By Michael Beckette, Special to CMT
Every year or so comes the promise of a new mortgage broker network. They’re launched by successful entrepreneurial brokers who band together to increase revenues, share resources and develop technology—all worthy objectives that deserve our attention and support.
Innovation is their promise, and that’s important because innovation is inspiration that can breathe new life into virtually any industry. In Canada’s mortgage industry, innovation is not a new concept. As industry stakeholders, we’re keenly aware that resources must be developed to help entrepreneurial mortgage professionals build businesses with enduring value, not simply transactional businesses.
We know the importance of tools that allow a sole proprietor, a team of brokers, or a small company to compete head-to-head with the largest institutions. I’m referring to resources that generate sales opportunities, facilitate smoother transactions and improve communication with past customers. These aren’t “nice to haves.” They are absolute requirements for any durable business.
In the mortgage world we know the significance of simple, efficient and transparent administrative systems that make it easy to meet provincial compliance requirements, as well as the personal requirement of getting paid quickly.
Industry leaders understand all of this. And we also know that our “co-petitors,” those enormous businesses that fund the majority of Canada’s mortgages, invest many times that of the broker industry on technology. That is why I believe we as mortgage professionals now face a choice, and that choice is simple. We can divide into more and more companies and approach technology from a multitude of less-capitalized directions. Or we can pool resources and emulate the multi-million-dollar processes, systems and technology upon which our tremendously successful co-petitors are built.
In fact, broker networks in Canada already have many such systems in place. Take CRM software as one key example. After embarking on lengthy technology projects, many in our business have come to realize that there is no need to reinvent the wheel. The Holy Grail of integrated CRM technology exists already, often right underneath their feet.
Canada’s broker industry boasts powerful specialized CRM technology, and it’s available even to independent brokers. I’m referring to systems that track multiple mortgage applications, securely store documents, process payroll with direct deposits and are fully integrated with D+H Expert, Equifax, CMHC and other service providers. Brokerage companies that represent billions in annual mortgage production already use such technology to run their operations today.
In a market that’s as hypercompetitive as mortgages, cutting-edge mortgage professionals will be increasingly drawn to respected brands with a strong technology-oriented culture, and rightly so. Seth Godin refers to such like-minded professionals as a tribe, which he defines as, “A group of people connected to one another, connected to a leader, and connected to an idea.”
A group needs only two things to be a tribe: a shared interest and a way to communicate. If you are a technology-oriented mortgage professional who seeks a successful tech-driven “tribe,” choose one that has a concrete vision for the future aligned with your own. But more importantly, choose one with the resources, leadership and the innovation track record to execute it.
If we as an industry really want to stay one step ahead of the mega-FIs, we’ll likely fair best by working closer together, not further apart. Perhaps the greatest use of our industry’s precious resources is to continue developing and building off of resources that already exist.
Michael Beckette is the CEO of Mortgage Alliance and Partner in the MAC/MPH Group, which owns Mortgage Alliance, Mortgage Alliance Franchising Inc., Multi-Prets Hypotheques, Meridian Financial Services and MortgageBOSS Technologies. Together, these firms support over 2,500 mortgage professionals in all provinces. Michael can be reached at [email protected]