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Mark Squire, Manulife Bank

Manulife Bank keeps padding its leadership roster. And its latest signing should get it to the playoffs.

Former National Bank broker channel head, Mark Squire, is now Manulife Bank’s Head of Mortgage Broker Services.

Squire, one of the channel’s more respected and broker-friendly executives, helped lead NBC from less than 2.2% market share in the broker channel in 2009, to 6.1% in Q2 2014. NBC peaked at #6 in the top 10 broker lenders.

That, of course, was before National’s HQ pulled the carpet out from under the broker channel by starting to favour its internal sales forces.

At Manulife, we suspect Squire will look to build a top-10 channel lender in short order (i.e., in several quarters versus several years). And he’ll go head-to-head with his old employer to do it. Both Manulife and NBC have similar marquis products: the Manulife One and the National Bank All-in-one.

Jeff Spencer, VP, Retail Sales & Distribution, sent CMT this statement about the hire:

“I am very pleased to have Mark joining our sales team and further increasing our bench strength in the Mortgage Broker space. We also have six new [former NBC] Business Development team members joining us who will exclusively support top-producing brokers in our soon-to-be-announced loyalty program. These new additions to our team have extensive broker experience and knowledge that will benefit our broker partners and existing sales team. We are very excited to add these new team members and further display our commitment to the Mortgage Broker space.”

In other news, as Spencer revealed, Manulife has a new broker loyalty program coming “very” soon. “We will be focused on individual relationships in the program,” he says, alluding to the fact there will be no (or limited) pooling of volume among brokers, in order to achieve loyalty rewards.

But that’s not all. “We see that the key producers in the industry recognize the need to create recurring revenue streams to build value in their businesses,” he added. “With that in mind, we are considering trailing commissions, especially given the long-term nature of Manulife One.” Trailers are a big lure for some brokers, but they’re also costly (hence why Street Capital ditched them in 2015). 

Last, but not least, the bank is planning a late-March pilot launch in Quebec. That’s great news for QC brokers as it currently only has a broker referral program there.

Manulife has thrown down a major investment in the broker space since it officially launched in March 2016. It’s also got a big balance sheet — an edge that can’t be overstressed with Ottawa slowly turning its back on securitization. With slightly better pricing and the rollout of more conventional products, its management could make it a channel superpower.