Brokerage expands footprint as market slows

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All brokerages should have this problem, with True North Mortgage pointing to business growth as the reason for opening its third location in Calgary, and, indeed, its ninth nationwide.

“Our current Calgary locations were bursting at the seams,” owner Dan Eisner, No. 1 on last year’s CMP Top 75, told “We needed more desks.”

The new location – again relying on high-profile retail space to attract the eyes of office workers – is the brokerage’s largest and can support seven agents. The opening follows on the heels of another, this one the third for Toronto. All told, the company now has 28 employees, said Eisner.

That new T.O. store, in the same building as Google Canada, officially swung open its doors to the public in November, relying on four full-time agents to consummate deals usually conceived on the Internet and with “rate site” rates.

The burst of expansion comes as some brokerages look at clawing back on the number of agents, or even downsizing office space, as a way of elevating bottom lines hit by a slowing market. Others are re-tooling by focusing on alternative lending deals.

Critics of the kind of high-volume brokering True North specializes in suggest those types of brokerages are now having to work doubly hard to maintain originations numbers. That volume is increasingly hard to come by as many first-time buyers find themselves shut out of the market and other borrowers come under greater pressure to renew with their current lenders.

Still, Eisner is billing the company’s physical growth as in keeping with his policy of opening “bigger and better stores,” presumably better positioned to win walk-in traffic and name recognition among consumers most likely and still able to avail themselves of the services of an A mortgage brokerage.

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