The gift of giving back

Mortgage brokering is itself a contribution to the community – but there are plenty of other ways brokers can make a difference in the lives of those around them, writes Paul Meredith

The gift of giving back

One of the best parts about being in the mortgage business is that we get to help people, which is the true nature of our field. We’re not in the business of mortgages – we’re in the business of helping people.  The more people we help, the more successful we become. We’re fortunate to be in a thriving industry when so many others are struggling.

Giving back to the community should be an important part of any successful business, brokers included. Giving to others is a truly rewarding experience, and it’s a great feeling to know that you’re contributing to a worthy cause. I find it also helps with building the morale of my team, as they know that while we’re building our own success, we’re also making a difference in the lives of others.

Mortgage brokers are a key component in making homeownership possible. However, not everyone is fortunate enough to be in a position to buy a home, and homelessness continues to be a problem. We help people realize their homeownership dreams, so why not also help those who don’t have a home at all? Homeless charities tie in beautifully with mortgage brokering, which is why  they receive more than 90% of my charitable donations.

There are several ways to give back to the community other than donating money. When I wrote my book, Beat the Bank: How to Win the Mortgage Game in Canada, my main goal was to help people to better understand their options with mortgages. I take great pride in the quality of the advice I give to my clients, so why not put together a resource to make my advice available to everyone?

I didn’t write Beat the Bank as a promotional tool. Nowhere in the book do I talk myself up, promote myself or so much as even hint for the reader to come to me for their mortgage. The exception is the last line, which says “I look forward to helping you out on your next mortgage.” That’s it. Beat the Bank was written to help more people with their mortgages, and 100% of the proceeds are donated to the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness. 

I’ve also been active with the Blind Sailing Association – I’m one of their top fundraisers at the Toronto Boat Show each year. It’s a small charity that relies heavily on the proceeds from the show to fund its program. Because the Toronto Boat Show was cancelled this year due to COVID-19, the Blind Sailing Association lost a major source of funding. I asked them how much they lost as a result, and they gave me a number. I wrote them a cheque for that amount.

Volunteering is another great way of giving back to your community. We’re all busy, but if you can block off some time to do some volunteer work, it can be a rewarding experience. You can also get your team involved as well, which is great for building team spirit.

My team and I took an entire day off to help build a home with Habitat for Humanity. After a day of carpentry work, it was clear that we should stick to mortgage brokering, but we had a great time! We even met the person who was going to be living in the home. She was telling us about her kids and her life. It was close to Christmas, so I also gave her $150 to buy presents for her kids.  The feeling you get from giving can be priceless. 

Giving starts the receiving process. The more you give, the more you get back. I’ve believed in this concept long before I became successful in this business. Years ago, I opened up a separate bank account solely for charitable donations. Every time I get paid, I transfer a portion into that account. When the account reaches a certain amount, the full balance gets donated to charity.

Any successful business should be involved with its community in one way or another. It reflects well on your brand and can lead to greater success. It not only shows the community that you care, but it’s a great feeling knowing that you’re making a difference in people’s lives. 

Paul Meredith is a mortgage broker at CityCan Financial and the author of the book Beat the Bank: How to Win the Mortgage Game in Canada.