Mortgage executive on a “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity

Rocket Mortgage Canada VP outlines her storied career

Mortgage executive on a “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity

Wielding the myriad advantages of more than two decades of financial industry experience has become second nature to Shazma Mann, vice president of mortgage credit operations at Rocket Mortgage Canada.

Over the years, Mann honed her craft in various roles across multiple organizations, from lenders like Home Trust Company and Street Capital (now operating as RFA) to major institutions like Manulife Bank and Royal Bank of Canada.

“Through my experience, I have assessed and been a part of the credit process from many different angles including originations, credit risk management, quality assurance, compliance, enterprise risk management, and internal audit,” Mann told Canadian Mortgage Professional. “I also hold a Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist designation.”

Right after completing her college degree, Mann said that she dove headfirst into working for a bank, “to the dismay of my immigrant parents’ wish of having their child becoming a doctor, engineer or lawyer. (I am sure many can relate to this reaction.) I am happy to say that they are now very proud of the direction and course I embarked upon.”

Mann’s earliest work at BMO and then at RBC led her to the underwriting side of the industry, which she said “established a baseline for what would become my entire career.”

“Initially, I focused on underwriting loans, overdrafts, and credit cards, but eventually, this evolved into learning how to underwrite mortgages,” she said. “I found I had a passion for streamlining the historically complex process of getting a mortgage for clients, which led me to many jobs in the lending space.”

Mann specifically cited her time so far with Rocket Mortgage as “a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

“It has been a privilege to be part of such a fantastic inspiring group of leaders and team members bringing Rocket Mortgage to Canada,” Mann said. “I was reminded by a friend of mine something I said years ago when asked what I would like to do next in my career. My response was to use all of my experience and learnings from other areas of the business. At Rocket, I get to do just that – build a robust originations team and platform to revolutionize the client experience in the mortgage industry.”

Versatility is among Mann’s greatest strengths, but she said that the process of building up her knowledge bank was anything but simple.

“Each time I’ve had a new opportunity to switch specialties – from underwriting to risk to internal audit and compliance – I’ve had to learn the intricacies from scratch,” Mann said.

“I have always been eager to grow and evolve, which helped tremendously, but I also had the opportunity to learn from some fantastic mentors. It’s so important to have people who can act as advisors and be your biggest champions.”

Such resources come in handy when steering clients through the ever-evolving mortgage space.

“It has been difficult to navigate regulatory changes as they’re constantly changing and there’s always some level of complexity which requires continual problem solving,” Mann said. “To work through it was critical to ensure that all the right people are at the table and that all key stakeholders have a voice. I look at each of these instances as an opportunity to learn and improve my skillset, so I am more prepared for other challenges ahead.”

Together, these have given Mann what she described as unique lenses, “including the first, second, and third lines of defence.”

“This has helped me create and lead teams dedicated to the origination, testing, evaluation, and risk assessment of mortgage and loan collateral assets,” Mann said.

This leads to what Mann considers her most important piece of advice to every aspiring mortgage professional: perspective.

“Take a step back, look at big picture and determine root cause when identifying and addressing gaps and issues; this enables a more targeted approach to finding solutions,” Mann said.

“I’d encourage new mortgage professionals to explore areas outside of their comfort zone and to be curious. If you’re an underwriter, it’s easy to become entrenched in that world and only learn everything you can about that specific role. Take a step further – talk to people in different business areas to gain a well-rounded understanding about the entire end-to-end mortgage process. This will help you grow professionally and deliver a better client experience.”