Ginkgo MIC CEO talks growth strategy

The MIC's approach is based on treating brokers, agents, and investors like a community, executive says

Ginkgo MIC CEO talks growth strategy

This article was produced in partnership with Ginkgo MIC

Fergal McAlinden of Canadian Mortgage Professional spoke with Ginkgo MIC’s Henry Tse on the company’s growth since its foundation in 2011.

There’s one factor above all that Ginkgo Mortgage Investment Corporation’s CEO Henry Tse (pictured) believes sets the company apart from others in Canada’s MIC space: its emphasis on agent, broker and investor partners as being part of one big community, a focus that’s been present since it opened its doors in 2011.

The company started out with minimal capital from investors and worked with just a handful of mortgage brokers in its early days – but the past 12 years have seen its volume of mortgages funded surpass $1 billion, with a fund size of almost $150 million.

Still, Tse insists that’s not the most important measure of Ginkgo’s success over the years. Rather, he prefers to highlight the fact that it has worked with over 900 mortgage agents, many of them sources of repeat business, throughout its time in operation.

The importance it places on community, Tse told Canadian Mortgage Professional, has seen the company roll out several programs and initiatives to further partnerships with brokers and investors.

Among those is its Pinnacle Club loyalty program, which offers brokers a chance to earn rewards including gift certificates, electronic and Apple products, and an annual vacation trip for top performers.

“The other thing we do to enhance relationships with our community of mortgage agents is profit sharing,” Tse said. “We share our lender and renewal fees. Those are the fees that we earned from the borrowers – but we share a portion of those with our mortgage agents.

“With these benefits for agents and brokers, I want them to treat us as a true partner, not just a lender, because they have many lenders to choose from – but as a partner, I think it’s a different level, a deeper level, and we want to enhance that relationship to be more than just transactional.”

Last month, Ginkgo hosted a 200-person event for agents and brokers to come and watch the World Cup Final, with other perks also available to Pinnacle Club members including preferred pricing, renewal trailer fees, and virtual reality equipment.

Three Fs

Ginkgo builds its service around three Fs, according to Tse: being fast, friendly, and flexible. The first of those is all about the company’s resolve to close deals within a shorter timeframe than many lenders – often one or two days – while its friendly mantra is centred on a customer-first service that has earned many five-star Google reviews.

Flexibility, meanwhile, relates to the rate, fee, and service offered by the company. “We actually work with our agents to come up with a solution, rather than just following rigid underwriting guidelines,” Tse said.

“So, a lot of times, we can make deals happen by understanding the needs of the borrower and emphasizing how we can work with them. Fast, friendly, and flexible really separates us apart from other MICs, because this is what we live for. This is the principle of our company.”

A broker-focused app

To further enhance the customer experience, Ginkgo’s mobile app, Deal Tracker, is available to all mortgage agents, functioning as a means for them to track deals with each stage reported from underwriting through to file completion and commission payment.

The app will also notify agents when any gaps in the application have been encountered, such as missing documents, which can then be submitted through the app itself. Not only that: it provides agents with reminders of when mortgages are coming up for renewal, giving them a handy way of remembering when they should contact their client to continue building their relationship.

Looking ahead

While Tse foresees a tough year ahead for the mortgage market, he emphasized that Ginkgo has worked diligently to provide an even wider array of solutions for brokers, agents, and their clients to navigate the turbulence that’s set to come.

“In 2023, there are a few programs we’ve lined up that we can help the market with. For example, we’ll have a net worth program, looking at how many assets a borrower has. That program will launch very soon.

“We also have programs on condo rescue – for people who purchased a condo pre-construction and now because the market is softening they might have trouble closing.

“This is a thing we’re good at: coming up with lending programs that can meet the needs of the borrower and also help the agents close a deal.”

Ultimately, Tse encouraged brokers and their clients to give Ginkgo a try, with the quality of the company’s service more than compensating for the fact that its rates aren’t the lowest in the market.

“We understand that most agents work with multiple lenders. All we want them to do is try us and they will know that rate is not the only important thing for the borrower,” he said.  “The value and the flexibility that we offer may make it a better solution for them.”

Ginkgo MIC is a Canada-wide alternative lender whose vision is to be a prominent leader of the private mortgage industry by providing comprehensive solutions to all stakeholders.