"I sit back and I say (of brokers), 'My goodness, they’re just so very talented'"
This article was produced in partnership with MyClosing.
Desmond Devoy, of Canadian Mortgage Professional, spoke with Steven Offer, senior vice president of MyClosing, about the need for the personal touch during real estate transactions, and the important role brokers play in the deal.
As a lawyer, as a politician, and now a mortgage industry executive, Steven Offer (pictured) has shaken his share of hands, worked board rooms and court rooms, and has learned a thing or two about customer service, from voters to board members to clients.
Offer started his working life out as a lawyer, hanging up his shingle in 1976 in Mississauga, Ont. He practiced real estate law before serving at Queen’s Park, the Ontario legislature, as the MPP for Mississauga North from 1985 to 1995, a tumultuous time in Ontario politics. He even served as the province’s solicitor general from 1989 to 1990.
In the mid-1990s he returned to law, practicing at Anderson Sinclair, which is aligned with MyClosing. He was also vice president of FNF Canada for sales and business development for 27 years, during the heady early days of central processing of mortgages.
MyClosing continues to focus on the mortgage broker channel throughout the totality of Ontario with plans for expansion and entry into other provinces.
Some things never change
After 47 years in both public and private life, how important is the personal touch?
“It’s never been more important,” he said.
He has seen technology evolve, from lining up carbon paper the right way to fax machines, computers and photo copiers, and now the dawn of the AI age. And they have their place, to make life a little faster and a little easier.
“We are very proud of our technology that we built, in the way we can process transactions, the implementation of OCR technology, virtual signing,” he said. “And we’ll never be looking back.”
But whether a purchaser is buying a home or is looking for financing, over all those years, “there has been no change,” he said.
Whether it is 1976 or 2023, the concerns are the same.
Will I receive approval?
Will the transactions be completed on time?
Will there be surprises?
When do I hire the moving van?
“You have to be able to distinguish between the great enabler of technology and the needs of the person you are serving,” he said. “The telephone is still significantly important today. At MyClosing, we have taken the latest in technology and merged that with the personal contact approach. Service is measured in the unfettered ability to communicate. Communication with the client and broker is crucial.”
That way, the client knows that they are a part of the transaction, and why MyClosing treats every transaction as if it were the client’s first ever such sale, by not cutting corners or making assumptions. Making sure to keep personal touch and contact is part of the company’s service structure DNA.
The importance of brokers in the transaction
Another important relationship in this transaction is that with the mortgage broker, a bond he called “crucial.”
Nowadays, however, the transactions are more complicated, requiring a more sophisticated understanding, making brokers a crucial lynchpin between the needs of the client and the goals of the client.
“I don’t think it’s said often enough, as to how crucial the mortgage broker is to meeting up, to facilitating the goals and objectives of the lending client,” he said.
He has seen recessions, and inflation, and dips in consumer confidence. They all pass. But through it all, he has seen brokers rise to the occasion, especially in this difficult time. “Brokers are meeting all of the incredible challenges that have been put to them in these last couple of years,” Offer said.
He spends a lot of his days speaking to brokers all over the province. He hears their stories, their challenges.
“I sit back and I say (of brokers), ‘My goodness, they’re just so very talented,’” he said. “They are able to capture and surpass the challenges of the day.”
But he makes sure to instill a culture of appreciation at MyClosing, from appreciating the needs of the client to the challenges faced by a broker, to appreciating the questions asked along the way.
That is why he tries to align the service he and MyClosing provide to the service that the broker provides every day. He stressed that technology remains “a great enabler,” one which is a “necessity of being able to survive, but personal contact is the way to succeed.”
To find out more about MyClosing, click here.