means of achieving all of the above. What’s more, when you partner with a provider that offers a history of customer-focused service, superior claim-paying and innovative, customized products, you afford yourself greater opportunities to gain valuable referrals and new business.

LET EXPERIENCE WORK FOR YOU After decades of experience in the real estate market, established title insurance providers understand your industry and the lending processing model inside and out. They also understand the key role a broker can play within it. Furthermore, several of the larger providers within Canada have created exclusive programs to allow for a more convenient and hassle-free process. When title insurance is built into that process, the advantages are even greater and can help you to:

•• •• •• •• •• •• ••

Get the deal Deliver an exceptional client experience Save your client money Close the deal faster Better inform your clients Acquire new business Deepen relationships

Title insurance helps you to constantly maintain momentum in every one of your transactions.

PROVIDE COMPREHENSIVE PROTECTION AND CONVENIENCE Title insurance for residential properties can protect both lenders and homeowners from errors, omissions and/or defects in the title of a property, as well as title-related fraud or forgery. For a onetime upfront premium, coverage remains in effect for the lender until it discharges its mortgage and 46 | JANUARY 2014

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in the case of a homeowner, for as long as the owner retains an interest in the property. Title insurance can also eliminate the need for costly searches while satisfying the requirements of property owners and lenders. When title insured, your deals are more likely to close on time when both unknown and known defects* are covered, such as:

•• Mortgage priority •• Invalidity or unenforceability of the insured mortgage on title •• Title fraud and forgery •• Lack of permits •• Unmarketability of title •• Covered risks that arise during the registration “gap” •• Defects that would have been revealed by an up-to-date survey, Real Property Report or Building Location Certificate •• Post-policy risks, such as post-policy forgery of title documents and future encroachments from adjoining lands, etc. •• Water potability for lenders By advising your clients to order both lender and homeowner policies during a purchase transaction, you will ensure that everyone is covered and you are seen as a trusted advisor. Some providers even offer the second policy at a significantly discounted rate when both policies are ordered at the same time. * Known defects must be disclosed to the title insurer and coverage provided would be subject to underwriting.

MAKE TITLE INSURANCE PART OF YOUR SUCCESS If you’d like to learn more about benefits of title insurance, please contact FCT today.

ABOUT FCT Founded in 1991, the FCT group of companies is based in Oakville, Ont, and has over 800 employees across the country. The group provides industryleading title insurance, default solutions and other real-estate-related products and services to approximately 1,250 lenders, 43,000 legal professionals and 5,000 recovery professionals, as

well as real estate agents, mortgage brokers and builders, nationwide. For more information on FCT, please visit the company website at

IT’S NOT WORTH THE RISK Consider these real-life claims stories where title insurance provided both protection and a timely resolution.

Lack of building permits

Insured homeowners received a letter from the municipality advising them that their deck, deck addition and deck roof, as well as the basement development in their recently purchased home were constructed without building permits. As a result, the municipality demanded that the proper building permits be obtained for the basement development, and that the deck, its addition and roof, be removed. The cost of complying with these requirements was significant and amounted to over $50 thousand. Because the homeowners had a title insurance policy which insured against losses related to enforced removal or remediation due to lack of building permits, they were covered and didn’t have to pay any of the costs related to the city’s order.

Mortgage enforceability

An insured lender had issued a mortgage for just under $1M to a husband and wife. When the mortgage went into arrears and the lender attempted to contact the mortgagors, the wife advised the lender that she and her husband were currently in the middle of a highly contested divorce settlement and that she had, in fact, never signed any mortgage documents. Because it was arranged without her knowledge or consent, she claimed that the mortgage was unenforceable. Since the lender had insisted on the mortgage being titled insured when they approved funding, the legal costs of defending the enforceability of the mortgage and the loss as a result of negotiating a settlement with the wife were covered by the title insurance provider. Insurance by FCT Insurance Company Ltd.  Services by First Canadian Title Company Limited. The services company does not provide insurance products.  This material is intended to provide general information only with respect to FCT and makes no representation of any other title insurer.  For specific coverage and exclusions, refer to the applicable policy.  Copies are available upon request.  Some products/services may vary by province.  Prices and products/services offered are subject to change without notice.

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ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION CMP assembled a panel of mortgage network heads for frank talk on today’s hot topics. Sometimes impassioned, always respectful -the four leaders bounced the issues back and forth, each bringing a unique perspective. What follows is a written snapshot of some of the highlights from that one-and-a-half hour discussion

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The panel members are: Broker network consolidation may well be the buzz word for 2014. Some of you around the table were active participants in that process for 2013 while others observed from a distance. What are the very real benefits to what we’re seeing in terms of that consolidation – both for brokers and their clients? What are the potential ramifications for both parties, especially if we see more consolidation in 2014?


Albert Collu: I don’t know whether I can narrow it down as being good for the consumer or good for the industry, but I can say in my particular case it was good for my strategic plan. I think you’re going to see consolidation by virtue of a number of variables, the most obvious being that we’ve got an environment of shrinking margins and as such you’ve got to be more prudent and efficient in your business plans. That being said, in our particular case, the bringing together of Argentum and MA, it was really an opportunity to catapult the larger strategy, which is unique because of our broker-lender model. Mark Kerzner: My impression is that there hasn’t been more consolidation in the last year than there has been in the last 15. Whether it’s good or bad? I believe from a business sense, when it makes sense for parties to come together there has to be value on both sides of the equation. The fact that there is consolidation speaks well to our industry and means it is an attractive industry for both the acquiring party as well as the parties that are joining those more established organizations. Ron De Silva: Across the board, I think this is purely opportunities for certain organizations to get to a certain critical mass, where they may be in a position to leverage their size to get lending partners to perhaps to be more flexible in how they look at the organization. There is no value for the front-end broker or consumer; it’s the bottom line for the organizations. Paul Therien: Ultimately, you make a decision based on what’s best for the business. Does it impact the consumer? It does in some ways, but in most cases you can accommodate for that with different service levels, if you don’t have two companies merging that are exactly the same, which is rare. Usually one offers something that the other doesn’t and it brings about a better value.

Albert Collu Mortgage Architects

Mark Kerzner TMG The Mortgage Group

Ron De Silva RMA

Paul Therien CENTUM

Moderator: Chris Karram Verico Safebridge Financial

In Ontario, we’re facing another round of relicensing and the mandatory continuing education that comes with it. We saw thousands of agents leave the industry last time, in Ontario alone. Market conditions and more stringent relicensing caught the blame for the exodus. What can we expect this year at relicensing in terms of a broker cull? What percentage of agents can we expect to lose and does that represent a gain or a loss for the industry? And will we still face a situation where the supply of brokers outweighs demand for their services?


MK: We’re going to see 20-25 per cent of people in Ontario not renew their licences and that’s a good thing. We have a huge opportunity within the industry and within our own companies of people who are already licensed whom we can mentor. There are enough people in the bucket so to speak that we can work with to bring up the curve. The accountability rests with our organization to bring in the right people. RD: If the real estate industry has a 90 per cent churn on relicensing, how are we any different? We’re not. The brand rests with the individual in our business just like their businesses do. Will we ever change that? A lot of things have to change before that metric is going to change significantly, and that includes consumer perceptions. Even by working with your people and investing money in them, you’re still going to lose 25 per cent of those individuals come relicensing time just like everybody else in Ontario and that’s a challenge.

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MK: So many cross-sell opportunities are presented in our industry as revenue fillers. And if you don’t start with the consumer first and our ability to fill that consumer need, then we’re done. For some people, they’ve built that trusted adviser relationship with those consumers and they’re able to offer them products and programs outside of traditional mortgage lending products and if that serves the needs of those consumers, then great. A strong value proposition is going back to non-prime and commercial mortgages.

Watch out for the video presentation set to appear on

PT: If I’m not successful, is it my fault because I’m new to the industry and I haven’t received the support? Whose fault is it when the sales people aren’t successful? There has to be joint accountability. An effective sales manager coaches and teaches their agents and works them through, regardless of industry forces, how to be successful. We have a lot of brokerage owners doing deals. If I’m out doing deals when do I have time to be an effective sales manager? AC: I don’t think enough people take their roles as team leaders seriously. I think you have individuals who build teams because their business has gone down and haven’t the foggiest idea as to why, so the best way to increase income is to recruit anyone with a pulse. Another reason is that there is some brokering/lending behaviour that has put pressure in other areas where people need to see volume and all of it starts with leadership. If we’re going to tolerate this behaviour then shame on us. I’m shocked by the number of people who enter our business and don’t even have a business plan. Forecasts for Canadian home sales in 2014 are for no significant growth if we experience any growth at all. That places greater emphasis on referrals and refis, et cetera. But what do you think about brokers opting to diversify their revenue streams outside originations to areas such as insurance, financial advisory and syndicate mortgages? What if any danger is there in adopting a jack-of-all-trades business model?


RD: The professional mortgage adviser, as a role, is absolutely the one that will benefit and be able to take advantage of these ancillary products. “What else can you do for me?” is not a question that every broker hears, because they don’t take the time to inform the client of who they are and what they do and therefore they aren’t able to get to that level of trust. Once you get that trust, all these other products become relevant. PT: Those ancillary products are great as long as we don’t lose sight of our core business and as long as they benefit and help our consumers when they’re dealing with us for their consumer finance, whether it be insurance or something else. If I have a client and they’re really happy with me as a mortgage broker, and I also have ancillary services, it’s an opportunity to retain them as a customer. AC: What resonates with me is that good brokers, somewhere along the line, have built some trust and if you can bolt on ancillary products that stay within that value proposition that happens to be best for that particular consumer, such as a creditor insurance product, that is wonderful. Part of the problem is that we have commoditized ourselves and we’re not building that trust with consumers in a lot of cases – it’s very transactional. We can talk about having these other products, but at the end of the day we’re not even doing a very good job of selling the mortgage properly. If we can increase the proficiency of what we do as the core deliverable, then maybe ancillary products make sense. Right now, I don’t know that our channel is prepared to add ancillary products effectively.

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Sally and Jim were so moved by the CHIP Home Income Plan they fell out of their rocking chairs.

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We are continuing to grapple with loss of some big lender names — names that have left the channel, if not the business of mortgage lending. We’ve also seen changes to the compensation models for some of those still left in the channel. Mr. Collu, you for one, have argued volume bonuses have the potential, perhaps, of effectively taking the brokering out of brokering. But what is the correct balance between using volume bonuses and efficiency as a yardstick for brokers? And what is the correct role for volume pooling?


AC:Lenders arbitrarily drawing an iron curtain and cutting off brokers who don’t do a certain volume is flying in the face of what we’re trying to do, which is growing the industry, attracting the right people to the industry and doing right by the consumer. The behaviour we have put in place right now is not encouraging to brokers to put the best product in front of the client. I don’t think we restrict access; I think you clearly reward those that, are empowering the lender, but in between that there is a consistent variable that must be in place and that is you are responsible for closing at a satisfactory level. Saying “no” is far more expensive than saying “yes” for a lender and brokers need to appreciate that. MK: I’m not sure it’s a relevant question anymore. The question should be how we protect the total

compensation available? How can we work with lenders? We treat them like customers. If we don’t, how are we going to build the model we want? And I don’t want to see a singular model across all the lenders, but there has to be accountability. If we’ve got models on our side that can meet the lenders’ needs, then I don’t think we need to do away with pooling, I just think there needs to be that accountability piece to that. And if we can drive the efficiencies and provide the volume lenders want, it benefits the consumers because we’ve got access to choice. RD: They put a process in place to increase efficiencies, but the reverse has occurred because there is no accountability. PT: I don’t think there are any issues with pooling if it’s managed effectively. We’re in an industry where compensation is important and you want encourage relationships – we’re a relationship-based industry. The issue I do have is with minimum volume requirements because what it does is take away choice from the consumer by enticing the broker to submit the deal to you for the wrong reason. The reason it goes to the lender should be because I consulted with my client and it is the best place for my client to go. It shouldn’t be based on a broker’s status level with a particular lender.


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12/19/2013 PMPM 28/01/201412:57:24 3:26:59


HOUSING MARKET PRESSURES A country’s cost of living can have a major impact on its property market. As goods and services get more expensive, potential house hunters begin to think about holding off on that property purchase and avoiding taking on mortgage debt. The good news, however, is that – while consumer prices are expected to have risen on average by 1.5 per cent in Canada over the course of 2013, according to IMF estimates – things could be a lot worse. Belarus, for example, suffered a staggering average consumer price increase of 59.2% in 2012, making its predicted figure of 20.5% for 2013 something of a respite. Troubled neighbouring states Sudan (35.5%) and South Sudan (45.1%) also saw consumer prices skyrocket over the course of 2012, while Iran (30.6%), Ethiopia (22.8%) and Malawi (21.3%) also saw worryingly large average consumer price increases.

CANADA 2012: 1.5% 2013*: 1.5%


2012: 2.8% 2013*: 2.7%

FRANCE 2012: 2% 2013*: 1.6%


2012: 2.1% 2013*: 1.8%


2012: 2012: 2.4% 2.4% 2013: 2013*:1.9%* 1.9%

PORTUGAL 2012: 2.8% 2013*: 0.7%

SWITZERLAND VENEZUELA 2012: 21.1% 2013*: 27.3%

ARGENTINA 2012: 10% 2013*: 9.8%

2012: -0.7% 2013*: -0.2%


2012: 3.3% 2013*: 2%


2012: 5.4% 2013*: 6.1%


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Source: IMF World Economic Outlook


2012: 5.1% 2013*: 6.9%

GERMANY 2012: 2.1% 2013*: 1.6%





2012: 59.2% 2013*: 20.5%

2012: 2.6% 2013*: 3%

2012: 1% 2013*: 0.8%

2012: 0% 2013*: 0.1%


2012: 30.6% 2013*: 27.2%

ETHIOPIA 2012: 22.8% 2013*: 8.3%

HONG KONG 2012: 4.1% 2013*: 3.5%


2012: 9.3% 2013*: 10.8%


2012: 35.5% 2013*: 28.4%


SINGAPORE 2012: 4.6% 2013*: 4%

2012: 45.1% 2013*: 15.5%

MALAWI 2012: 21.3% 2013*: 8.1%

AUSTRALIA 2012: 1.8% 2013*: 2.5%

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MAY BE FREE Here’s a little irony for brokers helping direct hundreds of thousands of dollars in client investment: A no-cost SEO strategy may be the best way of growing your outreach and your revenue for 2014, writes industry expert Maggie Crowley

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When clients type your name or firm into Google (or any search engine), what do they find? The answer to that question, and what happens next in the seconds following, can have a huge impact on your success as an advisor. Chris O’Neill, director of Google Canada, knows. Some 86 per cent of Canadians do research online to get more information about products and services before they buy. That means, he says, your prospects, referrals and even clients are going online to learn more about you, your services and how you can help them. The rub for brokers is those prospects, referrals and clients take very little time to arrive at conclusion about you — one that may or may not accrue to your advantage. When visitors arrive to your website they make a quick judgement about your firm — is this company trustworthy, professional and stable? Psychologists call this unconscious decision “the trust factor” and say it take no more than three seconds to formulate. If your website makes a negative first impression, visitors are likely to leave and not return. So, what’s worse than being found online and creating a poor first impression with a bad website? Not being found online at all. Firms without an online presence virtually do not exist to the 30 million-plus Canadians doing research online. Every website on the Internet has a goal of ranking No. 1 for related search terms, but very few succeed. While your site doesn’t need to rank on top to generate traffic, it’s vital that it appears on the first page of a search engine’s results page because searchers rarely scroll past the first page of results. Full disclosure: you can buy a winning, first-place spot using pay-per-click advertisements but Internet users are about 40 per cent more likely to click on organic results (translation: links that are not paid for). How can you make sure your advisor website ranks organically in search engine results? The answer is all about search engine optimization (or SEO) and if that’s a term that scares you, you’re not alone. Many brokers are uncomfortable with the concept for one underlying reason: a lack of knowledge and understanding of what SEO is and how it works. So, here’s my attempt at explaining the func-

“Search engines favour websites with more inbound links and give them a higher ranking” tionality of SEO and how to improve your broker website’s search ranking. Search Engine Optimization is the process of improving the visibility of a website on a search engine’s results page. The earlier and more frequently a site appears in the search results list, the more visitors it will receive. Two key factors come into play in order to improve your broker website’s SEO: off-page SEO and on-page SEO. Off-page SEO refers to optimization strategies outside of your website’s design. The biggest element in off-page SEO is getting other quality websites to link back to your site. Conversely, on-page SEO consists of strategically placing your most important keywords within the content elements of your actual website pages.



Search engines rank websites that they believe are authoritative and relevant. One way search engines measure relevance is by analyzing content on a website based on the number and quality of other webpages that link back to it. Think of it like votes: each link back to your website counts as one vote; the website with the most votes gets ranked higher by search engines, and finally, as a result, the site is more likely to appear first on the results page (and, ultimately, win more traffic). Search engines favour websites with more inbound links and give them a higher ranking. The more inbound links you have, the more important and relevant your site must be, thus, the higher you’ll rank. Because link building is mostly out of your control, it isn’t an easy feat. But when it’s done right, it’s worth the work and creates very lucrative results for your advisory firm. So, how do you increase the number of websites that link back to your site? Here are ideas you can use to take action:

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TAKE ACTION Create high-quality content that others find valuable and useful. When visitors find information that is helpful and relevant, they are likely to share it. When people begin sharing links to your high-quality content, your website becomes relevant to search engines. The easiest way to share valuable content on your website is in the form of a blog.


Begin guest-blogging. Seek out opportunities to write articles for well-established online publications. Your audience will begin to view you as an expert and you’ll naturally create buzz around yourself and your site. (Don’t forget to include a link back to your advisor website – it will fit nicely with your bio).


Submit your website to online directories. This is an easy one. Even online directories like the Better Business Bureau and count. Another quick win: make sure all of your social media outlets link back to your site.


the content of a website dramatically enhances the odds of ranking higher in the search engine results page. Tie the keywords in with local terms in your page titles, URLs, tags, pages and blog posts. The best way of deciding which keywords to target is to imagine yourself searching for a broker using Google. Think about what words and/or search phrases you would use. Get into the mind of your audience: think about the jargon it uses as well as its problems, interests, associates, locations, education level and more. If you’re having trouble getting in that headspace, Google can help. Begin typing your search terms into the search box, and let the search engine recommend some long-tail variations:



Maggie Crowley Is the B.C.-based digital marketing coordinator at AdvisorWebsites. com. The firm is focused on delivering websites that push the boundaries on online presence for financial industry professionals through tracking, analytics and content management.

The other part of SEO takes place within the pages of your website. Properly optimizing your on-page search engine ranking takes time and consistency. One of the simplest, yet most important, ways to improve your search engine ranking is to optimize the keywords within your website content. What’s a keyword? Here’s an easy definition of the term: Keyword: a search term typed into Google (or any other search engine) that searchers use to describe what they’re looking for. The most important place to include keywords is naturally throughout the content of your site (including your blog). Google uses those search words (or keywords) to identify what people are looking for online. From there, the search engine works to match a searcher’s keywords with those keywords used within websites (like yours) to determine the ranking of search results. When marketers use the term “long-tail keywords,” they are talking about a very targeted search phrase that contains at least three words. Long-tail keywords are what searchers actually type into Google when performing a search. Here’s an example: Keyword: broker; money; planning Long tail keywords: how to find a broker; brokers in Toronto; tips from a mortgage broker. Using specific and descriptive keywords within

Now that we know how and why SEO is important, how can brokers put it into practice? The number one way to increase your SEO strategy is to start a blog. Blogging helps advisors establish online credibility by sharing high-quality information that both search engines and your target audience love. In fact, companies that blog receive about 55 per cent more website traffic than companies that don’t blog, in part because of the huge impact blogging has on high search engine ranking. In our next article we’ll outline more benefits of creating and maintaining a financial blog and its relationship with SEO. BLOG VS. NO BLOG



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Dominion Lending Centres and the broker channel are mourning the loss of broker John Dearin, but also remembering the industry veteran and his insightful comments on John was born October 7, 1957, and he passed away December 22, 2013. A licenced broker for 11 years, John spent the past four and a half with DLC. Dearin was without a doubt one of the most dedicated commenters in history. Below is but a sampling of his insightful and entertaining quips. We’ve also included a small sampling of reader condolences.

DEARIN ON LOYALTY AGREEMENTS We have lost deals back to the bank after getting a rate 75bps below what the client was originally offered. The bank only matched ours, no difference in the terms, it was just “easier to stay with the bank.” I had one client say the CIBC girl told her to go rate shop with a mortgage broker and if she could get a better rate in writing she would have the evidence to go to her manager and match. What kind of person goes out and does the banker’s job, has me do hours of work, then stays with the bank? My comment to them is simple: The bank tried to rob you of your hard-earned money. I worked hard to save you money, and then you are staying with the bank that tried to rob you?

DEARIN ON HOUSING BUBBLE FEARS Ever notice that when the government releases statistics on anything, the byline is the “estimators’ missed by 20 – 50 per cent. That goes for the employment rate and mortgage rates. Seven years ago I listened to these guys that interest rates were going to take off so I locked into a five-year rate for the first time in my life...I was always in an adjustable rate. Six months later the rates tanked. Flip a three-sided coin and you will get a better guess at what is going to happen next month than the

I had the opportunity to meet John and speak with him on a number of occasions. I always walked away with the feeling for his passion and spirit of our industry, which will now have a void to fill. Condolences go out to his family, his friends, his co-workers and our industry on the loss. Lee Perry Oh wow! John used to post here regularly. My deepest condolences to his family and colleagues! =( Lior Hershkovitz I will miss John very much. Always a joy to be around and passionate about his career! Veronica LoveAlexander John Dearin was an honest, forthright, passionate and always deeply humane poster on this site and others. I never met the man but wish I had. My condolences to his family. Ron Butler

In the pic from left to right: Rob English, John Dearin, Kyra Wong, Bev English, Veronica Love-Alexander, Richard Pike and Cynthia Kramer

professions offer. P.S. I have been betting on a housing bubble for seven years. Never invested as I watched a bunch of my business clients flip and profit. Maybe next year.

DEARIN ON DRESS CODES Jeans and T-shirts are not condoned in our office. Had an agent that felt jeans, ripped jeans at that, were the style of the day. We suggested he open his own brokerage and set the style there. Don’t know what he is doing these days.

DEARIN ON ANONYMOUS MBN POSTERS I generally don`t read posts by anonymous posters anyway and the few that I have read get zero weight … My review noted most anonymous posts here are full of sarcasm, innuendos, personal and corporate attacks. In my opinion, they add very little to the conversation.



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Favourite things

Shamila Khan, Mortgage Agent with Real Mortgage Associates Favourite Book: The Monk Who Sold his Ferrari (by Robin S. Sharma) has an unusual name, but it’s a novel that has great motivational messages running through each chapter. For me, it’s a tool that has assisted me in making my career successful and motivated me to persevere, to become a successful mortgage agent. Favourite Music: Calypso, I would have to say, is my favourite genre of music because of the fluid sounds, the messages sent throughout the music and the calming vibes. Favourite Celebrity: Keanu Reeves because he has a certain originality factor that applies to him, making him one of the most unique actors in the industry.

Favourite Food: Every now and then, I do indulge in a chocolate truffle cake. This is a big stress reliever when trying to deal with the work that comes with being a mortgage agent. Favourite Drink: Mai Tai is a Polynesian-style beverage that is typically rum served on the rocks. The Mai Tai isn’t a quite a subtle drink, but it is a relaxing drink after one of those hard days at work. Favourite Mortgage Product: The variable-rate mortgage is my favourite mortgage product because of the increased flexibility for clients

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Favourite Sport: This may come as a surprise given the stereotype that females are not into sports, but I would have to say (mixed martial arts) is indeed one of my favourite sports for multiple reasons. I would have to say that the aggressiveness that is shown throughout each match is something that I carry out and use in my career to become a successful mortgage agent.

Favourite Vacation Spot: Belize is definitely my favourite vacation spot because it has nice scenery and is very relaxing because of the diversity of different cultures. It always keeps you involved and interested.

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Genworth Financial Canada Ph: 1 800 511 8888 Outside Back Cover

HomEquity Bank Ph: 1 866 522 2447 Page 51 Non-Bank Lenders

First Canadian Title Ph: 1 800 307 0370 Page 41

Atrium Mortgage Investment Corporation Ph: 416 867 1053 Page 21 First National Financial LP Ph: 416 593 1100 Page 39

Broker Networks

RMAI Financial Group Ph: 1 866 955 7624 Page 23 Commercial Lenders

Axiom Mortgage Partners Ph: 1 866 504 0516 Page 7

Home Trust Ph: 1 877 903 2133 Page 53

Centum Financial Group Inc. Ph: 1 604 257 3940 Page 5 Dominion Lending Centres Ph: 1 888 806 8080 Page 15

Peoples Trust Ph: 1 800 663 0324 Page 6

Sherwood Mortgage Group Ph: 416 241 6000 Page 13

Radius Financial Ph: 1 877 369 6398 Inside Front Cover

The Mortgage Centre Ph: 1 800 423 0107 Page 17

Tribecca Finance Corporation Ph: 416 225 6900 Page 63 V.W.R Capital Corp Ph: 1 866 907 5407 Page 9

Mortgage Architects Ph: 1 877 802 9100 Page 29


Home Loans Canada Ph: 1 866 452 1821 Page 3

ROMSPEN Investment Corporation Ph: 1 800 494 0389 Page 1 Technology & Software

Marlborough Stirling Canada Ph: 1 877 626 2022 Page 2 Credit Repair

Score-Up Ph: 416 479 9585 Page 11 Services

Canadian National Association of Real Estate Appraisers Ph: 1 888 399 3366 Page 25 Appraisal Institute of Canada Ph: 613 234 6533 Page 31 Best Points Travel Ph: 1 800 551 8786 Ph: 416 251 9944 Page 37

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Let Platinum Service from FCT help you outshine the competition. For more information, call 1.866.465.9120 today.


Residential Lending Solutions

* Results are based on an independent survey conducted by FCT. ** Not available in BC or QC All third party logos are used with permission and under license. Insurance by FCT Insurance Company Ltd. Services by First Canadian Title Company Limited. The services company does not provide insurance products. This material is intended to provide general information only. For specific coverage and exclusions, refer to the applicable policy. Copies are available upon request. Some products/services may vary by province. Prices and products/services offered are subject to change without notice. ÂŽ Registered Trademark of First American Financial Corporation. Advertorial 1 65_IBC.inddCMP_v7.indd 65

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We’ve got the strategy for your success. Genworth Canada makes homeownership easier by providing a complete suite of mortgage planning tools and homeownership education resources at The recently redesigned website is loaded with new features to help mortgage professionals access and share information quickly. Find useful tools like home buying calculators, marketing programs and accredited training to help you grow your business.

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The HOMEOWNERSHIP Company Š 2013 Genworth MI Canada Inc.

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CMP 9.01  

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