Where do we go now?

Arash Fazelipour outlines what the mortgage industry must do next to further the advancements brokers have already made

Where do we go now?
Most mortgage brokers who have been in the industry for some time can agree that they are coming across more diversified business from clients who are incomequalified, have great credit and are more sophisticated. Clients are not just looking for residential mortgages but are pursuing mortgage financing for rental properties, commercial ventures, investments and more. This is a far cry from the age-old stereotypical belief that mortgage brokers provide service only to individuals who are self-employed or have a poor credit rating.

We can applaud ourselves for this change in consumer attitude, which is a direct result of mortgage brokers stepping up their game. These days, clients look to us as industry experts who are able to give them unbiased advice, excellent service and the best rates (without haggling down from the oh-so-ambiguous posted rate), all of which is delivered with professionalism and a dash of the human touch.

Nonetheless, in order to stay relevant in this industry and to keep up with growing and changing business demands, we must continue to improve our front-end service to clients as well as our back-end business operations. Mandatory education is a great starting point. However, the main focus of the education for our industry has been on simply meeting FSCO requirements for licensing. So you passed the course and became a mortgage agent, but now what? The education component does not provide any insight on how to run the day-to-day operations of a mortgage office, nor does it emphasize the front-end service component that is absolutely necessary to stay competitive.

In my experience, clients switch from banks to brokers due to a lack of service from the banks – they simply become fed up. To respond to this new pocket of business, we must continue to focus on being a serviceoriented industry, even after the deal is done. By investing in and boosting our backend business operations, we are also better equipping ourselves to be able to provide outstanding front-end service to clients.

We can do this by offering broad training services and by providing courses that focus on practical components, taught by veteran brokers in collaboration with national and
provincial bodies such as Mortgage Professionals Canada and IMBA.

Those who have had success in the industry could provide invaluable help training new brokers on how to operate a proper business structure. Didactic methods could include expert advice, experience, case studies and instruction on the use of different forms of technology.

Under this umbrella, new brokers could learn:
• How to run a proper mortgage office day-to-day
• How to maintain client relationships
• How to use and maintain databases through CRM software
• The importance of staying connected to clients via email blasts and newsletters that provide mortgage and real estate updates
• The importance of a user-friendly online presence
• The importance of optimizing online assets for mobile engagement
• How to maintain an active social media presence and marketing effort

The success behind our long-running and thriving business can be attributed to having systems in place that allow us to service our clients and database in an efficient and
personal manner. As a result, the bulk of our business comes from return customers and referrals. If our office is not taking the time to maintain our database, we stand to lose clients and business. Investing in back-end business operations through the use of different forms of technology, software and social media has helped our office be consistent in our process, provide superb service and maintain our online social media presence. The return on investment has been tenfold.

All in all, we should be proud of ourselves, as we have made great strides for the mortgage brokerage business as a whole. Consumers are far more educated and aware
of the benefits of using the services of a mortgage broker to connect to multiple options. We have positioned ourselves as being better able to provide exceptional customer service, unbiased advice and competitive rates compared to individuals’ own banks and the institutions they have been dealing with for years. We need to keep this up in order to see greater increases in our market share.

Arash Fazelipour is an Ontario-based mortgage broker with more than 10 years of experience in the industry. He’s currently the president of MyTerms.ca.