What are you most optimistic about when it comes to the Canadian Mortgage industry?After years of stagnation the industry is really evolving. The quality of professionals is increasing, the expertise needed to gain mortgage approvals is increasing, new lending products, new lenders, new minimum education standards, and most importantly, technological advancement.
How did you become a mortgage broker?
I was providing marketing services to my parents' mortgage brokerage back in the early 2000s. Working in the market research industry in the mid 2000s provided me access to some fascinating information about the growth of the mortgage industry in Canada. I saw the opportunity to open a branch of my parents’ brokerage to learn how to build a better brokerage under a different model. I opened Champion Mortgage in Guelph at the same time I accepted a full-time job at the University of Guelph as a Professor in the department of Marketing. Started small, hired early, grew strategically, added business partners, won a few Canadian Mortgage Awards along the way, including brokerage of the year under 25 employees in 2017 and 2020 (silver), and most recently joined forces with 9 other broker owners to form just shy of a 3 Billion dollar brokerage of extremely high quality and highly efficient business.
Outside of work, what are you passionate about?
First, creating amazing experiences for my family, centred around travel. Second, helping support my community through a combination of volunteer work and sponsorship of the Children's Foundation of Guelph & Wellington – as I believe all kids should have the same opportunities to participate in sports and extracurriculars that I did. Thirdly, refereeing hockey. I have been a Junior Hockey referee for 15 seasons – OHA, OUA and a few years in the OHL. it's crazy but I find the combination of the physical requirements and mental focus component relaxing, it forces the brain to turn off everything else. Also, getting to see amazing hockey players come up the ranks like John Tavares, Steve Stamkos, Max Domi, and so many others I had the chance to referee is super cool. Lastly, being on the ice with the best seats in the house in an intense Junior playoff game is just an adrenaline rush (and sure beats the lack of excitement of Men's league hockey in my opinion).
What’s one thing about being a mortgage broker that you wish you knew “back then”?That this industry really has some amazing people in it, who are willing to collaborate towards mutual growth, and push the boundaries of customer experience. Unfortunately the industry has historically done a good job of keeping everyone apart and reducing our ability to collaborate. It starts with mortgage brokers competing to the floor with each other for a deal, then moves to brokerages trying to poach agents from other brokerages, and ends with networks recruiting brokerages from other networks (for big upfront pay days, I may add, in many cases to no benefit of the individual agents). These tactics do not advance the industry. The entire industry spends far too much time on fighting for the same business vs. creating new business. I see the growth of the industry as the goal, and collaboration among all stakeholders in this industry is how we all continue to grow.
I almost quit the industry 7 years ago as I felt it was not evolving and there were not enough forward thinking, intelligent, and creative people in it. I was stressed, and not enjoying the business anymore. Then I joined a mastermind group of 8 broker owners from coast to coast through which we took down the competition barriers and worked together to advance our businesses.
What’s your favourite podcast or book?
I subscribe to Blinkist – I am not actually a big reader – I prefer to listen to the big ideas in books through short 15 minute audio summaries, so I have the opportunity to listen to several snippets of books every day. I have actually fallen out of the habit throughout the pandemic as I've needed a break from tech – given we've been so tech heavy. I have Carter Zimmerman, from Lendesk, to thank for that introduction to Blinkist several years ago.
If you could tell a non-user something about Finmo, what would it be?
Finmo allows you to deliver a superior experience to your clients. It's easier, more secure, and more professional than the old (ancient) mortgage process that our industry has been following for years.
Finmo allows you to do more deals with less time, giving you the options to grow your business by helping new clients, spending more time on advisory services, or having more time for your existing clients.
Our broker business in Guelph has grown by over 2x in a year without adding more people to the team, since we started using Finmo back when the first Beta was released. I want to reiterate that we have not increased the number of team members working on our business in Guelph during this time, and in fact we work regular hours, floating between 35 and 50 hours a week, depending on the person's role and responsibilities.