CMP 13.12

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BDMs 2018

Brokers name 43 business development managers who consistently go out of their way to help borrowers HOW DO YOU MEASURE UP?

CMP reveals what the average Canadian broker earns, wears, drives and more


Three things you need to consider when it comes to data storage

AVENUE FOR DIVERSIFICATION How to add life insurance to your arsenal of products

ISSUE 13.12



Brokers told CMP which business development partners are the best in the Canadian mortgage industry


BDMs 2018

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ISSUE 13.12

CONNECT WITH US Got a story or suggestion, or just want to find out some more information?




04 Editorial

The pros and cons of joining a network




In an age of heightened awareness about data, what should you know about where client data is stored?


06 Statistics

Rising rates have homebuyers more worried than ever

08 Head to head

How will Canadian brokers be affected by the new International Mortgage Broker Federation?

10 News analysis

The Fortress Real Developments scandal rages on

12 Technology update

M3 Mortgage Group ups the ante on technology for brokers

14 Broker update

Why aren’t more borrowers switching lenders at renewal?


BROKER LIFESTYLE SURVEY CMP asked your peers everything you’ve always wanted to know: how much they make, what kind of car they drive, how much vacation time they take and more





A closer look at a certification that equips brokers to sell life insurance

First National’s Doreen Walsh was all set for a career in law – but then she discovered the mortgage industry

16 Opinion

Simple ways to bolster your Realtor partnerships

FEATURES 74 How to give feedback

Follow these five steps to deliver criticism that’s well received

PEOPLE 62 Broker insight

Asim Ali reveals how he’s managed to climb to $100 million in volume in just a few years as a broker

78 Career path

18 2

Michael James applies his rugby background to the mortgage industry


Set sail with mortgage exec and boat restorer Robert Gascon




How to ensure you’re fairly compensated for the time you spend on a commercial deal

80 Other life




To join or not to join?


midst a backdrop of network consolidation, debate is brewing in the mortgage industry about whether brokerages should join large networks or remain independent. The answer to that question is both simple and complicated. First, either option will depend on the brokerage. Many brokerages out there simply need to be under a network umbrella for the sake of their survival, and they reap benefits. In an ultra-competitive and increasingly regulated industry, too many brokerages out there are struggling to stay afloat. Garnering access to the vast tools and resources proffered by networks can drastically reduce expenses for a lot of brokerages, especially those in smaller markets where annual sales volumes can sometimes be paltry. Moreover, according to one broker CMP spoke to, having a network’s logo on his business card affords him more credibility in clients’ eyes. Canada’s mortgage

In an ultra-competitive and increasingly regulated industry, too many brokerages out there are struggling to stay afloat networks reinvest in their own support structures and develop better technologies, attract new partners, and offer consumers enticing products, which often run the gamut and include non-mortgage products like insurance. Networks also do their share of lobbying against trigger-happy regulators. On the other hand, the mortgage industry is replete with brokerages for which forfeiting sovereignty is simply too large of a concession. The Coalition of Independent Mortgage Brokers of Canada has become the industry’s leading example of a counterweight to mega-networks, ensuring nobody’s voice is drowned out. Perhaps CIMBC can be best described as a consortium of entrepreneurs – one that maintains strong relationships with the entire lender network while also encouraging brokers to run their brokerages the way they see fit. Not only do CIMBC members support each other by sharing knowledge, they help build each other’s brands. As the debate rages on, it’s important for brokers to be mindful of their businesses’ needs. Joining networks for their strength and security is logical for some, but not others. Nevertheless, more options to choose from and more representative voices only makes the broker channel richer. The team at Canadian Mortgage Professional ISSUE 13.12 EDITORIAL Writers Neil Sharma Joe Rosengarten Libby MacDonald Ephraim Vecina Heather Turner Hannah Go Copy Editor Clare Alexander

CONTRIBUTORS Hani Faraj Paul McGill

ART & PRODUCTION Designer Pia Marie Tandog Production Manager Alicia Chin Advertising Coordinator Ella Dayandante

SALES & MARKETING Associate Publisher Trevor Biggs Vice President, Sales John Mackenzie Marketing and Communications Melissa Christopoulos Project Coordinator Jessica Duce

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



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PEACE OUT 2018, you have been one heck of a year!

Cheers to all the wins, the learning experiences and our CENTUM franchises living their passion every day! Cool thing about CENTUM? We are a family owned business full of franchises owned by families! From our family to yours, we wish you a safe and happy holiday season! 2019, we are coming for you! | ®/™ Trademarks owned by Centum Financial Group Inc. © 2018 Centum Financial Group Inc. The intent of this communication is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to be a solicitation to anyone under contract with another mortgage brokerage operation.



Fear rises with rates

MISGIVINGS MOST PRONOUNCED OUT EAST Many Canadians view the prospect of rising interest rates with trepidation, but those residing in the Atlantic provinces were by far the most concerned that such an increase could threaten their ability to service their debts.

The mere threat of rising interest rates is likely to result in more circumspect spending among Canadian buyers NERVOUSNESS ABOUT the prospect of rising interest rates is widespread among Canadians, more than half of whom reported in the recent MNP Debt Consumer Survey that they’re concerned about their ability to afford their debts if rates rise further. That represents a 3% increase on the proportion of buyers who expressed such concern in MNP’s last survey in June.



of Canadians say they’re concerned about being able to afford their debts as rates climb

of Canadians report feeling the effects of previous rate increases

Just over a year since the Bank of Canada began raising rates, almost half of Canadians said they’ve already felt the impact of these increases. A full third reported being worried that rising rates could push them toward bankruptcy (a 6% increase over those who said so in June), while nearly 80% of Canadians said that rising rates have caused them to adopt a more cautious approach to spending.





of Canadians say they’ve cut back on spending due to interest rate rises

of Canadians say future rate increases could place them in financial peril Source: MNP Consumer Debt Index, October 2018



Forty-three per cent of survey respondents admitted that they regret the amount of debt they’ve taken on – the highest percentage since MNP began surveying consumers in 2017.

Millennials were the age cohort most worried about the impact of rising rates: Almost two-thirds said they’re concerned about higher interest rates getting in the way of debt repayment, while 46% worried that increased rates could push them toward bankruptcy. Feeling the effects of previous interest rate increases Worried about their ability to afford debt if interest rates rise Concerned that rising rates could push them toward bankruptcy

50% 40% 30% 20% 10%




I am concerned about my current level of debt

I regret the amount of debt I’ve taken on in my life

Gen x-ers Baby boomers

0% Source: MNP Consumer Debt Index, October 2018




48% 30%

57% 40%

46% 38%

22% Source: MNP Consumer Debt Index, October 2018











Source: MNP Consumer Debt Index, October 2018

CLOSER TO BANKRUPTCY Maritimers are the most concerned about the likelihood of higher interest rates triggering a move toward bankruptcy – nearly 40% of those in Atlantic Canada reported being worried about the prospect. PERCENTAGE OF CONSUMERS CONCERNED THAT RISING INTEREST RATES WILL PUSH THEM TOWARD BANKRUPTCY



34% ONTARIO 31%


While those making more than $100,000 a year are relatively untroubled about rising rates, more than half of consumers at every other income level report being worried about their ability to pay their debts. PERCENTAGE OF CONSUMERS WORRIED ABOUT THEIR ABILITY TO AFFORD DEBT IF INTEREST RATES RISE



$40,000 to $60,000 $60,000 to $100,000



0 Source: MNP Consumer Debt Index, October 2018

57% 54% 57%

Less than $40,000







Source: MNP Consumer Debt Index, October 2018




Will a global association affect brokers’ autonomy? What does the newly announced International Mortgage Broker Federation mean for Canadian brokers?

Ron Butler Mortgage broker Butler Mortgage

David Hetti Mortgage broker Mortgage Intelligence Oshawa

Jason Singh Mortgage broker Broker Financial Group

“This initiative is designed to create more paid international trips for the execs of the associations. National governments get together to share info because they spend our tax dollars on themselves to do it; this new international association would, in effect, be wasting my membership dues. We have so many pressing issues at the national association level that our association could spend every dollar and every waking moment on serious government relations issues that are a clear and present danger to the Canadian public and the mortgage brokers who serve them. Worrying about commissions from New Zealand can wait another decade.”

“Alliances with these markets will allow us to innovate. These more mature markets have learned certain lessons some time back; if we use this opportunity to learn from their experience and integrate these lessons, we can be ahead of the curve and get a bigger market share. The fact is, the Canadian market is very behind relative to other similar markets. In the UK, 71% of mortgages are handled by brokers; in the US, 65% of the market is handled by non-bank lenders. In Canada, it’s no more than 30%. No matter how you cut it, the banks dominate here.”

“The International Federation will play a positive role and not encroach upon brokers’ autonomy. In a time of unprecedented change, the federation will provide a great forum for broader conversations to happen.   As the agenda starts to take shape re: commission-sharing and referrals, I am always mindful of the challenges of scaling. What works well for one country may not always be right for another, given differences in policies, regulations, risk appetite, cultures, etc. I remain optimistic and comfortable that we will have the right people at the table to ensure we act when and where it makes sense.”

A GLOBAL CONVERSATION Canadian brokers, along with those from Australia, New Zealand, the UK and US, will now be represented by the International Mortgage Broker Federation [IMBF], plans for which were announced at the CMBA conference in November in Halifax. The new peak body is positioned to assist with such matters as regulatory hurdles and the establishment of international commission-sharing guidelines. “It’s a global conversation, and what we’ve found is the things that play out in one country regularly play out in another,” said Peter J. White, executive director of the Finance Brokers Association of Australia, who made the announcement. “If we want to have meaningful discussions with regulators, we have to be ahead of the curve. The only way we’re ahead of the curve is by talking to each other.”


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Deeper into scandal Under investigation by the RCMP, Fortress Real Developments is attempting to lay blame on its mortgage brokers – but it’s all little solace to investors who wonder whether they’ll ever get their money back

A COUPLE of investors in Fortress Real Developments’ syndicated mortgages claim the brokers who sold them the products neglected to point out the gravity of the risks. A Halifax-based investor, who requested anonymity because he works in the mortgage industry, says he and his wife are out $175,000 – all of their retirement savings. With three kids and nearing retirement, their future is nebulous. “This week, my wife was having chest pains worrying about this,” says the 50-year-old investor. “She’s a year older than me and thought she was having a heart attack. It’s not pretty. If we knew our money was safe and growing, we wouldn’t have these anxieties.”

“The early days were fine,” he says. “They were paying us interest, and the money was growing for probably the first two years, and then I started seeing news releases about Fortress. I’d reach out to [the agent], and he said, ‘There’s nothing to worry about; everyone is getting their money back.’ The last email I got from him was in June.” In a statement, Scott Fenton, legal counsel for Fortress Real Developments, claimed investors were apprised of all “material risks involved in the projects.” He went on to say that “all investors were fully advised in writing of the assumptions and methodologies used by respected industry valuators in the

“The position [Fortress is] taking is they didn’t do anything wrong – it was all the licensed [brokers] who did” David Franklin, real estate lawyer In 2014, the investor pulled money out of his Apple stocks and invested in a mortgage for a Regina-based Fortress development called Capital Point. He earned quarterly dividends of $2,504, the last of which was received in 2016. A $12 monthly fee is still being drawn from his account.


development-based ‘opinions of value’ for the projects, as opposed to bare ‘as is’ appraisals as incorrectly alleged by the RCMP.” However, David Franklin, a lawyer representing investors, believes Fortress is evading responsibility by blaming the brokerages involved: Building Development and Mortgages

Canada (formerly Centro Mortgage), FFM Capital, FMP Mortgage Investments and FDS Broker Services. “The position they’re taking is they didn’t do anything wrong – it was all the licensed parties who did,” he says. “They’re putting the responsibility to do all this on the FSCO-licensed brokers. By saying that, they’re saying that they provided all the correct information to the brokerages. We have it now from the affidavit that Fortress had appraisals done and they didn’t disclose them. They had real appraisals, which were below the value that they gave to the brokerages to go sell the deals to the investors. Fortress is saying the brokerage has a responsibility to make sure the investors were told everything and to make sure these were suitable investments for the investors.” William Vassiliou, president of the Toronto chapter of the Association of Certified Fraud

FOLLOWING THE MONEY Between 2008 and 2017, investors sank a total of $920 million into syndicated mortgages to fund Fortress Real Developments projects.

$419 million


$170 million


$135 million


$85 million


$52 million


$35 million $19 million $5 million

2010 2009 2008 Source: FFM Capital

Examiners, says the brokerages’ controlling minds were Fortress’ two principals. “They created the four brokerages, and they put the people in place and marketed their product,” Vassiliou says. “They created the

he says. “Fortress was paying them.” Another investor in Ontario, who also requested anonymity because he’s an Ontario provincial police officer and the RCMP’s investigation into Fortress is ongoing, says he wasn’t

“[Fortress] created the four brokerages, and they put people in place and marketed their product” William Vassiliou, Association of Certified Fraud Examiners products and they were providing training to the mortgage brokers associations.” He adds that investors were duped into believing they were receiving independent counsel from lawyers Fortress Real recommended. “The lawyers weren’t independent,”

warned about the possibility of being bumped down the creditor ladder on a project called Old Market Lane. “I was told it was low-risk and that my name would be on title should anything go wrong with the development,” he says. “My and other

investors’ names would be on the mortgage. I was told I would be in the number two position behind the bigger lenders, the bigger banks, which I was told was still a relatively safe position to be in. I dropped to fourth position without my knowledge. I had to find out through a special interview after tagging along with a friend who had also invested.” The risks were likely outlined contractually, but the officer says he wasn’t verbally apprised. “I would have invested in something safe and secure,” he says. “I’m not a high-risk investor. When things went south, I reached out to [the agent] and was told not to worry about it. She was the intermediary, and I had to go through her to get to Fortress, and she provided me some answers, and so did somebody at Fortress. I was given multiple explanations as to why things were happening, which to me don’t make sense, but that’s the way I was told.”



TECHNOLOGY UPDATE NEWS BRIEFS Implementation of distributed ledger technology will take time

Distributed ledger technology [DLT] has been championed by many financial industry players, but a Bank of Canada pilot project has shed some doubts on the quick integration of the technology. Between working out possible loopholes and integrating DLT into existing systems, the wide-scale implementation of this technology will take a long time, BoC director of financial technology Scott Hendry noted upon completion of the eight-week testing of the DLT pilot. “When you are looking at core systems that are systemically important and have been optimized over 20 years or more, the bar is very high for this alternative technology to offer significant benefit,” Hendry said.

TD Bank app ranks among Canadians’ top choices

TD Bank’s mobile app – which the bank bolstered earlier this year with a mortgage concierge service – has been a consistent top ranker among the country’s retail banking apps, according to a study by Silicon Valley-based market data firm App Annie. The study found that the bank’s app has been a numberone performer in terms of monthly active users, number of downloads, average number of sessions per user, and review scores for 12 straight months. In addition, the app has consistently held the top rank in the finance category on the Canadian Google and Apple app stores.

Finastra relaunches Filogix with new enhancements

Finastra has relaunched Filogix and has hinted at forthcoming innovation that will make brokers’ lives easier. “We announced our commitment to an open lending ecosystem and giving choice to all of our partners,” said Tim Rye,


Finastra’s head of Canadian mortgage technology. “We’ve made further announcements to ensure other frontend origination platforms that are not our own can now have access to all lenders available on our network. We talked to our lender partners about downstream data services and looking hard with partners at how we can open up data technology and can focus on better data integration, business intelligence and driving workflow improvements.”

Most buyers now head online to research mortgages

The internet has clearly emerged as a preferred avenue of mortgage information among Canadian homebuyers, according to CMHC’s annual Mortgage Consumer Survey. Only around a quarter of consumers surveyed said they research mortgages solely offline. Respondents cited lenders’ websites as the primary sources of such information. Aside from collecting information, approximately 80% of Canadian buyers said they use online mortgage calculators and interest rate comparison portals.

Going paperless can help improve efficiency for brokers

According to one industry veteran, brokers will become more efficient when the industry goes completely paperless. Tango Financial president Jason Henneberry estimates brokers spend half of their time on a file managing paper, analyzing and transferring the information into application systems, and then uploading documentation to lenders. “Just imagine how we could grow our collective market share if we gave brokers back even a fraction of that time to spend on more productive activities,” he said. “We need to be investing in this type of technology now if our channel is going to compete in the future.”

M3 Group goes all in on tech The mortgage giant’s tech team aims to maximize the use of data and artificial intelligence

M3 Group recently appointed a new head for its 32-person tech division, and it isn’t pulling any punches in establishing itself as the industry leader in innovations for brokers. Under the leadership of the chief technology officer Andre Boisvert, M3’s tech division is planning to leverage data tools and artificial intelligence to improve the way brokers go about their business and cultivate relationships with clients. “Using data and the latest and greatest in terms of profiling [and] artificial intelligence is a core,” Boisvert says. “That was the mindset in creating the division, and we want to make sure we have the best goals, best organization and best mindset in order to accomplish that.” Boisvert added that a shift in the way that the industry works today means that any successful industry player needs to have the best tech talent on board. “We want to be attractive to new talent in this very competitive space, and also putting into place the new tools and processes in the organization,” he says. “It’s making sure that we’re continuing to serve the business, which is our number-one goal, and making sure we keep innovating and contributing to the organization.” M3’s tech team is involved in everything from day-to-day IT management to strategic oversight, as well as the organization’s long-term focus on innovation. Much of it stems from the vision M3 developed during its inception. “When we got into this space, one of the opportunities we saw was technology because it wasn’t being leveraged in a very high level,” says Dino Di Pancrazio, M3’s


executive vice-president of strategy and innovation. “We pushed a bunch of broker-led technologies, and we’ll continue working on technology-driven pieces because that’s been a really big part of our success since the beginning.”

“Our goal is for consumers to think of us as the Amazon in our space” Di Pancrazio notes that consumers are, by and large, in the driver’s seat today. Their expectations of service providers are higher than they’ve ever been, in part because of behemoths like Amazon that have revolutionized retail. “It’s a lofty goal, an ambitious goal, but our goal is for consumers to think of us as the Amazon in our space,” he says. Boisvert adds: “The world has changed, and consumers are behaving differently and, as such, what we want to make sure that our technology platform will support brokers and create more opportunities for them to use data.” The network also launched the M3 Innovation Lab, a partnership with industry players aimed at furthering innovation in the Canadian mortgage space. “What we’re going to create is a conversation with the goal of generating ideas that will impact the whole space,” Di Pancrazio says. “We want to take those ideas coming out of the lab with our partners and put them into action.”

Chao ChengShorland Co-founder and CEO SHELTERZOOM

Years in the tech industry 25 Fast fact Launched in 2017, ShelterZoom is a blockchain-based real estate offer and acceptance platform

Changing the sales landscape How has ShelterZoom been doing recently? We only launched our product at the end of last year, but since then, we’ve received very valuable feedback from brokerages and technology firms. Our platform represents the innovative trend of moving away from the transitional way of doing businesses, and our technology represents the latest in real estate technology. Since August 2018, we have partnered with more than 100 brokerage firms, and adoption has been really taking off recently. We are very proud of the fact that it is brokerage firms that are actually coming to us, very supportive of what we are offering. On top of that, we also got a lot of traction in the international market – in particular, in Canada, Singapore and Argentina.

What aspects of your system are you most proud of? I am proud to say that we are the first working blockchain platform in the real estate space. Not just as a proof of concept, but actually delivering a real product that real people and organizations are already using. If you compare our platform to other companies that had blockchain projects for years, they have achieved only a few transactions, whereas ShelterZoom is already a successful and user-friendly product. Our goal is to create a whole real estate integrated value chain which is demand-driven and allows agents, consumers, and service providers to do deals with each other and acquire any services they need in our one-stop marketplace.

How has your technology influenced your user base? In the traditional model, a seller lists a property with the assistance of an agent, while the buyer searches for their desired property through various channels. And then the buyer makes an offer, which the seller accepts, and then the transaction proceeds to closing. In our platform, every party can be the initiator of a deal. It is non-linear and demand-driven. If a seller has something to sell or a buyer wants to buy something, then they can post a prepared deal immediately via our platform with their agent’s assistance. A counter-party can immediately find a deal that fits their criteria – essentially, not just a seller; every buyer can get offers directly from multiple sellers. Our platform is an instant deal-making system where searches and negotiations can take place right away and transactions [can close] fast, benefiting users and sources of funding alike.

How does the system reassure users of the security of their transactions? We believe that blockchain is a perfect match for the needs of the real estate space. Since it is a peer-to-peer decentralized model, every party who enters a transaction will be provided a set of keys and get their own copies of the record so far. Any time a participant makes an offer, the blockchain will compare their record with that of the other party, and only when they match will the transaction become valid. There can be no manipulation in the middle; there is no way for anyone – even us, the service providers – to see what’s inside the deal, to tamper with or hack the system.




Why aren’t borrowers changing lenders? Brokers attribute the trend to B-20 changes, increased competition and greater consumer caution

are] incentivized somewhere else and they can get the exact same product somewhere else, then they’re usually more inclined to do that. “The only thing I can think of is [lenders are] upping their game and starting to be a little more competitive in what they’re offering in terms of rate, and they’re probably contacting their clients a little earlier,” he adds. “What used to be 90 days out has turned into 180 days out. We’ve even heard

“People wanted to see what would happen because of the threat of rate increases and stricter regulation”

According to a CMHC analysis, mortgage renewals with different lenders in Toronto declined dramatically in 2017 compared to the year before. Tania Bourassa-Ochoa, a senior economic researcher with CMHC, theorizes that the 25.7% decline can be attributed to the first round of B-20 rule changes in 2016. “One of the reasons that could partially explain this is the mortgage rule changes in 2016,” Bourassa-Ochoa says. “There was the stress test mortgages had to go through, but the


problem is we’re not able to confirm this because we’re unable to observe the number of renewals with the same lenders. It’s hard to know if it’s really because of that.” Mortgage Architects broker Benjamin Sammut has another theory as to why so many borrowers decided to remain with their lenders. “Historically speaking, lenders aren’t that competitive on renewal, especially if you look at 2016 to 2017 when they would come out with a subpar rate at best,” Sammut says. “If [borrowers

Diversification becoming a must for brokers

In the wake of B-20, moving beyond mortgages is quickly becoming a reality for brokers, and networks have responded by enabling their brokers to sell a wide range of products such as insurance. “Because of B-20, people started to realize that there’s more to the client than just the mortgage,” said Jason Singh, chairman of Broker ONE. “It created a need to diversify because the mortgage funnel became a lot smaller. While working with existing databases became important, clients also had other needs that needed fulfilling.”


of instances where clients are being told a year in advance that they could do an early renewal.” The CMHC analysis also revealed that refinances declined in 2017 compared with a year earlier. Bourassa-Ochoa believes that’s likely because fewer homeowners were willing to leverage their properties, which is consistent with the decelerated price growth in some of the country’s major markets at the time. “The only explanation I can think of is you have borrowers seeing a stricter environment,” she says. “People wanted to see what would happen because of the threat of rate increases and stricter regulation. They probably just wanted to hold off, and that included refinances for debt consolidation, renovations to their home, or changing lenders and increasing the amount borrowed.”

CMFG introduces lower-rate private loans

Canada Mortgage & Financial Group has launched CMFG Limited Partnership, a new product that is designed to give private-channel borrowers access to lower rates. “Typically, on a first mortgage you’re looking at about 8.5% or 8.99%, and the lender fee alone would be 2% to 3%, and the broker fee would be one or 2%,” said CMFG CEO Ameera Ameerullah. “It’s expensive for the client, so I’m OK with yielding 10%, and we charge only a lender fee, no broker fee, and we don’t have a cap on the dollar amount.


Ron De Silva

Independence is one network’s greatest asset

President and CEO BROKER ONE

Years in the industry 22 Fast fact In his free time, De Silva enjoys listening to classic jazz, playing golf, reading For Dummies business books and learning conversational Spanish

How does Broker ONE respond to brokers’ and consumers’ needs? We believe that the mortgage consumer of tomorrow will be increasingly receptive to working with trusted brands and providers to satisfy their complete financial life cycle needs. Crucial to any broker’s longevity will be their ability to deliver these ancillary services. And they will need to do so with speed and price efficiency. That’s asking a lot of any one individual broker or a small independent broker firm to organize and deliver on their own. Broker ONE, through a combination of external partnerships and subsidiaries, is delivering solutions to address these needs. What are you looking forward to for 2019? We have done some organizational realignment to put the right people in the right seats. We are ready to tackle the challenges and take advantage of the opportunities. We have transitioned from an organization with good ideas to one of fewer but greater ideas and lots of followthrough and execution. Each department is executing on their respective objectives and enjoying the new environment of accountability to each other. I can’t wait to tackle 2019. What industry issues have the greatest impact upon your network, and what steps are you taking to help brokers cope with these issues? In the current legislative environment, the ability of every agent and broker to meet the fast-growing need for non-institutional financing is important to maintaining and growing the productivity of every network. To

Does network consolidation benefit brokers?

There’s plenty of debate in the mortgage industry over whether or not consolidation is beneficial for the broker channel, but Verico president Albert Collu is firmly in the ‘yes’ camp. “When companies amalgamate and become larger, it allows companies to reinvest in support structures,” Collu said. “For instance, insurance, credit cards, direct-to-consumer campaigns to feed leads to a broker, white-label mortgages and white-label products in general – a that’s what the aftermath of amalgamation allows us all to do.”

address this, Broker ONE has entered into a partnership with Red Crest Investment Management. Red Crest is a gateway for Broker ONE members to obtain private funds for their clients. So far, Red Crest has focused on adding funding sources to its portfolio and working out the process kinks; 2019 will see Red Crest establish its brand within the network as a one-stop shop for all private financing needs. Next year will also be a ‘coming out’ for another one of our partnerships: Think Wealth Management. Think Wealth, in conjunction with Real Estate & Mortgage Institute of Canada, will be licensing brokers online to provide insurance services to their clients. Many brokers don’t realize the amount of compensation insurance pays when you are a licensed provider. Insurance revenue is a healthy complement to mortgage commissions that are currently experiencing compression. What sets Broker ONE apart from other networks? An independent broker firm joining a network shouldn’t mean the loss of identity. Broker ONE is not a franchising system; we are a network of affiliated broker firms that value their own independent brands. Independents can align themselves with Broker ONE to take advantage of the many services that we deliver so they can focus on securing clients. We provide centralized payroll, training of new agents on behalf of our affiliates, preferred pricing from suppliers, leading-edge technology for CRM, and deal management and call centre services for outbound lead generation. Independent broker firms can take advantage of all of these services while still maintaining their own brand.

Expect more rate hikes in 2019, says DLC economist

After Bank of Canada’s latest interest-rate hike in October, BoC Governor Stephen Poloz remains tight-lipped on how many more are planned. “The bank asserts that mortgage tightening measures of the past two years have ‘reduced household vulnerabilities, although the ‘sheer size of the outstanding debt means that vulnerability will persist for some time,’” wrote Dr. Sherry Cooper, DLC chief economist, in a recent analysis. “That is Bank of Canada doublespeak. What it means is expect three more rate hikes by the end of next year.”

Buyers looking for brokers with deep knowledge

In its latest Mortgage Consumer Survey, CMHC found that borrowers are looking for brokers with a deep understanding of the mortgage process. The main reasons consumers gave for working with brokers were getting the best rate, getting advice and enjoying the convenience of working with a professional. First-time buyers lean towards brokers who have more information on fees and closing costs, while repeat buyers are looking for brokers who have information on closing costs and types of mortgages.





Make them come to you Is your marketing pushing or pulling? A good strategy will get Realtors excited about working with you and have them knocking on your door, writes Hani Faraj

INSTEAD OF chasing Realtors for referrals, I would like to empower you to be chased by many Realtors soliciting your help, your expertise and your pre-approved mortgage leads. Imagine a mortgage business where every morning, you wake up and you have people looking to get pre-approved for a mortgage in your email inbox – and once you approve them, you get to select which Realtor to send them to. This takes sacrifice, hard work, effort and an investment – but more importantly, it takes a pull method of marketing. The lending climate is difficult right now. A good mortgage broker is essential to making a deal come together, and Realtors do need brokers. However, when I ask brokers, ‘What is your marketing budget?’, the answer is often none or very little. What if you were to reach out to real estate agents with a value proposition that benefited both of you instead of merely asking for business? Here are some ideas to try before you approach an agent or solicit for business. Offer to help at open houses. This is especially is effective in the condo market, where two people are often needed to cover an open house.

Offer to split the cost of marketing at a home and garden show.

Offer to contribute to their marketing budget. Don’t have any expectations. Offer them some marketing ideas that will


make them money and essentially give you an opportunity to serve their clients. Offer them pre-approved mortgage clients – I have generated pre-approved mortgage clients for one of my broker friends in another province, and he has given them away to Realtors are tremendously grateful. Offer them free tickets to a coaching event by a real estate guru.

It’s easy to see how offering help and becoming a partner in a Realtor’s success is vastly different than simply asking for business. One broker calls me constantly asking for weekend help with open houses. This certainly came in handy the time I needed help because the strata bylaws didn’t allow for access to the units without an agent. What would pre-approved mortgage clients do to your business and your Realtor friends’ business? Probably a lot. However, the crazy world of digital marketing is not for the faint of heart. You must be committed and, most importantly, willing to pick up the phone. I have cracked the code on landing pages that convert for mortgage brokers. You can create a simple landing page targeting those who want to get pre-approved if it includes the following six elements. 1 A concise call to action 2 Easy-to-complete form; ask many questions

to filter out people who aren’t serious 3 Testimonials from past clients with real

photos (videos are even better)

“What if you were to reach out to real estate agents with a value proposition that benefited both of you instead of asking for business?” Offer them compensation to be in their monthly newsletter. Introduce them to a foreclosure lawyer or a bank that has foreclosures and needs help with Realtors.

4 Elements such as trust logos, accredited

mortgage broker, licence number and a Better Business Bureau badge, if applicable 5 Picture of you with a direct contact number 6 A unique selling proposition – something

Start a mastermind group and invite them to it as the sole Realtor.

only you can deliver or that is unique to your company

Offer them a guest spot on your blog where they can talk about a specific situation to watch out for.

The above formula works – all you must do is implement it and don’t be afraid to fail forward. Best of luck and happy selling!

Do a Facebook live event with them. Ask someone else to host the event; you can later strip the audio and turn it into a podcast. Give them a feature sheet with a payment breakdown for all their listings. It’s a great way to insert yourself into their business.

Hani Faraj is a Realtor and a team leader with a top 1% real estate team in Vancouver, where he manages the agency’s marketing. Prior to becoming a Realtor, he worked as a mortgage broker.

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CHANGING THE CONVERSATION First National sales manager Doreen Walsh was all set for a career in law – until her short stint in the mortgage industry became permanent

SOMETIMES THE life we map out for ourselves is not the one that manifests before us. Doreen Walsh studied to become a paralegal, but after being hired by Sun Life Financial to do power of sales and foreclosures, things changed. As trusts began folding left, right and centre, the strategy turned to ‘work-outs.’ “We were sitting down with clients and asking, ‘How can you pay? How can we work it out without selling the property?’” says Walsh, who currently serves as regional sales manager for Ontario and Atlantic Canada at First National. “When we started doing work-outs, I started underwriting to sales, and I never looked back, deciding not to pursue law. This worked out better for me, and for my career, than I could have ever imagined.” After the death of the trust industry, Walsh worked for CIBC for a number of years, but she found it too stifling in many ways. She likens the big bank to a well oiled machine – but one that doesn’t lend itself to diversifying one’s skill set. After spending some time in commercial renewals and then underwriting at CIBC, Walsh moved on to First National. It was there that she really spread her wings, becoming an indispensable part of the firm. She has been one of its highest-producing


account managers since she started there in 2003, never missing a target during both the good times and the bad. “I’ve always been an advocate for clients,” she says. “I’m a liaison between the broker and

passion,” she says, “because I wanted to make sure they know how to sell like I did. These are the things that kept from wanting to manage people, but I realized that I had a lot to share. Anyone who wants to be successful will do what

“It’s our job to provide the answers to questions our clients don’t even know to ask. Anyone can ask, ‘What’s your rate?’ but people don’t know what an interest rate differential is, or what a closed mortgage is, or what their penalty might be based on prime or prime plus 3%” my company. Knowing one deal could not only affect many lives, but so many relationships and future business, I treat my brokers’ business like my own business.” When Walsh moved into management, she was worried that she wouldn’t be able to inspire in others her own indomitable work ethic – but, not surprisingly, that hasn’t been the case. “I was concerned people wouldn’t share my

they have to do to become successful, and I’m no exception.”

Shifting focus One of Walsh’s crowning achievements at First National has been implementing what she calls “disrupting the rate conversation,” which became especially pertinent after the B-20 changes hit at the beginning of 2018.

PROFILE Name: Doreen Walsh Title: Regional sales manager for Ontario and Atlantic Canada Company: First National Years in the industry: 30 Career highlight: “Managing people. I fought it and fought it for years. I was concerned that I wouldn’t manage people well, but it turns out I absolutely love it.”




“My tagline is: It’s our job to provide the answers to the questions that our clients don’t even know to ask,” she says. “Anyone can ask, ‘What’s your rate?’ but people don’t know what an interest rate differential is, or what a closed mortgage is, or that their penalty might be based on prime or prime plus 3%. These are all the things that people don’t talk about in mortgages, but they should because it’s our job. “People can find rates on the internet,” she continues, but it’s through exploring the brass tacks that our customers will ultimately be satisfied because they won’t be blindsided by anything they haven’t been prepared for, or at least told about, and that ultimately reflects

“The brokers had to be clear to their clients because it’s a domino effect, and often, things were getting lost in translation. It took a long time, but we’ve absorbed the changes really well. About 14 of my account managers understood this and explained it to 3,000 of their brokers.” Part of the message Walsh crafted and conveyed to First National’s broker partners is that despite B-20, it’s business as usual. “We did not lose money, and we’re still not going to lose money,” she says. “We had to explain why things were priced differently; however, the saving grace is that we had better rates than banks did sometimes, while other times, admit-

“First National hasn’t lost a lot of business through [the B-20] changes, and the key piece has been educating clients. We provided brokers with the scripting so that they could relay our message to their clients” well upon our broker partners. These are the things that have helped me have success as an account manager and as a leader.”

Education is key Guideline B-20 has proved to be the most significant roadblock the mortgage industry has had to contend with in years, but it’s given Walsh and First National a chance to truly shine. The new rules have introduced confusion around conventional and insurable pricing, and while the dust has settled, the beginning of the year resulted in bedlam throughout the industry – something that Walsh made it her business to try to mitigate. “We had to get a clear vision out about what we were doing, and then, by extension, we had to communicate that to the world,” she says.


tedly, their rates were better than ours. First National has not lost a lot of business through these changes, and the key piece has been educating clients. We provided brokers with the scripting so that they could relay our message to their clients.” Walsh is a proponent of educating clients beyond just B-20. When it comes to disrupting the rate conversation, she believes it’s imperative to understand where clients are in their life cycle and for that to dictate proceedings. “Clients don’t understand the ‘70% rule,’” she says. “Seventy percent don’t make it to fruition, so they’re going to pay a penalty. What that penalty look like?” This is just one reason she believes brokering has changed. “Brokering the way we did five years ago is a short-lived plan,” she says.


1995 Works at CIBC in commercial renewals and underwriting 2000

2000 Works in leasing at Credit Wave


2003 Takes a job at First National, where she’s been ever since


2016 Becomes a CMBA board member, in charge of membership and events 2015

2018 Is named to CMP’s Women of Influence list

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TOP BDMs 2018


BDMs 2018

A great partner can make or break a business – and these 43 BDMs have proved to be their brokers’ best ally when navigating an ever-changing industry

A GOOD BDM can make a world of difference in the life and business of a mortgage broker. Charged with getting deals done – even in the most difficult situation – BDMs are the lifeblood of the mortgage industry. Without their knowledge and persistence, many Canadians would have missed out on the dream of homeownership. When CMP asked brokers to identify the business development managers who have gone above and


beyond in their line of duty, they responded with the following 43 BDMs whose hard work and service have changed the lives of thousands of Canadians. On the following pages, this year’s Top BDMs share their paths to success and strategies for overcoming even the most challenging environments. While their stories may be different, what they all have in common is a passion to help brokers grow their business and help homebuyers secure the financing they need.





Ali, Reaza

Fisgard Asset Management Corporation


Ayoub, Mike

Home Trust Company


Beattie, Tara

First National Financial


Binstock, Randy

Home Trust Company


Blanco, Roberto

Pillar Financial Services


Brown, Drew

HomeEquity Bank


Bruce, Alexander

First National Financial


Carroll, Scott

RMG Mortgages


Chiew, Richard

RMG Mortgages


East, Martina

CMLS Financial


Farrugia, Steve

Ginkgo Mortgage Investment Corporation


Fels, Tara

MCAP Service Corporation

Fikkert, Erica




Lapointe, Shane

RMG Mortgages


Lattuca, Angela

HomeEquity Bank


Malcolm, Robert

Equitable Bank


Matthew, Jackie

CWB Optimum Mortgage


Morin, April

Merix Financial


Mourtos, Mike

Merix Financial


Pauls, Dan

Magenta Capital Corporation


Pellegrino, Livia

First National Financial


Rainville, Aaron

RMG Mortgages


Raison, Corbin

MCAP Service Corporation


Reghenas, Marlo



Robinson, Elena

First National Financial – Excalibur



Samadi, Sam

CMLS Financial


Haventree Bank


Serra, Derek

XMC Mortgage Corporation


Fitzpatrick, Jessica

Merix Financial


Soy, Patrick

MCAP Service Corporation


Fleur de Lys-Aujla, Suzanne

Equitable Bank


Thibault, Michael

Magenta Capital Corporation


Gibson, Robert

Equitable Bank


Trenouth, Brennan

Home Trust Company


Higgins, Ally

B2B Bank


Valadao, Krista

Home Trust Company


Hoeppner, Chris

HomeEquity Bank


Walters, Skip

First Source Mortgage Corporation


Hurlbut, Tim

Alta West Capital


Woodhouse, Chris

Street Capital Bank of Canada


Jardine, Paul

CWB Optimum Mortgage


Young, June

MCAP Service Corporation


Kamel, Christine

Paradigm Quest


Yue, Ut

CMLS Financial




TOP BDMs 2018


For the last three years, Robert Malcolm has been focused on building the internal sales team at Equitable Bank by putting in place procedures and structures that serve as a baseline for the rest of the team. He has also worked closely with


In the three years that he’s been with Magenta Capital Corporation, Dan Pauls has managed to exponentially grow volumes in his territory, despite having


both the operations and credit departments to gain significant insights about the business and provide broker partners the needed backing for Equitable Bank’s product lines. During the same period, Malcolm also managed to successfully pass the mortgage agent course and receive certification in personal lending and mortgages, both of which have proved helpful in expanding his breadth of industry knowledge. Malcolm believes one challenge of working as BDM is getting the full story behind a deal. He points to an example when he was able to close a deal in a week, despite a seeming inconsistency regarding the client’s compensation, which he was able to resolve through diligent investigation. “I overcome these challenges by illustrating to the broker how important a client’s deal is to me,” he says. “I provide end-to-end support to complete deals and make it a point to educate brokers on all their available options.”

spent the previous two decades as a lender for a different area. “I started up a territory basically from its inception, and it’s been personally and professionally rewarding to see how far we’ve come,” he says. “It’s always great to see your work recognized by your customers because it means we’re doing the right thing.” When asked about challenges that come with the BDM role, Pauls mentions the need for Magenta to differentiate itself as a lender. He credits success in this area to the company’s strong group of underwriters, funders and support staff, which enable it to fund all kinds of deals, including some ‘emergency’ deals that close in less than 72 hours. “In these situations, I love the fact that we have the flexibility to step in and make a commonsense lending decision,” he says. Pauls was a finalist for Best Newcomer Lender BDM at the 2017 CMAs and a finalist for CMBA Ontario’s Representative of the Year Award in 2018.


Of his accomplishments in recent years, Mike Ayoub considers the significant increase in originations through Home Trust’s Halifax office to be one of the most notable. “Being far from major centres such as Toronto and Vancouver, we are sometimes a bit overlooked here on the East Coast,” he says. However, he adds, despite not experiencing the same degree of market activity, competition in the region remains fierce, and this has resulted in gains in spite of the challenges. As a BDM for Home Trust’s Atlantic region, Ayoub has identified some unique challenges, such as having to stay ahead of guideline and regulatory updates for four distinct provincial jurisdictions while dealing with physical limitations and time/resource constraints. This, he says, is where technology can help a great deal. Ayoub ensures that he remains active on digital and social channels and keeps himself available almost 24/7, ensuring close contact with his broker partners. “It’s a fact that brokers are under a lot of pressure to get deals for their clients,” he says. “When things go off the rails a bit, getting everything back on track so the borrower can close their deal becomes my main priority.”




As a BDM, Patrick Soy believes that going above and beyond for broker partners is something that should be done on a daily basis, “whether it’s answering phone calls or emails after hours, proactively answering questions before even being asked [or] sharing my own knowledge via training and support.” Soy sees the need for BDMs to remain adaptive to an ever-changing landscape while also being innovative in the market – both of which depend on the ability to understand the impact of market adjustments and trends and ensure that business models remain aligned. “Rather than fighting the old, learning how to build with the new has helped me overcome many obstacles,” he says.


Soy currently represents a few of Canada’s top mortgage brokerages. He was named to CMP’s Young Guns list in 2017 and Hot List in 2018.


“A BDM’s success is only possible with a solid team behind them,” says Robert Gibson, who has spent the last few years strengthening his relationships with fellow BDMs, credit managers and the Equitable Bank credit team. He believes that his role, when done right, facilitates a synergy between sales and credit that raises the bar and creates a seamless experience for broker partners. “It’s not about buying lunches and coffee; effectiveness lies in understanding both sides of the business – that creates repeat business,” he says. “Being reliable, accurate and responsive is imperative to a file’s success.” Believing that associations contribute a great deal to continuous learning and networking in the mortgage industry, Gibson has taught continuing education courses through CMBA to brokerages in his area. He has also served as a volunteer for Habitat for Humanity for the past two years.


Before becoming a BDM, Brennan Trenouth worked as team lead for underwriting, which provided invaluable experience and a comprehensive understanding of the mortgage industry. Through this role, he was able to adopt a ‘say yes first’ mentality and a ‘win as a team’ approach, both of which have been key to his success as BDM. For Trenouth, being a BDM is about understanding the everyday work of brokers and committing to being a reliable partner. He believes that the only way to do this is to go the extra mile in gathering information about all the factors that can affect a borrower’s credit status. In the case of one borrower who went through an unexpected life event that resulted in bruised credit, Trenouth was able to leverage Home Trust’s forte in this area and significantly reduce the client’s monthly debt repayment, thus placing

the client in a better financial position. In his time at Home Trust, Trenouth has contributed to several charitable organizations, including an annual charity golf tournament. To date, with the support of the mortgage community, the tournament has raised more than $500,000, most of which has gone to the Canadian Mental Health Association and the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation.


Amid unprecedented industry evolution, Tara Beattie has become an expert on recent rule changes, providing education and effective communication to the broker community, which has allowed her to grow First National’s market share within this new landscape. “I continue to be challenged on the amount of documentation required to complete a mortgage file,” she says. “Brokers worry about going back to the client multiple times to ask for more paper, as they fear they will lose their clients to another broker or back to the bank. My approach is to educate the brokers on

what documentation is required and why we need it, and to begin documentation collection before the application is submitted to the lender.” As a BDM, Beattie is often the go-to person when a broker is unsatisfied, which has only strengthened her belief in ensuring that the broker community understands that BDMs consider themselves brokers’ partners and that they’re there to help brokers grow their bottom line as well. “My intention is always to go beyond what it is expected,” Beattie says. “Every broker has equal value to us. I have worked very hard to create relationships where my brokers can reach out to me and know that I will do everything within my power to help them and their client.”

Email lender notes, application, and credit bureaus to: D IMITRI K OSTUROS

Chief Operating Officer


BDM - Prairies




Born and raised in Greater Vancouver, Jackie Matthew has a love and thorough knowledge of her territory. She went straight from post-secondary education into the mortgage industry to become a broker. She eventually started her own brokerage, which she ran for 10 years. In May 2010, Matthew joined CWB Optimum Mortgage as a BDM, bringing with her a unique approach to the business that has allowed her to grow her territory significantly. As her broker


Since becoming BDM for Alta West Capital in 2013, Tim Hurlbut has been able to represent his niche market in the best way possible. He has travelled all across Alberta to showcase what a mortgage investment corporation can do, including “helping the broker effectively communicate to the client as to why the client would have been at a bank last year and is now with a mortgage investment corporation,” he says. “Tim knows the business very well,”


In 2016, Marlo Reghenas was named Best Newcomer – Lender Underwriter at the Canadian Mortgage Awards, amid a challenging year of regulatory changes. Where others might see difficulties and setback, Reghenas chooses to focus on the opportunity “to build market share with the knowledge and confidence that come from a strong relationship with lending partners.” She adds that this can only be accomplished by holding onto


partners attest, Matthew’s performance and work ethic has set a standard worth aspiring to. “The most important strategy is putting people first, whether it be a broker or a client,” she says. “I’m always here to listen to any issues there are with a deal or to hear about a ballet recital. Building relationships is where I thrive, and I know the business will eventually follow.” Matthew understands that a great BDM is someone who makes every broker, underwriter and funder part of the team. “Everyone on the team will work together to find a solution for the client,” she says, “which is the most important part.”

an industry peer confirms. “With a quick call, he can identify the issue and how he and his firm can help. He looks beyond his offerings and is the first to help position a file even if his firm is not the best fit. His assistance has helped me greatly in the growth of my business.” Hurlbut is an AMBA Volunteer Award winner and has twice been nominated for BDM of the Year at the CMAs.

the core values of strengthening broker partner­ ships through communication and transparency. Reghenas believes that a good reputation must precede any face-to-face meeting, and that a strong partnership between broker and lender is almost always instrumental to pushing a deal through.


Sam Samadi brings solid brokering and lending experience to his role as a BDM, backed by an early stint in underwriting. Samadi stresses the need for “accurate and effective communication” with broker partners in order to help them resolve challenges and stay ahead of the game. “On any given week, our mortgage broker partners receive dozens of emails involving lender programs, rates, product information and various other things,” he says. “We need to find ways to stick out and capture our partners’ attention. By finding new ways to be different and innovative, we can capture those valuable seconds and minutes to educate our partners and deliver superior service.” In a role that places such high premium on relationship-building, Samadi views the mortgage industry “like any other close-knit community in this country. We try to support one another; we all have understanding families that allow us to work outside of the standard 9-to-5 realm. We forge relationships and care about each other on a personal level as well as a business level.”

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Over the past two years, Corbin Raison has increased MCAP’s market share in the broker channel in the South Alberta region. He also achieved top sales producer status at MCAP in 2017. “Education is key for success,” Raison says. “With multiple lenders and so many unique situations on applications, it can be difficult for brokers to keep up


In a challenging year for Home Trust, Randy Binstock recognized the need to communicate with his brokers amidst negative press. Even through the difficult period, Binstock grew his territory by 147%. “This is the result of my commitment to open communications with my brokers,” he says. “They know that whether they need personalized product training for their team or one-on-one sessions to help them understand the impact of new regulations or other

on all aspects of lenders. My focus is conversation around files and giving real examples of how to package an application for approval.” Knowing that time is key in a broker’s business, Raison prides himself on giving best-in-class service via a combination of presentations, phone calls and emails so the broker can feel confident in getting quick answers for their clients. “My goal is to earn the broker’s trust so they know MCAP is a true partner to help them through the process,” he says.

factors affecting the industry, I am always prepared to meet with them and provide the assistance they need to increase their business.” Having been through many cycles of regulatory changes, Binstock has provided a series of personalized training sessions with brokers throughout the Hamilton/ Niagara and Southwest Ontario regions. When reflecting on the experience of helping clients whose deals have originally been declined, Binstock says, “There is no way that I can explain how satisfying it is for me personally to be able to play a part in helping people who, through no fault of their own, find themselves in a difficult situation.”

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After gaining 23 years of experience at RBC, where he helped build the mortgage specialist program in the GTA market, Derek Serra was well positioned to take on a new role at XMC Mortgage Corporation earlier this year. “To be recognized by the market like this after only six months tells me we’re on the right track,” he says. “We are pleased with what we’ve done in such a short time and look forward to even more growth and innovation next year.” Embracing the advantages that come with being a small company, Serra and his team strive to deliver reliable service while building strong relationships with broker partners by being nimble

and quick. “I think this recognition is the very best reflection of how our team goes above and beyond every single day,” he says. “We’re a new player, really. Your clients probably haven’t heard of XMC, which makes your job a little tougher. So, when we build new products, features or promotions, we look at how it will benefit you and your client. We ask ourselves how we can remove friction and create a positive experience. Right now, we’re paying for appraisals on funding through the end of the year – a nice way to introduce ourselves to new clients and maybe help you close the deal.” When not at the office, Serra focuses on building XMC’s network across the country, meeting brokers and developing relationships that give him the kind of insight and understanding that he wouldn’t get in a boardroom.





Over the last three years, Scott Carroll has been busy deepening his understanding of all the regulatory changes taking place, which has allowed him “to create tools solely focused on improving broker awareness and efficiencies.” He developed a rate training calculator that uses macros to price out transactions, which has helped brokers accurately quote their clients on rates and properly identify each loan as insured, insurable or uninsurable. The tool has been very well received and is now housed on the RMG website and accessible to all registered RMG brokers. Carroll has also built targeted Excelbased analytics and processes to help analyze mortgage scenarios, such as a review tool that facilitates choosing between fixed and variable with consideration of potential rate increases. Using an interactive demonstration, the tool allows the broker to integrate a client’s opinions on rates and come up with a fitting solution. In addition, Carroll has built custom mortgage dashboards for brokers to better keep track of their deals and has introduced many other processes and solutions to help brokers better serve their clients.


Ut Yue is a firm believer that there’s enough business for everyone, and if BDMs continue to support their brokers, they will return that support. “Achieving and exceeding targets during the last few years has not been easy with all the government changes,” Yue says, adding that she considers this one of the top challenges BDMs continue to face, which she says they can overcome by finding a niche and working together. She cites a recent example where she was able to assist a broker and client by working closely with her underwriter and other partners at FCT. “Going above and beyond is not all about me,” Yue says, “but the team that I work with as well – my amazing team of underwriters, insurer partners and suppliers, without whom I would not be able to help my brokers the way I do.” For Yue, joining CMLS has allowed her to work in both the A and B space,


Krista Valadao was promoted to the role of BDM at Home Trust shortly after being

which she appreciates because it gives her flexibility that can help her offer clients the best option, even if it doesn’t end up in her own books.

nominated for Underwriter of the Year. In her tenure as an underwriter and fulfillment officer, Valadao gained a unique perspective, backed by a thorough understanding of lending practices, that makes her an effective BDM. She continues to use her underwriting experience to make sure deals are presented in a manner that emphasizes the merits of each one, ensuring that the underwriting team can make a timely and well informed decision. To deal with persistent challenges such as scheduling one-on-one meetings with numerous brokers in the region, Valadao has set up a priority system that helps her identify time-sensitive issues for top priority, along with requests for training and product updates. She also does her best to schedule site visits in response to staff training requests from brokers, in addition to staying on top of every email and phone call she receives.

Thank You! To my valuable colleagues, mentors, team members, family and friends: I couldn’t have accomplished so much without your support along the way! For the past 23 years, I’ve been mortgage brokering. That’s right! I became a Mortgage Agent in January 1995 following a successful sales career in the food industry, and I’m still active today as a Mortgage Broker & Owner of Neighbourhood Dominion Lending Centres. I love the mortgage business and have a strong passion to see mortgage agents continue to grow market share. Being inducted into the Canadian Mortgage Hall of Fame is truly the highlight of my career! I’m both honoured and humbled to be part of an elite group of mortgage professionals who have received this recognition! Sincerely,

Bill Nugent

Bill Nugent Mortgage Broker & Owner Neighbourhood Dominion Lending Centres





Throughout his career, Reaza Ali has received a number of recognitions from CMP, including being named a Top BDM and to the Hot List, as well as winning Best Newcomer Lender BDM at the Canadian Mortgage Awards in 2016. As part of his role at Fisgard, Ali spends plenty of time educating brokers about the benefits of using a private lender when appropriate in order to create the best short-term solution for clients. “We know how hard it has been for brokers to adjust to the constantly evolving regulatory environment, and we take it upon ourselves to provide mortgage financing solutions, even if it’s not going to be funded by Fisgard,” he says. “I feel it is my duty to stay well informed of the other lenders’ products and appetite for business so we can assist our broker partners in find a funding source to meet their clients’ needs.” Ali is an active member of Mortgage Professionals Canada, CMBA-Ontario and the Ontario MIC Association, contributing to the associations’ ongoing education efforts for the broker community.


April Morin has spent the past decade moving her way up the ladder at Merix Financial, culminating in a promotion to national inside sales manager with Merix/Lendwise in September. Last year, she was the top-funded director of business development for Merix’s Eastern region. Describing a time when she went above and beyond for a broker and their client, Morin says, “We had completed a purchase file, but the lawyer had not provided closing documents in time to fund that day. We were well past the deadline, and I wasn’t aware of the issue until 4 p.m. on a Friday. The client was going to incur large daily penalties if the funds were not disbursed that day. By dedicating my time to this deal … we were able to help the lawyer complete the last documents and wire the funds in just half an hour. “Oftentimes, these issues don’t

arise because of an internal error,” Morin continues, “but I still feel it’s our problem to help solve as the mortgage lender. It’s amazing what you can accomplish when you act quickly to ensure a positive outcome for the client.” In an era marked by constant change in the mortgage industry, Morin has made it her goal to thoroughly understand all new rules, adapting accordingly and looking for opportunities where possible. When she’s not assisting brokers, Morin devotes her time to a number of charities and good deeds, asking that whomever she helps also pays it forward.


Given all the changes that have happened in the mortgage industry in the last few years, Alex Bruce has found himself in an evolving role that requires continuous learning to stay market-savvy and attuned to both the competition and changes in the nature of clients’ businesses. Despite witnessing increased unemployment within his region in 2018, Bruce continues to find ways to maintain or grow market share. He also believes that the mortgage industry is open to a cooperative approach, which he has proven this through his own mastermind group of brokers. “As an experiment, I brought together brokers from different superbrokers but of similar age, success level and outlook for an informal discussion on running a successful brokerage,” he explains. “The

dialogue during this meeting was incredible – filled with many ‘secrets’ of success. Even though these brokers may look like competitors, the openness of the group was beyond anything I expected. It was very rewarding to be the facilitator.” He now has plans to further expand the group in 2019. Bruce is also part of the Northern Ontario Lending Partners, which has organized educational and appreciation events for brokers to raise awareness and funds for local charities.


More brokers are finding themselves entering into the alternative market, where Erica Fikkert has spent the last 20 years of her career. Recently, she decided to join Haventree Bank after witnessing the company’s dedication to finding solutions for borrowers. Fikkert believes that each deal is unique and depends greatly on the broker’s ability to communicate their clients’ challenges in order for BDMs to be effective partners. “It is not only setting excellence as a performance standard when answering phone calls and emails,” she says, “but also sharing knowledge, investing time with people who are looking for solutions, and adding value to their business. That is my mission to my broker partners – to add value.” Fikkert received the AMBA Volunteer Award in 2017 and the Alberta WIMI Award in 2018. She has been on the board of AMBA for the last six years and currently serves as events director.





Martina East joined CMLS Financial In October 2018 as BC regional manager for the firm’s Aveo B product. Previously, she was a business development manager with Optimum Mortgage and was named a Top BDM in 2016. East was also one of CMP’s Young Guns for 2018. “Martina always goes above and beyond for her brokers,” a peer says. “She will get her hands dirty and will work with the underwriters to help with turnaround times.” For East, the biggest challenge as a BDM is “maintaining an expert level of alternative product knowledge to become a place of advice when placing challenging deals – even if that means referring that deal to another lender.”


Steve Farrugia’s goal is to help clients make their financial transitions as simple and uncomplicated as possible. An innovator at heart, he always aims to go beyond adapting to market changes to offer even more affordable products to consumers. His company’s product offerings, including a fully open private second mortgage, have proved to be a major advantage in a market full of competitors who consistently impose


Elena Robinson joined First National in early 2018 to relaunch its Excalibur alternative lending division in order to provide options for borrowers who fall outside of traditional credit requirements. Following the launch in April, Excalibur’s volumes have exceeded expectations, thus confirming that Robinson and her team are on the right track. As part of her work, Robinson trains brokers who are new to alternative lending, especially following the B-20 changes. She also works closely with the underwriting team at Excalibur to maintain a common-sense approach to underwriting, along with quick response and turnaround times. “In my opinion, there shouldn’t be a different mindset when it comes to an alternative mortgage client or a prime client, other than pricing,” Robinson says. “The experience is the same, from the turnaround times to the friendly, respectful service.” Prior to First National, Robinson served as BDM for an alternative lender, where she grew her territory’s volume to more than $1 billion, an increase of 60% from the previous year.

a three-month penalty fee for early discharge. To get to this stage, Ginkgo MIC listened to agents’ and brokers’ feedback and did everything it could to make the necessary changes. “I have done a lot of business with Ginkgo MIC this year,” an industry partner says. “Every time I had questions, concerns, or if I wanted a more in-depth breakdown of their new policies and products, Steve was always there to take my call or email. From property location to town size to everything in between, having a BDM there to continuously take your calls is how you build strong relationships between agent/broker and lender.”









THANK YOU to the XMC Partner Broker Network for your



We’re committed to delivering the tools, solutions and service you need to


You helped us reach


this year and we’re looking forward to an

EPIC 2019

Proudly owned by MCAN Mortgage Corporation FSCO 10406




Roberto Blanco’s first year with Pillar Financial Services has been a resounding success. When he joined in May 2017, he worked hard to educate the market about Pillar’s offerings and boost awareness in Western Ontario, which resulted in him hitting his target by the fourth month. Today, Blanco is manager of business development for Ontario, leading a team of two. Within his short time at Pillar, Blanco has been able to help shape the company strategically with new ideas for better serving brokers and other partners while driving the business forward. These efforts led to him being named the inaugural winner of CMBA-Ontario’s Outstanding Representative of the Year Award for 2017–2018 and being voted onto the board of directors of CMBA Ontario in 2018. “Earning this recognition from my peers, despite being new to the industry, is an accomplishment I am proud of,” he


Livia Pellegrino joined First National four years ago, taking over the Southwest Ontario territory, which at the time covered approximately 300 brokers and a portfolio of around $485 million in volume. Since then, the territory has expanded to 385 active brokers and more than $900 million in volume as of the end of 2017, which was $200 million over plan, despite the uncertainties that came with the B-20 rule changes. Pellegrino is currently on track to reach close to $1 billion by end of 2018, making Southwest Ontario the highest-volumefunded territory in Canada. For Pellegrino, the key to success


says, “and it motivates me to work harder as I strive to raise the bar for the mortgage industry in Ontario and across Canada.” When handling the surge of applications that have come through Pillar since the rule changes, Blanco has been more active in filtering applications at the business development stage to help clients achieve a higher success rate. “I also work closely with my colleagues on Pillar’s underwriting team as we strive to boost the efficiency of our operations in order to provide better service to our brokers,” he says.

lies in being thorough from the start: “When my broker calls me about a ‘tough’ deal, I look at the strengths and intricacies of the entire application,” she says. “Highlighting the strengths and the data integrity of the deal to mitigate risk the first time they submit the application lends itself to a win-win for both the broker and underwriter by providing a quicker turnaround time on the underwriting process and better client experience.”


In her first year as a BDM, June Young received the BDM of the Year Award from The Mortgage Group BC. In her second year, via an MCAP broker survey, Young’s service was rated ‘high/excellent’ by 95% of clients, and she ended that year as one of the top three BDMs in the company nationally. Now coming up on three years as a BDM, Young is in continual growth mode both personally and professionally, while navigating the hurdles that are natural to the business. “On a daily basis you are collaborating with brokers who are at all levels of education and industry knowledge,” she says. “The most effective way for me to handle this is to never assume any unstated facts, to ask questions and listen in order to provide solutions, and to encourage calls/emails whenever assistance is needed.” For Young, one of the most rewarding parts of being a BDM is spending time with newer brokers and watching them succeed. Young makes an effort to spend face-to-face time with brokers to achieve the best results. Outside of her role as a BDM, Young is the treasurer for a small strata corporation and for the BC Lenders Group Association, where she also sits on the board of directors.


Since she joined B2B Bank in 2015, Ally Higgins has successfully increased sales by a significant margin, achieving growth of more than 40% in her first year. She has received multiple sales awards from the bank for her efforts, along with peer recognition such as The Mighty Thor and Service Hero awards. Higgins has worked on both lending and brokering sides of the industry, and she relies on this experience to help brokers achieve their goals. “From helping with my broker partners’ sales goals to their industry education, I am here to be someone they can lean and count on,” she says. Believing that education is a necessity in this industry, Higgins has had extensive sales training over the course of her career with groups such as Dennis Black & Associates, Double Digit Sales, Kolbe Index Assessment and Sequoia Systems. She is also an active supporter of WIMI, Mortgage Professionals Canada and CMBAAC.













Mike Mourtos enjoys his role as a BDM and helping brokers assist their clients in fulfilling their dreams of homeownership. “I continually work hard to ensure my broker partners and their clients receive the very best Merix has to offer,” he says. “As a result of this dedication, I’m honoured to be among the top three sales performers within Merix for the past three years.” During the same period, Mourtos also helped build his region to include 12 status-performing brokers who dedicate a significant portion of their business to Merix. As the mortgage landscape continually changes, Mourtos stresses the importance of consistently staying on top of policy changes to best inform his brokers.

“Our efficiencies are dependent upon ensuring our broker partners understand all our current offerings and policies so files close smoothly,” he says. “It’s especially challenging to deal with circumstances out of my control – like interest rate increases or policy changes – but I do my best to ensure my brokers are always well informed.” In addition to being named a Top BDM by CMP, Mourtos has won the Sarah Mackay BDM Award for Eastern Ontario from Invis/Mortgage Intelligence.


In a challenging mortgage environment, Tara Fels has responded by adapting her behaviours and sales strategies to the federal regulations that have impacted the industry. “I am very diligent in making sure that I am fully up-to-date on policy and products so that I am able to educate my brokers while also trying to simplify the information,” she says. Striving to go above and beyond whenever the opportunity presents itself, Fels looks for ways to exceed brokers’ expectations by finding different ways to help their business. “I am fortunate to have incredible support, coaching and training from MCAP, which has allowed me to learn and implement new ideas and new ways of using the resources I have access to,” she says. “This has helped me to grow my relationships with my brokers and work with them to create strategies that will positively impact their business.”



At RMG Mortgages, Aaron Rainville has developed and maintained a strong broker portfolio that began with non-producing accounts and today is composed of 87% top-status brokers. Rainville has already surpassed his funded volume target for this year, despite working in an increasingly difficult market. “Aside from ensuring that I am a reliable source of information for my brokers on the almost constant changes in our industry,” he says, “I combatted this and added value to my broker relationships by setting a goal to develop and implement several successful strategies in 2018.” These strategies include teaching brokers how to use RMG’s cash-back products; educating brokers on analytical business planning and goal setting; creating custom, customer-facing

marketing videos for brokers; and providing write-ups to assist brokers with target marketing. “I believe going above and beyond for my broker business partners should be a daily occurrence and that it is the small things that matter the most,” Rainville says. “These include always responding to calls and emails within two hours if I’m not able to do so immediately, being available after hours or on weekends when needed, speaking to clients directly on the broker’s behalf when faced with difficult situations, and sending gift baskets to clients and important broker referral sources on behalf of the broker without being asked.”



In his first year at RMG Mortgages, Richard Chiew has grown his client base by approximately 45% while increasing sales in the Northern Alberta and Saskatchewan territories by 117%. “In my first year at RMG,” he says, “my goals were: one, help my brokers navigate the new B-20 guidelines that were coming into effect on January 1, and two, add value throughout the year, not only with strategies around qualifying, but also talking up additional programs that we offer at RMG that might help brokers either find more business within their current database or attract new clients.” Chiew credits his success this year in part to his understanding of the new rules, which he’s used to help brokers

maintain or grow their volumes. “I believe there are some great BDMs in my marketplace who are successful in growing volumes – not because they have the best rate, but because they provide the best service and so do their underwriters,” he says. “First and foremost, be present. I find that if brokers have to wait, especially if it’s more than an hour, they’ve already moved on to the next lender or BDM. I utilize the FIFO – first in, first out – rule with returning phone calls and emails.”


After spending 14 years in IT sales, Michael Thibault moved to the mortgage industry. For the past two years, he has been a business development manager for Magenta Capital. Having come from a different background, Thibault had to learn and grow quickly to serve his broker clients. “I have fully ingrained myself in this ever-changing industry and feel as though I have been successful in adding value to our broker partners,” he says. In an industry that’s so dynamic, Thibault strives to adapt quickly in order to provide brokers with solutions that enable them to sell. “For me, going above and beyond is a daily goal,” he says. “It has become obvious to me that this is an industry that moves quickly. Communicating, answering questions, giving feedback or offering advice on a deal must be done


at warp speed. Going above and beyond in this industry is straightforward; I am always accessible and extremely responsive.”


Harnessing his 18 years of mortgage, banking and finance experience, Drew Brown has developed relationships with brokers and bank partners that have resulted in the tripling of his funded volume in the three years since he joined HomeEquity Bank. Knowing that a reverse mortgage can be a misunderstood product, Brown demonstrates the benefits and shares testimonials to show how it can be the right solution in many circumstances. By managing expectations, Brown is able to enhance the overall experience for both his referral partners and their clients. He has often helped clients who are in power of sale save their home by offering reverse options. “It’s always encouraging and heartwarming how often we make a difference in a senior’s life when they see no other options but selling their home when that is the last thing they want to do,” he says. “Giving clients the freedom to live their retirement the way they want to is a great satisfaction to me and one of the best parts of being part of HomeEquity Bank.”


Three years ago, when she joined Merix Financial in an inside sales position, Jessica Fitzpatrick was brand-new to the mortgage industry. She soon progressed to an outside sales role in Southwest Ontario, and this year, she took over the GTA region, collaborating with industry partners such as insurers, appraisers, lawyers and Realtors to find solutions. “I make myself available evenings and weekends as needed to ensure there are no delays when my partners need me the most,” Fitzpatrick says. “One thing I do in particular that my broker partners appreciate involves discussing a file with them and providing guidance about where the client fits best, even if it’s not with Merix right now.” For Fitzpatrick, structuring a deal is like a game – at the end of the day, everyone wins when they work together. “Educating my agents and brokers on the new products we have made available and how we can collectively use them is a key to my success,” she says. “Regardless of the changing landscape, however, I always try to stay positive and reassure my partners that I’ll help them find a solution.”



TOP BDMs 2018


Having only been in a BDM role since 2016, Paul Jardine has been already been nominated for Best Newcomer Lender BDM and BDM of the Year at the Canadian Mortgage Awards. “I grew my territory by double its volume in my first year and continued growth last year by another 20% to 25%,” he says, “all by providing quick service and answers to agents and brokers through education on our products.” New regulations have made it more difficult for buyers to qualify for mortgages, and Jardine has noticed that a lot of confusion remains among brokers. “I’ve found that agents/brokers tend to take the path of least resistance and just submit an alternative deal straight away to a private when it can still be handled on the alt side with a better deal for their clients,” Jardine says. “With more competition in the alternative space, there is a wider gap in what each lender will do. Knowing advantages with every lender’s products and why our broker community should use Optimum is a key to our joint success in obtaining better mortgages and overall better satisfaction for the broker community.” By turning negatives into positives – such as one instance when he became a liaison between a broker and his staff to smooth out a deal – Jardine has forged great relationships from even the most unfavourable situations.



As a BDM with HomeEquity Bank, Chris Hoeppner has earned the company’s President’s Club distinction in every year that he’s been eligible. But his proudest

accomplishment has been helping more aging Canadians in the Fraser Valley in the past three years than any other territory. “As a BDM for a company that only offers a reverse mortgage, getting past initial objections and preconceived ideas about how reverse mortgages work is the number-one day-to-day challenge,” Hoeppner says. “My approach to ‘selling’ with a product like this actually doesn’t feel much like selling at all. I treat each and every broker and client encounter as a chance to educate, learn about the scenario facing me and to add value.” Hoeppner’s aim is to be Fraser Valley’s go-to resource for reverse mortgages, and he has become a subject-matter expert in the area. To best serve his brokers, Hoeppner has made an effort to learn about their world, the challenges they face and how they generate business so that he can provide them with the tools, materials and support they need.


For the past 10 years, Christine Kamel has been a business development manager with Paradigm/Merix. Prior to becoming a BDM, she started as an underwriter for an insurer before moving to an underwriting role at a lender. “Being a BDM has its daily challenges, and finding new ways to overcome all issues plays a large part in making this job so rewarding,” Kamel says. “The most significant challenges these days, of course, revolve around the new mortgage qualification rules. I pride myself on building relationships, while at the same time being honest and candid with my broker partners and my colleagues.” Kamel has two philosophies that guide her in the business: remembering that 40% of deal success is underwriting and 60% is personal connection, and always over-delivering to ensure the next deal comes her way. “At the end of the

day, you must always be available for your clients,” she says. That commitment to clients has resulted in Kamel being voted by brokers as Quebec’s Top-Performing BDM in both 2017 and 2018.

Congratulations to four amazing champions! Tara Beattie Alex Bruce Livia Pellegrino Elena Robinson Recognized by the broker community as four of the top Business Development Managers in the industry. For the past 30 years, First National has remained committed to going beyond service for brokers. Tara, Alex, Livia, and Elena exemplify that commitment – building trust, delivering on promises and championing their brokers’ businesses at every opportunity. Thank you for acknowledging the vital roles that Tara, Alex, Livia and Elena play in championing your business and helping you and your clients achieve your goals. Championing your business for 30 years Ontario Mortgage Brokerage License No. 10514



TOP BDMs 2018


Serving the Golden Horseshoe region, Angela Lattuca is a senior business development manager at HomeEquity Bank, where she uses her unique background as a mortgage assistant


In 2018, his first year with RMG, Shane Lapointe ranked number two in volume as a percentage of target, having increased sales in his territory by 68%. He also achieved the highest efficiency ratio among his peers in Western Canada.


and mortgage agent to help her clients. A passionate and empathetic BDM, Lattuca focuses on helping Canadians who don’t check all the bank boxes. “I can truly say that my biggest professional accomplishments are being able to tie my work with my empathetic side,” she says, “to meet and help inspiring Canadians who have experienced unfortunate circumstances and being able to help solve their problems and change their lives.” Lattuca has found that the biggest challenge she faces is normalizing reverse mortgages for Canadians in their senior years. “For me, having the ability to empower Canadians to stay in their homes that they love with dignity is what keeps me doing what I do,” she says. Working in partnership with her brokers, Lattuca assists them in face-to-face meetings with clients, and she also helps them with marketing strategies to inform their clients about the reverse mortgage options available in their retirement years.

Lapointe works closely with brokers on transfer strategies, showing them how to use RMG’s products and rates to target specific markets. “I assist my brokers by attending their offices and pulling reports for them off their database, then assisting them in targeting potential clients with a defined, professional strategy,” he says. “The success of this method alone has resulted in my brokers enjoying exceptional success in transfer business this year.” Lapointe sees a need for BDMs to continue to focus on growing brokers’ product knowledge and to emphasize their own role as an advisor. “With so many financial institutions vying for their business, it’s hard for them to know all the options,” he says. “I have established myself as a go-to resource for my brokers. They can call me, and I advise them honestly on their options. Sometimes another financial institution is a better fit, and I don’t have a problem telling them that. This builds a relationship of honesty and integrity.”


In the past three years, Chris Woodhouse has contributed to the successful launch of a subprime line at Street Capital, and the product now competes with some of the top B lenders in the industry. He has also managed to grow his own book of business and receive the 2017 Canadian Mortgage Award for Best Newcomer Lender BDM. For Woodhouse, going above and beyond for a client is pretty much expected of a successful BDM, especially when it comes to response time. “Simply returning a phone call within a couple of hours is now the norm for most BDMs, and therefore we must go above and beyond on a regular basis,” he says. “I have gone to the office of a broker who wasn’t able to email documents due to a technical issue. I went through the documents with him before taking them to our downtown location and handing them to our document review team. If we had waited, we ran the risk of pushing back a closing.” Outside of his work at Street Capital, Woodhouse is involved in a Movember campaign and has volunteered for Walk a Mile in Her Shoes.



Suzanne Fleur de Lys-Aujla has been regional business manager of BC for Equitable Bank since 2016. With her passion, her continued dedication to support brokers with education and her knowledge of multiple alternative solutions, Fleur de Lys-Aujla is a major contributor to the mortgage industry. Fleur de Lys-Aujla thrives on building

It’s been a good year for Skip Walters and First Source Mortgage Corporation. The company’s recently launched mutual fund trust has grown substantially, and its overall portfolio continues to grow, along with new business. Walters believes that differentiating First Source from competitors means providing exceptional service, which includes everything from communication and commitment to education and empowerment. At times, his work boils down to confirming interest or disinterest within the same day – or, if possible, during the first call – as well as staying with the file through every step to make sure nothing

falls through the cracks. Walters has also noticed that many residential brokers are entering the commercial lending space and often need more help in dealing with borrowers and setting expectations, which is something he is committed to helping with through education. Walters has been nominated as a director of CMBA and appointed chair of education for the association. He plans to introduce education and sales courses specifically designed to help rookie agents fast-track to success. In addition, CMBA is also planning a number of symposiums and a trade show for the coming year.

relationships and is passionate about helping others. For her, a powerful motivating factor is witnessing the success of mortgage professionals in serving homeowners and consumers. Fleur de Lys-Aujla is a co-founder of the BC Lender’s Group and currently serves as its vice-chair. Over the past few years, she has served on numerous committees for Mortgage Professionals Canada and is an active director of CMBA-BC/MBABC. Fleur de Lys-Aujla is also the co-founder of Women in the Mortgage Industry, which has more than 3,600 members nationally

and was recognized as Best Industry Service Provider at the Canadian Mortgage Awards in 2016.



For more than a decade now, the Canadian Mortgage Awards has been the benchmark for recognition of excellence as the longest-running independent awards event for the mortgage industry. Winning a CMA is a sure-fire indicator of success across the whole spectrum of the industry. And that’s an industry we always aim to inspire, by showcasing the leadership, service, innovation, support and principles that make this business great. The CMAs are brought to you by The Coalition of Independent Mortgage Brokers of Canada (CIMBC) in partnership with Canadian Mortgage Professional and Mortgage Broker News, the resources of choice for the country’s most forward-thinking mortgage professionals. Winners and finalists will be showcased in CMP magazine and, as well as all major National Press. SPECIAL THANKS TO OUR AWARD SPONSORS Brought to you by

Official Publication:

Over 20 award categories open to brokers, brokerages and lenders! ORGANIZATION AWARDS         

Brokerage of the Year (Fewer than 25 Employees) Brokerage of the Year (25 Employees or More) New Brokerage of the Year The Manulife Bank Award for Outstanding Customer Service by an Individual Office Brokerage of the Year – Diversification Digital Innovator of the Year National Broker Network of the Year Mortgage Industry Employer of Choice Industry Service Provider of the Year

INDIVIDUAL AWARDS             

Broker of the Year (Fewer than 25 Employees) Broker of the Year (25 Employees or More) Young Gun of the Year Broker of the Year – Commercial Broker of the Year – Private Lending The Home Trust Award for Broker of the Year – Alternative Lending Alternative Broker Specialist of the Year – Business for Self Alternative Broker Specialist of the Year – New to Canada The Canada Mortgage & Financial Group Award for Lender Underwriter of the Year The CIMBC Award for Lender BDM of the Year Lifetime Achievement in the Mortgage Industry The Dominion Lending Centres Award for Woman of Distinction Excellence in Philanthropy & Community Service

There’s no better recognition than a Canadian Mortgage Award – but you can’t win it if you’re not in it!




BROKER LIFESTYLE SURVEY 2018 How do you compare to the average broker? CMP takes a closer look at the business and lives of Canadian mortgage brokers

HAVE YOU ever wondered how your business and lifestyle compares to your peers? Then look no further. After a brief hiatus, CMP has brought back our Broker Lifestyle Survey, giving brokers from coast to coast a glimpse into the lives of colleagues. From annual income and investment portfolios to vacation habits and the type of car you drive,


CMP asked the questions most are too reluctant to, and hundreds of brokers responded, giving insight into their daily lives. Take a look at the facts and figures about your peers on the following pages – some of the data might surprise you, and some might just motivate you to work harder to achieve your goals.



















What city do you live in? Survey respondents hailed from 105 different cities, but the following 11 had the highest concentration of participants.





















North Vancouver


Do you live where you work?

What’s your age?





of brokers work in the city where they live




64% male




35 to 44 55 to 64

45 to 54 65+

All 10 provinces were represented in this year’s survey, although the majority of participants hailed from Ontario. Despite a growing trend of women entering the industry, only 36% of women responded to the survey, down from 38% in 2015.




WORK LIFE Working hours per day 60%




40% 30%


20% 10% 0%

Also work on weekends

Average years of experience


15% 1 to 5


2% 6 to 8

9 to 12


When you snooze, you lose, and many brokers aren’t taking the chance of missing out on a deal. More than half of this year’s respondents said they work on weekends, and 29% reported working nine or more hours a day.

BROKER PROFILE 35% of brokers have a background in banking, while 15% of brokers said they would consider taking a job in the banking industry









of respondents work full-time as a broker


Independent or part of a network?


Compared to the last Broker Lifestyle Survey in 2015, not much has changed in terms of broker profile. Most brokers continue to partner with networks – only 21% marked themselves as independent, slightly down from 24% three years ago.




$1.9 million

Average income

Highest income



Average amount in investments

Average amount in savings



$10,000 to $50,000


Less than $5,000


Less than $5,000


$50,001 to $100,000


$5,000 to $10,000


$5,000 to $10,000


$100,001 to $300,000


$10,001 to $50,000


$10,001 to $50,000


$300,001 to $500,000


$50,001 to $100,000


$50,001 to $100,000


More than $500,000


More than $100,000


More than $100,000


Ready for retirement? 26% 59%



Money talk is often taboo, but CMP tackled it head-on and discovered some hopeful news: 59% of brokers say they’ll be ready for retirement, an increase of 5% compared to our 2015 survey. Perhaps that’s due to the fact that brokers’ average annual income has increased by more than $1,500. The numbers also suggest that more brokers are saving and investing: More than 24% of respondents have $50,000 or more in savings, while half have more than $100,000 in investments.






of brokers participate in ongoing education

Some high school



High school diploma

15% 24%

Some university


Undergraduate degree 16%

Graduate degree 0%












REAL ESTATE AND MORTGAGES 90% a rental property 39% Own Own their own home

Mortgage matters




of brokers have a mortgage

are with a monoline

have their mortgages through banks

2.8% is their average mortgage rate







10% 11%



31% 25% 36%

Less than 10%

10% to 30%


31% to 50%

51% to 70%

71% to 90%

More than 91%

CMP ANALYSIS Overall, real estate and mortgage trends among brokers have declined slightly since 2015. Brokers have less home equity on average, fewer brokers own their homes or own rental properties, and fewer brokers have assets in real estate. What hasn’t declined is the average mortgage rate, which increased .3% – hardly surprising, given industry-wide rate increases.





Smartphone preferences



How much you did you spend on your best suit?




of brokers conduct business in a suit



own a bespoke or custom-tailored suit


The majority of brokers said they spent $100 to $500 on a good suit. Only 16% reported spending $1,000 or more.

$100-$500 84%

$1,000+ 16%


26% lease their car

73% own a car

1% do not own or drive a car

What do you drive?

Vehicle price tag



Less than $20,000


$20,000 to 25,000

Sports car

$25,000 to $30,000


$30,000 to $40,000


$40,000 to $50,000


$50,000 or more

A few brokers are still holding onto the relics of days past – 1% said they haven’t given up their flip phone. When it comes to fashion, most brokers also agree on what to spend on a good suit – 43% reported spending $100 to $500 on their best business attire, while only 16% said they shelled out $1,000 or more. Also, 27% of brokers opted for a bespoke suit. More brokers are also leasing their cars – 26% said they lease in 2018 versus 19% in 2015. And while the majority of brokers drive sedans, SUVs or trucks, a few have more unconventional wheels such as a Tesla.


















of brokers own a vacation home





HOBBIES 25% 20%

of brokers are members of a private club or a country club












11% 0%


0% 1 week a year

2 weeks a year

3 weeks a year 4+ weeks a year

Preferred social media platform






Social media use OCCASIONALLY
















CMP ANALYSIS It’s no surprise that the amount of vacation time taken by most brokers has remained nearly the same. Many respondents named travel as one of their top three hobbies, although just 16% of brokers own a vacation home (compared to 18% in 2015). What has also shifted is that very few brokers own both a cottage and international vacation home – down from 13% in 2015 to just 3% this year – suggesting that brokers might be looking to cut expenses or are taking advantage of rental options such as Airbnb. When it comes to social media, brokers’ Instagram use has seen a huge spike since 2015, increasing from 3% to 22%, which could be a sign of brokers increasing their efforts to reach a younger demographic that prefers Instagram.




Never married




Have one kid


Have two kids


Have three kids



Married once Twice


Don’t have kids



Have four or more kids Three or more times









Pet ownership OWN A DOG


21% 39%

61% 79% DON’T OWN A DOG


CMP ANALYSIS The percentage of married brokers has dipped slightly from 2015, from 75% to 72%, but the share of brokers with one marriage has remained steady at 69%. Of those who are single, 17% have never been married, which is 4% higher than in 2015. More brokers now have just one kid instead of two or more; the percentage of brokers with two kids has dropped from 37% to 32% since 2015. Pet ownership has also gone down – only 39% of brokers own a dog, compared to 46% three years ago.




Staying connected Filogix’s Ryan Spence tells CMP what brokers need to keep in mind when it comes to how their clients’ data is stored THE CANADIAN mortgage industry seems to be in a period of constant change. Whether it’s regulatory changes like the stress tests or just consumer pressure to conduct business in new ways, industry insiders are being forced to rethink many aspects of how they run their businesses. Technology is playing a major role in changing the face of the industry, and most brokers and agents have now accepted that adopting modern technology solutions is a must. In the modern age, a broker’s data is their most value commodity, but according


to Ryan Spence, broker services channel manager at Filogix, knowing how to handle and care for that data is often not so simple. “There is an information overload, and that leads to uncertainty – brokers have so many people telling them different things that they don’t know which decision to make,” Spence says. “These decisions impact the future of their business, and there are some key areas I ask agents and brokerages to consider. Those are data certainty, data manoeuvrability and data locality.” How and where a broker’s data is stored

can have massive ramifications on their ability to either grow or move their business. “We want brokerages to have lots of choices, to be able to run their businesses in ways that help them achieve results,” Spence explains. “In order to meet this goal, we’ve designed the Filogix Expert platform in a way that gives brokers flexibility and control over their data.”


Data certainty

Moving to a new parent organization or becoming independent is a common way

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experienced agent or a brokerage that is joining a new network. Does their data come back to them fully formed or as a bag of parts they need to spend a great deal of time reassembling? “As the neutral provider and industry standard, Filogix Expert provides a foundation for an agent or brokerage to move quickly as their needs change,” Spence says. “Different platforms may not talk well to one another, but when brokerages have their core data within Filogix Expert, firms can move seamlessly between them, detaching from one and attaching to another with ease. We continue to strengthen that foundation by building new and expanding existing tools to give brokerages far more fine control.”


Data locality

A brokerage needs to also consider the exact location in which their data sits. Who has access to this data, and who benefits from where the core data is stored – and who should benefit from where it is stored? “If a for brokers to seek out new opportunities. In many cases, brokers want these moves to be as quick and seamless as possible. But who has access to their data and who benefits from where their core data is stored are important considerations for brokers. The broker owner or broker of record owns the data and should have certainty about what happens to it. “On our system, they have easy access to their data and the power to do with it what they please,” Spence says. “That is data certainty. Some clients have been with us for 20 years and have decades of historic data, and they always know where each piece of information is. It helps brokers be nimble.”


Data manoeuvrability

Moving data into somewhere might be easy, but moving it out in a usable format can often be more complex. Spence gives the example of a brokerage that has recruited an

providers to connect into its network. Spence describes the decision as a “natural evolution of what is happening in the marketplace.” “In the last two years, we have seen an incredible growth in the amount of people looking for a new piece of tech,” he says. “It’s no longer just the large players, either. We are seeing small firms and even individual agents in a brokerage looking to customize their business flow through tech. Agents and brokers are asking for new things, so we spent a lot of time building the tools in our infrastructure that would allow us to enable that. Now we’re in a position where we have the ability to let all of these people connect to their data seamlessly.” Spence believes this new level of choice and flexibility will allow brokers and agents at all levels to boost their books of business. There’s so much information out there today, and so many differing opinions, that making strategic data decisions can seem a bit overwhelming. These decisions have long-term impacts, and brokers need to consider the

“Having certainty of data, the ability to move data and knowing where that data is being housed are crucial pieces of information for any mortgage professional to know” Ryan Spence, Filogix regulator calls for an audit or an investigation, the brokerage needs to be in position to provide what they demand,” Spence explains. “They also need to make sure that the location of the data does not hold them hostage in any way.”

A new era of choice Filogix is determined to help create a higher level of choice for Canadian brokers, and that drive led the company to open up the front end of Expert to allow other solutions

best place to store their core data so that they can be nimble and make organizational change as and when needed. “Having certainty of data, the ability to move data and knowing where that data is being housed are crucial pieces of information for any mortgage professional to know,” Spence says. “Brokers should be able to make the changes needed within their business fairly easily, quickly and in an efficient method. Having their data in the right place is an important aspect of that.”

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Designated professional Christina Ashmore, managing director of IFSE Institute, tells CMP about the designation that’s helping brokers stand out from the crowd

DIFFERENTIATION SHOULD be a top priority for any modern mortgage broker. Competition is increasing, and consumers have more options than ever before, so making adjustments that will compel buyers to work with you can make a real difference to your bottom line. One way to boost relationships with existing clients is by being able to offer

to cover their mortgage and are usually offered creditor insurance. But when a broker is able to offer their clients an insurance policy where the face value doesn’t decline, they can name a beneficiary of their choosing and the funds can be used for other things, there’s a lot more flexibility and value for the client. “For the mortgage broker, being able to sell life insurance offers an opportunity to

“Instead of sending the client to someone else to take care of the insurance, the mortgage broker can make it a seamless process for their clients” Christina Ashmore, IFSE Institute them other products such as life insurance. Convenience is what the modern consumer demands, and offering a product that a client would usually have to get from another type of financial advisor or broker can definitely help to achieve that. The majority of clients will need insurance


expand their business and grow their revenues,” says Christina Ashmore, managing director of IFSE Institute. “From a business perspective, they can increase the dollars they make per client with sales of additional products. Selling additional products to existing clients is a more cost-effective way to

increase revenues compared to attracting new clients.” In order to equip brokers to sell life insurance policies, IFSE offers the Life License Qualification Program [LLQP], an online course that breaks down complex concepts and gives brokers the skills to become a competent insurance professional. “It provides candidates with the flexibility to complete the course of study at their own pace,” Ashmore says. “After candidates register through IFSE’s website, they receive access to all the course material, numerous tools and aids to help them study, and the certification exams. In addition, IFSE’s website provides candidates with additional helpful information on how to become licensed, links to the provincial regulators and useful study tips.” Ashmore believes that embracing continuing education is crucial for mortgage brokers in the current environment. With the constantly evolving landscape, it’s more important than ever for brokers to stay informed and knowledgeable. “As a professional, continuous learning is not only an expectation, but a necessity,” she

says. “The industry is always innovating, and offering new products, as well as introducing new technologies, can be competitive to agents or assist them in being more productive.” Depending on the broker’s location, there are either four or five modules to be completed in the LLQP. Once a broker has passed IFSE’s certification process, they can then write the provincial regulatory exams. The main areas of the LLQP’s focus are life insurance, accident and sickness insurance, segregated funds, and ethics and professional practice. Brokers learn about the different types of insurance products, the features and benefits, the underwriting and claims process, ethical standards, the needs analysis process, and how to make proper recommendations. Because it’s a self-study online course, brokers are able schedule their studying any way they want. Candidates have one year to

complete the certification and another year to successfully pass the licensing exams. If brokers want to fast-track their studying and finish the program more quickly, they can arrange their schedule to do so. If they want to do one module at a time and take a little longer, they’re free to do so as long as they are within the one-year timeframe. “IFSE caters to adult learners, and the majority of our students are working full- or part-time while they’re studying with us,” Ashmore says. “Students can pick and choose the tools that work for them. We have course manuals, study guides, sample exams, flash cards and videos to help them prepare. They can decide how they want to learn.” The LLQP offers brokers an avenue to create a whole new revenue stream. With the mortgage industry in the midst of a period of change, adding another string to your bow presents obvious benefits. More clients are

looking for intermediaries who can help manage every area of their financial life. The role of the ‘family CFO’ is becoming increasingly sought after, and brokers who continue to develop and add capabilities have a good chance of fitting the requirements of that role. But it’s not just brokers who benefit from completing courses like the LLQP. It’s also a boon for their clients. “By working with someone they already have a relationship with, the client has already built up trust and confidence with that individual,” Ashmore says. “It also saves clients time since the mortgage broker will already know about their situation and what their needs are. Instead of sending the client to someone else to take care of the insurance, the mortgage broker can make it a seamless process for their clients. The mortgage broker can help them get it done, and it’s another thing clients don’t need to worry about.”




A meteoric rise Asim Ali tells CMP how he funded $33 million in his first full year as a broker – and how he plans to hit $100 million in 2018

CMP: What made you first get into the mortgage broker industry? Asim Ali: I purchased my first home at the age of 23 using a mortgage broker, and it was a great experience. But initially I met a mortgage advisor from the same bank who said that I wouldn’t qualify because I’d had a bill in collections in the past, so he simply refused me. Someone recommended me to another mortgage advisor from the same lender whose first question when we spoke on the phone was, “Are you able to come up with 20%?” This question was never asked by any of the other agents I met, and that just did it for me. I realized there is so much opportunity. The other guys could have completed the transaction, but they didn’t ask me the right questions. I made up my mind that if I was ever to leave the industry I was in, I would become a mortgage broker. I formally entered the business in July 2016.

CMP: How would you describe your time in the industry? AA: It’s been great. At first, I worked 18-hour days. I didn’t have an assistant because I didn’t know at which point I would need one. Then when I needed one, I wasn’t able to find the right fit for my business model. The first two years were phenomenal.


I did $3.3 million in my first five months, which was OK and paid the bills, but in the next year, 2017, I did over $33 million in my first full year. This year, we are hoping to crack $100 million. We are pushing every day to hit that target.

CMP: Do you have a specialization? AA: I haven’t turned down a client and have an equal split between A clients, B clients and private clients. It’s all been in residential deals so far.

CMP: How did you achieve such early success in the industry? AA: I’ve done everything, from knocking on

CMP: What tips would you give to other brokers who are new to the industry? AA: Become friends with other brokers.

doors to calling real estate agents and setting up coffee appointments on a daily basis. I have been going to open houses with them and becoming friends with them – taking them out to lunches and dinners, whatever I could do to establish relationships. It didn’t really pan out in the first few months because I was just planting the seeds, but after six months it exploded, one after another. People I had chatted with three months ago started sending files my way because I was consistent in my approach – that’s what I’ve been told by various people.

Talk to them on a daily basis – they are your mentors and your best tool for advice. They have been there and done it. Even if they have only done 10 files, they are still doing better than you. You need to talk to a lot of brokers, listen to what they have to say and then apply what they are doing – kind of like copy and paste. Some people consider that cheating, but I don’t. People pick up a lot of good stuff from motivational videos and books and then apply that to their lives; it’s the same thing. Listen to other successful brokers – how they

ALI ON BEING NAMED A CMP YOUNG GUN “It was a huge accomplishment to get that recognition. Nobody knew me at the time, so having CMP recognize me and put my name out there was a big thing for me at the time, and it still is. I made sure I advertised it to people via Facebook and Instagram and on emails to clients and referral partners, thanking them. I also have a certificate of it on a plaque on the wall in my office.”


JOB TITLE Mortgage consultant

BROKERAGE Dominion Lending Centres Producers West Financial


ACCOLADES Named a Young Gun by CMP in 2017 and a finalist for Best Newcomer at the 2018 Canadian Mortgage Awards

“You need to talk to a lot of brokers, listen to what they have to say and then apply what they are doing” are managing the business and the things they do on a daily basis. Then apply it to your business, and you will find a lot of success.

CMP: We hear you’re also very active in your community. AA: My background is Pakistan, so the three groups and community associations

I help are Pakistani-based. The purpose for them is to bring Canadians, Pakistanis and other communities together, so there’s a wide range of people that come to these events, which I sponsor. I also volunteer at a food bank. I wish I could do more, and hopefully in the future when I have more time, I will.

VOLUME Funded $3.3 million in his first five months in the business and $33 million in his first full year

GOAL On track to fund $100 million by the end of 2018




It’s all about getting paid The Financing Hub’s Paul McGill outlines how to ensure you’re fairly compensated for your commercial brokering efforts

OVER THE last 11 months, I’ve had a lot of fun putting together these monthly articles on commercial mortgage brokering. I’ve tried to select topics I thought would help give a broad view of commercial brokering, as well as some tips on how to be a more effective commercial broker. But when it came time to select

fees upfront until you’ve delivered results (which, in our case, is the money they need to borrow). Often, the client feels that they might still be able to find the funds themselves or that they’re really doing all the work, so why pay someone so much for just making some phone calls on their behalf ? Even

If you don’t pull a proper submission together, getting paid is not going to happen. If that means accepting some help, then accept the help and get paid this last topic, I wanted to talk about the most important issue we at The Financing Hub see standing between a successful commercial agent and one who fails to see real revenues coming out of their efforts. The number-one sin of less experienced agents is their reluctance to ask clients for exclusivity mandates that clearly spell out fee arrangements. Now, we all know new clients are reluctant to commit to placement


worse, some clients think they’re better off working with a number of agents to increase their chances of finding the cheapest funds. Let’s take all this apart and look at it a little differently.

Get results for your client First off, if you are someone who’s just making a few calls – if you’re not doing the analysis, compiling all the documents

and determining the right strategy for the submission – either stay out of the game or find industry partners to work with. Your options are to co-broker or to find lenders who are willing to work with you to put that right submission together. We do it here at The Financing Hub when we do the initial underwriting. Others do as well. To be clear, if you don’t pull a proper submission together, getting paid is not going to happen. If that means accepting some help, then accept the help and get paid.

purchase that property and generate future revenues. Combined placement/funding fees come in between 1% and 4%. Both you and the Realtor are charging similar fees to help the client access the property revenues they want. That seems pretty fair to me.

Insist on exclusivity As a registered mortgage agent, you provide professional services. How many other professional services providers would agree to work for a client when that client is already working with someone else? How many lawyers, for instance, would take on a client, knowing there is another lawyer working the same case? Any client not willing to deal with you exclusively doesn’t respect you as a professional or the services you’re providing. My strong recommendation when a client won’t sign an exclusivity agreement is to walk away and focus your attention on clients who want to work with you. Those are the clients who are going to pay you. To give you a sense of how strongly we hold this opinion at The Financing Hub, we’ve put rules in place over the last few months that state we will only provide underwriting support when both the agent and the client enter into an exclusivity mandate to work with our funding consortium. It’s not something all of our users want to do, but just like you, for us it’s about getting paid and working with people who want to work with us.

Stay in the game Make sure your fees are fair You’re asking the client to pay you a fee, so you must make sure that fee is fair. Commercial mortgage placements typically start at 50 basis points for a simple, straightforward placement and run up to 200 basis points for complex submissions that require a lot of work. A hundred basis points is often the norm. When setting your fees, remember that in commercial placement, there are often funding fees that the client will be asked to pay as well. Take that into account.

So is all of this fair? Well, compare it to a real estate fee. In a real estate transaction, the client is paying a fee to a Realtor so they, the client, can generate revenues from the commercial property. As a seller, the client is generating revenues from the sale of the property. As a buyer, the client is acquiring the property so they can use it to generate future revenues. Fees for those real estate services are generally between 4% and 5%. As a mortgage agent, you are accessing the funds the client needs so they can

Over the last year, we’ve all seen just how significant the residential mortgage changes have been on brokers’ business. For many of you, the move to add more commercial brokering has been an important part of your business. We’ve worked with so many agents who have tried their hand at commercial in order to stabilize and even grow their personal revenues. Few, if any, of the folks we’ve worked with have succeeded the first or even second time out. But I’m pleased to report that those who




Any client not willing to deal with you exclusively doesn’t respect you as a professional or the services you’re providing stuck with it and took the lessons and advice to heart are now seeing the placement fees they wanted coming in. The landscape for residential mortgage brokers has changed. It’s just a fact that the addition of commercial placements to their day-to-day business will be permanent for a large number of brokers and agents. Where we can help in the future, we’ll be


happy to do so. This brings our series to an end. I hope you’ve enjoyed it and have taken away a little knowledge as well. It’s been great hearing your comments and getting the opportunity to meet some of you at the various conferences over the last year. The webinars we’ve been running in conjunction with the articles have been a

great success as well. For those interested, we will continue to run those webinars. To receive notifications for upcoming webinars, simply sign up at hubhints. We’ll let you know when the next one comes around. I’d like to thank all of the people who have helped me put this series together, and we look forward to working with many of you in the future.

Paul McGill is president of The Financing Hub, which is dedicated to delivering effective digital solutions for commercial real estate financing.

More Options. More Lenders. More Solutions.

The Financing Hub Brings Online Technology to the Commercial Mortgage Application Process Discover More: In exclusive partnership with MERIX Financial



An industry pioneer On the eve of its 30th anniversary, Mortgage Centre Canada looks at the evolution of a broker channel it helped to shape

WHEN BRENDAN CALDER, Bob Ord and Ivan Wahl got together in the late ’80s to start a small mortgage company called Equity Centres, which quickly became Mortgage Centre Canada [MCC], the three entrepreneurs introduced a model that would forever change the way Canadians finance their home purchases. As MCC gets set to celebrate its 30th anniversary next year, the longest-serving mortgage company in Canada is reflecting on its proud legacy of perseverance and excellence, while looking forward to a bright future of growth and innovation. The MCC concept was fairly simple: franchise the mortgage broker and open offices from coast to coast. While that’s basically the standard in the industry today, mortgage brokers had only about 2% of the market in 1989. The lending landscape in Canada was very different 30 years ago, and most brokers were relegated to the fringes of the industry. “It was very unique – [the MCC concept] had never been done before,” says MCC president Eddy Cocciollo. “Instead, there were independent brokers throughout the country, mostly dealing with private, non-institutionaltype lending.” When MCC opened shop, it became a gateway for brokers to work with regular lenders that had interest rates, products and policies that competed with the banks. The company was also a pioneer in technology, most notably creating Basis 100. The new system – the ancestor to what brokers know


today as Filogix – gave brokers access to seven lenders and their products, which the brokers could then present to their clients. “MCC paved the way for the entire industry,” Cocciollo says. “It was pivotal in creating a lot of what’s known today as mortgage brokering.” The company was eventually sold to CIBC in the early 1990s, where it remained as an arm of the bank for two decades. While MCC experienced steady growth, weathering a

reputation in the industry. “When a business has been around for as long as the Mortgage Centre, you know that there is a solid foundation in place,” he says. “My main objective has always been is to ensure that the business model and the people are intact.” Five years into his tenure, MCC experienced another big change after a relatively new player in the industry came knocking. Dominion Lending Centres, which in just

“As things get more complicated and more challenging, I think the advice and consultation of a mortgage broker is paramount. I see a strong future for our industry” Eddy Cocciollo, Mortgage Centre Canada housing crash in the late 1990s and the Great Recession of 2008, Cocciollo acknowledges that the company didn’t quite get the attention it needed under the big bank. Cocciollo, who began his career as a mortgage broker, came into the MCC fold in 2008. He was heading another CIBC product when MCC found itself between leadership. At the age of 35, he jumped at the chance to lead the respected company into the future. Cocciollo knew many brokers in the field and through them, knew that MCC had a great

a few short years had established itself as a leader in the industry, bought MCC in 2013. The change in ownership provided the support the company needed. Cocciollo notes that in the five years since, MCC’s agent count has more than doubled to 1,300, while overall volumes have jumped from less than $6 billion to nearly $9 billion. Diane Gagner, the principal broker of Chatham, Ontario-based Aria Commerce, has been with MCC since the beginning, when it was still known as Equity Centres. In

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her nearly 30 years in the business, Gagner has been through plenty of ups and downs. Between the poor economy in the early ’90s and a general lack of knowledge about the service a broker could offer, Gagner admits it was rough starting out. In those days, she notes, people went to the big banks because that’s what they knew from their parents. “We just saw [the MCC model] as something positive going toward the future, and thought we’d get in on the ground floor,” she says. “It was the concept of bringing this type of choice, and in a way education, to the consumer and providing an opportunity to build wealth in the future.” Gagner was eventually able to carve out a successful career in the mortgage industry. After all these years, she’s even more optimistic about the future of MCC and the industry. “I like where the company is going and what we are doing,” she says. “For the most part, things have progressed positively forward.” With its legacy firmly in place, MCC is focused on the next chapter. Hearkening back to the company’s roots as an innovator in the industry, Cocciollo’s priority is on investing in new products and new technology. MCC recently released the MCC Home Centre mobile app and has moved many of its brokers to Velocity, an alternative to Finastra. “We still want to be sure we’re investing in the right tools and technologies that will carry The Mortgage Centre way into the future,” he says. Cocciollo also believes the industry’s best days are still to come. “When it comes to consulting with a mortgage professional, there’s no better than the mortgage broker,” he says. “And as things get more complicated and more challenging, I think the advice and consultation of a mortgage broker is paramount. I see a strong future for our industry, with the added value provided by brokers being more evident and important than ever.” Today, more than a third of homebuyers turn to a mortgage broker for their mortgage needs, and more than half of first-time homebuyers seek the services of a mortgage professional. The way Cocciollo sees it, none of that would be possible without the trail MCC blazed 30 years ago.

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The year in review Between multiple product launches, a crosscountry roadshow and an enhanced sales staff, MERIX Financial had a big 2018. CMP spoke to president and CEO Boris Bozic to get his reflections on the year

CMP: With the B-20 rules that went into effect this year, how was business at MERIX impacted? Boris Bozic: The B-20 rules created pain points back in 2017. The 2018 ‘rules’ were primarily directed at the chartered banks. So, the stress test for uninsured business was not new to us at MERIX, but it was new to brokers who supported banks within the broker space. Therefore, the impact was positive in the fact that MERIX is now in a position to compete on a more level playing field. The banks still hold some advantages, but the gap has been narrowed, and ultimately this provides more options and choices for brokers.

CMP: MERIX recently completed a cross-country roadshow. Why did you decide to do this? BB: We decided to do it because we haven’t done it in so long. No one does. As an industry, I think we’ve forgotten the importance of direct contact and integration with our customers. The challenge with digital is personalizing the relationship. Apps and social media all have their


place – and they’re important – but lack face-to-face connection.

CMP: What was the feedback from brokers? BB: The feedback we got was overwhelmingly positive. In our post-event survey, almost every person said that they took away at least one idea that could help them with their business in 2019. We’ve gotten some great conversations with customers out of it, and we’ve decided we will be doing this with greater frequency moving forward.

CMP: Tell us about your recent status trip to the World Business Forum. Why this event – what’s the value to your broker partners? BB: It’s my favourite event of the year. I get to spend time with a select group of supporters and learn about their business. The insight is invaluable to me and our organization in determining what our customers’ needs are. I also take great pleasure in knowing that this select group now networks with each other throughout

the year because of the experience they share on this trip. Successful people don’t mind sharing ideas with other successful people. This event is focused on education. Every attendee goes home with new ideas, new ways of looking at things, and of course, it’s combined with an incredible social experience.

CMP: MERIX seemed to have a lot of staffing hires in the past year, with an increased sales presence in inside sales, directors of business development and personal account managers. What’s the primary goal with these multiple sales channels?   BB: Well, the ultimate goal is to do more business. The challenge is satisfying your customers’ needs relative to time, attention and support. Some customers require the lender to be more visible; others want the comfort of knowing that someone is

“As an industry, I think we’ve forgotten the importance of direct contact and integration with our customers. The challenge with digital is personalizing the relationship” Boris Bozic, MERIX Financial there to support and educate more heavily. Some want the convenience of one point of contact for the entire end-to-end process. The conclusion that we drew was that one size does not fit all; therefore, we attempted to create distribution models that cater to our customer brokers’ needs. We always strive to staff up as much as necessary to support those needs.

CMP: What product or program innovation are you most proud of this year?

BB: All of them. We launched the InterestOnly Flex; collateral switches; a customer portal for MERIX, Lendwise and our alternative lending option, NPX; a brand-new broker portal app; an instant chat feature for our customers; had over 58 policy updates; and became an MCC market lender … all of them. Because they were all executed on. I’m proud that we were able to deliver on this amount of initiatives in a relatively short time period. CMP: Did you have any missteps in

2018 or things you wish you could have done differently? BB: There are always missteps. Timing and execution rarely go according to plan, as much as you try to control the environment. Our big misstep was that we celebrated all the improvements and launches, and yet the by-product was some potential confusion and lack of understanding for everything released in 2018. So we will need to work to ensure none of our updates were missed; however, I much prefer this problem than the alternative – gaps in policies or no innovation.

CMP: What does 2019 have in store for MERIX Financial? BB: Growth! More growth. Next year will be our 15-year anniversary. Fifteen is no small feat, and we look forward to celebrating with our customers and the industry as a whole.




Independence day CMP sat down with John Bargis, vice-president of Mortgage Edge, to get the inside story on CIMBC’s impressive growth

WHEN THE Coalition of Independent Mortgage Brokers of Canada [CIMBC] was first launched in November 2014, it was only made up of five member firms. Although a small collection, those five companies were determined to make a change for industry participants by focusing on a clear goal: bringing independence back to the broker industry by strengthening broker-owners and their agents under a united coalition. John Bargis, vice-president of Mortgage Edge, which was one of the original CIMBC member brokerages, explains that many of the networks were caught off guard by CIMBC’s strategy of offering a meaningful alternative to the trend of amalgamation in the industry. “The initial reaction from the broker community and our lender partners was one of confusion about how we were going to execute our primary objective of empowering brokers without the support of the networks,” Bargis says. “Here we are almost four years later, with 35 member firms and many more reaching out to us at an accelerated pace. Over time, we have proven the concept works well and now have the lender and industry partners who believed in CIMBC to thank for much of its success.” Although clearly thrilled by the growth of CIMBC, Bargis is most satisfied by what this means for the industry – that brokers


are really taking the time to think about the value they’re receiving from their networks. Recent changes have forced the industry to slow down and observe the depth of peripheral details, something CIMBC has tried to bring to the industry’s attention since its inception. “We’re finding that the slowdown has

access to the Empower Connect system, which does not store broker partners’ data for solicitation. “Another critical differentiating factor between us and the networks is our ability to effectively unify and become empowered under independent brands by working closely together to accomplish a common

“Our 35 members are true entrepreneurs that are active, engaged and eager to share their wealth of knowledge collaboratively” John Bargis, Mortgage Edge brought pause to the broker mindset and really highlighted the need for heightened awareness in order to ensure brokers are well informed enough to make the best choice for their business,” Bargis says. He expects CIMBC to continue expanding on its current trajectory and highlights some key broker benefits that he believes will fuel more growth. These include direct access to lenders with full transparency, revenuesharing opportunities, lender and industry partnerships, max commission models with corporate bonuses, broker training, and

goal,” Bargis says. “As a group of seasoned brokers, we are very much hands-on both with our broker and lender partners, which is key to the success of CIMBC. And our 35 members are true entrepreneurs that are active, engaged and eager to share their wealth of knowledge collaboratively.” Each independent CIMBC member operates under its own name and business model – a philosophy that Bargis and the rest of the coalition believe in wholeheartedly. “Having travelled down the road of the network conglomerate as a founder of Invis

MI, I realized in 2005 that independence is the way to go because it allows for a business owner to control their own destiny,” Bargis says. “As the industry continued to consolidate, we were hearing growing concerns by broker-owners about losing their sovereignty. To counter this movement, the key was to find a way to unite brokers without interference to independent branding, while at the same time empowering brokers to grow their own enterprise with assistance unavailable to them by the networks.” CIMBC has certainly caused a stir over the past four years, and Bargis expects more broker attention as economic shifts and government regulations combine to force the industry to evolve. “When a broker candidate actually takes

the time to pay close attention to detail and do the math behind our model versus that of a network, they’ll quickly determine that the math over the long term simply doesn’t add up,” he says. “Keep in mind that our model is not for everyone, and our plan is to grow with the right brokers. Our model of inclusivity, accessibility, revenue-sharing opportunity and much more is frankly tough to beat. We truly are the unified ‘broker’s broker’ model, with many opportunities for our partners.” Going forward, CIMBC aims to continue raising the profile of independence and enabling brokers to operate under their own brand with full support. In February 2018, CIMBC announced the appointment of Bob Sinclair, the former executive head of BMO’s mortgage broker channel, as its new presi-

dent. It’s turned out to be a positive move for both Sinclair and CIMBC. “After months of investigating the lay of the land, Bob found the CIMBC model to be the most ideal opportunity for growth going forward,” Bargis says. “Our future plans are to collectively continue helping independence grow industry-wide and to stay the course of assisting our broker partners to build stronger, sustainable, all-encompassing longterm businesses that have value beyond goodwill for themselves rather than a network.” “And for those who don’t believe this to be a reality, stay tuned for the next four years of CIMBC’s success. Technology will also be an integral part of our CIMBC broker partner’s successes in the future, and we have big plans in this area.”




How to give feedback effectively Are your employees too sensitive to negative feedback, or have you just been delivering it poorly? Aytekin Tank outlines five ways to ensure feedback is well received

PAUL GREEN and his colleagues at Harvard Business School believe negative feedback – on its own – rarely leads to improvement. Instead, it spurs us to remove ourselves from the partner or group where we’ve received the feedback and ‘shop’ for confirmation among new social circles. At work, that means we will seek out a new arrangement for our next project. If stuck with a certain partner or in a specific department, we might feel the urge to form relationships with people in other departments – anything to confirm the positive view of our actions and values within the company. When we can’t maintain that positive confirmation, it isn’t pretty. Physical consequences like anxiety and depression can threaten to pull us deeper into a spiral of poor behaviour and, in turn, negative feedback. This need to protect our psyche is how and why we end up creating – and subconsciously locking ourselves into – our own echo chambers. Yes, feedback is a necessary evil – and


there aren’t many things I’d say that about. Feedback is a multi-faceted concept that’s vital to the way many of us work and live. So I thought I’d dig into just why feedback is such a hard pill to swallow and a few ways I’ve learned to deliver it effectively over the years.

Setting the stage for feedback delivery Delivering feedback, especially negative, is far more complex than telling an employee what they need to fix and expecting them to scamper off and focus on those items in a vacuum devoid of their own emotions. The tactical tricks that I’ll get into here won’t prove effective without setting the stage with an affirmative work environment in which opportunities for positive confirmation and supportive relationships flourish. Think of your relationship with your partner or a longtime friend. A single discomfiting remark from one of them certainly wouldn’t send you running for the hills, would it? Negative feedback can lead

to improvement when given in a confirming environment where the receiver feels supported and valued. When it comes to the workplace, there are many systems in place that erode the sense of value employees feel they offer the organization. Competition for promotions, commission-based salaries and poorly executed peer reviews can certainly degrade any positive confirmation and lead to feedback falling on deaf ears. Once you’re able to create an environment in which your workers feel valued and confirmed in their positive attributes, you can try these five methods I’ve used to deliver feedback they can actually act on.

1. Encourage continued conversation with subjective feedback It’s tough to give feedback that people don’t want to run screaming from. And it can be even more challenging when it comes to giving feedback for creative work.

Unless your comments can be tied directly to organizational goals, they really are just personal judgments, which have a way of putting their receiver into a defensive and combative mood – and rightly so

than towards the main action you want me to take on the page” instead of a definitive, objective statement like “This design is wrong.” It’s not about control. It’s not even about being right. It’s about providing constructive feedback in a way that encourages the creative process to continue.

On JotForm, our users use our online form builder to collect feedback, and a big part of that feedback involves creative input. One thing I’ve noticed is that, much like creativity itself, feedback about creativity is highly subjective. If you’re able to frame it

Duration neglect dictates that we’re more likely to remember peak moments (good or bad) and the most recent moments in any event. It is this, along with tons of other fascinating and confusing tricks the brain plays with memory, that

as such, you’re much more likely to start a discussion about where the design or feature can go next instead of shaming and shutting down its creator. For example, I might say, “Personally, I gravitate towards this bigger, brighter button

2. Speak in patterns rather than specifics




makes it all too easy to provide biased feedback. And people who sense unfairness aren’t likely to take positive action. Instead of relying on one particular recent example, it’s important to collect data from different sources over time to find patterns in behaviour. I personally like to use a simple evaluation form template to collect anonymous feedback on how my team feels a certain design or feature came out. By combining this information with my own observations of specific examples, I’m able to provide unbiased feedback on areas where a certain design is excelling, as well as areas where it could improve. The knowledge that I’ve taken the time to identify real patterns goes a long way in nega-

the middle. Top it off by reiterating the earlier praise or by explaining how acting on this feedback will reinforce their positive values. It will take more than a sandwich to create a workplace in which feedback isn’t perceived as a threat and employees don’t feel the need to shop for confirmation. But this method is effective for times when you haven’t had a chance to establish good rapport with the receiver or have to deliver quick feedback.

4. Tie feedback directly to organizational goals We often hear the phrase “it’s nothing personal” when it comes to giving and receiving feedback. However, unless your comments can be tied

The knowledge that I’ve taken the time to identify real patterns goes a long way toward negative feedback being received as supportive rather than a threat to the employee’s well-being and job security tive feedback being received as supportive rather than a threat to the employee’s wellbeing and job security.

3. Whip up a delicious feedback sandwich A quick way to help create an environment that confirms an employee’s value before delivering negative feedback is to deliver it stacked like a sandwich – otherwise known as the PIP (praiseimprove-praise) method. The process is as easy, and tasty, as it sounds: First, deliver praise that confirms the positive values a person has about themselves and their place in the organization. Sandwich feedback that could be taken as negative in


directly to organizational goals, they really are just personal judgments, which have a way of putting their receiver into a defensive and combative mood – and rightly so. In order to deliver effective feedback that helps an employee better align with organizational goals, you’ve got to make sure those goals are clear to begin with. It wouldn’t be fair for me to deliver negative feedback solely because I don’t personally align with someone’s management style. In the same vein, it also wouldn’t be fair to critique an employee for not hitting certain organizational goals if they’ve never been told what those are. That’s why I strive to make sure my leadership team, as well as every single employee, is on the same page when it comes to organ-

izational goals. And when it comes time for me personally to deliver feedback, I always make sure to first revisit our organizational goals right there in the meeting to make sure my comments are aligned and actionable — not emotional.

5. Encourage the employee to walk a mile in your shoes Feedback can be especially frustrating to hear when you don’t understand what’s motivating it. So it can really help an employee by inviting them to walk a mile in your shoes, as the saying goes. Right there in the feedback session, encourage them to role-play as if they were in your management position. After describing the situation, you can tell your employee that you find it challenging to address the issue, and ask how she would handle the matter if she were managing the group. By stepping away from the threatening feelings for a second and viewing things from your perspective, your colleague can better understand that negative feedback is not meant as a personal attack, but as a way to help them better serve their team and grow their own development. This tactic can also help managers see how their team members personally process feedback and provide great insight into the management strategies they respond well to. Employees who understand management’s motivation are more likely to view negative feedback as a tool for growing their professional development rather than a threat. Aytekin Tank is founder and CEO of JotForm, an online form creation software with four million users worldwide and more than 100 employees. A developer by trade but writer by heart, Tank shares stories about how he exponentially grew his company without any outside funding.

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KEEP ON TRUCKING The lessons Michael James learned on the rugby field have helped him succeed as a broker

James got his first taste of commerce at Simon Fraser University while studying for a degree in business administration, although playing sports was his main priority “I’ve always been self-motivated, and my personality was just not suited for a 9-to-5 role, so I chose business, as I didn’t want a ceiling on my earning capacity. You have to earn a lot to live a lot”




MOVES TO FRANCE James moved to a small town on the French Mediterranean coast for four years before relocating to Paris for another seven. During his years in France, James made several investments in real estate both in France and British Columbia “I bought my first house when I was playing in the top league. We were on TV all the time, playing in stadiums of 80,000 people – it was pretty exciting”


GOES TO THE WORLD CUP While at university, James, who had already been playing rugby for years by then, got the chance to play for Canada at the 1995 World Cup. Placed in an unenviable pool with the reigning world champion (Australia) and the eventual winner of that event (South Africa), Canada lost to both, but James played well enough that when the sport became professional in 1996, he was scouted to play in France


FINDS MORTGAGES James went out on top from professional rugby – in his final game in 2007, his team won the French national championship – before retiring and bringing his family back to Canada. While shopping for a new home, he met the broker who would become his mentor “She realized that I understood all the terms and was familiar with the concepts, and she said, ‘You’d be great at this’”



James worked in a brokerage while getting his licence before going out on his own – only to be greeted by a tumultuous market

“I cut my teeth during the economic slowdown. I learned so much that year, but it was not for the faint of heart. Success is 1% talent, 1% luck and 98% hard work” 2012


Having been approached individually to join DLC several times, James was able to get his entire brokerage under the network’s umbrella “I could see all the intangible upsides and incentives, so instead of getting poached, I helped coordinate the approach and was able to link DLC up with the big fish. We’ve been trucking along ever since” 78


BECOMES DIRECTOR Having both played and coached rugby, James was keen to take on the administrative role of director of the BC Rugby Union “I always wanted to give back to rugby – I got so much out of it. Everyone who plays rugby respects someone who plays rugby. Being a rugby player opened doors; people know that in your core, you have the values of integrity, discipline and hard work”


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The boat restoration project tends to be a su mmertime activity – Gascon stores the vessel at his cottage

18 ft

Length of the 1959 boat that is Gascon’s current project


Amount Gascon paid for the boat in 2013


Estimated value of the work he’s put into the boat since then

BRINGING HISTORY ALIVE When he’s not overseeing a mortgage administration company, Robert Gascon spends his time restoring a decades-old boat WHEN ROBERT GASCON, president of Raven Financial, first saw his 1959 Seabird lake runabout languishing in a garage, he knew he had to snag it. Having already restored two boats of similar vintage, Gascon knew he was in for up to 10 hours a day each weekend immersed in the project of bringing the boat back to life.


The task is a demanding and meticulous one. To discover what was needed to make the original engine functional, Gascon had to disassemble it at a machine shop in order to determine what parts were missing before beginning what turned into a year-long scavenger hunt to find the necessary components.

The demands made by the carpentry part of the project were similarly exacting; repairing the craft’s woodwork required dismantling those portions so they could be replicated. “It’s one little project at a time,” he says. “It makes me slow down and focus on something different than what I do at work.”





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