Dragon Kevin O`Leary is hot for mortgage biz

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MortgageBrokerNews.ca has more questions than answers at this point, but many brokers are both intrigued and nervous about reports the fiercest Dragon in the Den is entering the mortgage industry.

“Looks like O’Leary is going into mortgages,” one MortgageBrokerNews.ca reader told us over the phone. “Maybe this is news, but I know nothing more than this video.”

The call comes after a tweet Sunday from O’Leary, the celebrated entrepreneur and co-host of both the CBC’s Dragons' Den and its Lang & O’Leary Exchange: “Working with the #OlearyVentures team at our offices preparing for the launch of #OlearyMortgages later this month.”

He has also posted a cryptic video announcing the new venture on YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IcHxaRsarg0&feature=youtu.be

The video is now making the rounds across the industry, although it remains unclear whether the mortgage business will be focused on brokering or lending, based in Canada or the U.S. O’Leary Ventures Corp. hasn’t yet answered MortgageBrokerNews.ca queries.

The dearth of details hasn’t kept brokers from speculating.

“What does this mean?” asked Brent Francis, a seasoned broker for Centum in Vancouver. “Is he going to be a lender or is he going to be a broker.”

O’Leary as a lender could be a boon for the industry, although brokers are more ambivalent about his value as a brokerage owner.

“O’Leary’s got a big name so if he can get huge financial backing as a lender, that would be a very welcome development to the channel,” he said. “I don’t know why he would like to be a broker, but it wouldn’t make much difference to me.”

Some leading broker networks are now poo-pooing suggestions that he’s preparing to join their respective ranks.

On social media platforms, at least, O’Leary is already getting some offers.

“Have you thought about: White labeling, Co-branding, are you brokerage or lender? maybe we should chat,” tweeted one American brokerage.

Closer to home a Quebec industry player also weighed in:

“If you're in Montreal,” reads the tweet, “you've got a deal right away!”

  • @kiltedbroker on 07/11/2012 7:51:52 AM

    Mr. Wonderful eh? This should be interesting! Looking forward to seeing where this goes.

  • Bill Jones on 07/11/2012 10:44:07 AM

    Interesting that he is speaking at CAAMP at the end of the month - coincidence?

  • Joe on 08/11/2012 5:16:34 AM

    I'm going to bet he wants to lend

  • Ron De Silva - RMA on 08/11/2012 5:29:13 AM

    the more the merrier...a further endorsement of the value of our industry and business even if some big banks don't see it...

  • Dedicated Broker on 08/11/2012 5:40:00 AM

    Take a look at the positive spin this could have on our industry. Without a doubt a well timed marketing move by Kevin. Either way, as a lender (my preference) or as a Broker his national presence and international exposure speaks volumes. It will highlight our industry, and should send a positive message, that being not only are we a value added driving force but a major player is getting involved in an industry where from the outside looking in major players (CIBC FirstLine) are exiting. It can have a positive connotation if we allow it. Besides, Kevin over Don any day!

  • Gord McCallum on 08/11/2012 5:48:42 AM

    Interesting that he told Dan Eisner that the banks would eat him alive when he was on the "Den". I guess he changed his mind...

  • @themortgagemasters on 08/11/2012 5:59:26 AM

    How does his public persona enhance his entrance to the mortgage business? The lender/broker without a heart?

  • Michael Mullis on 08/11/2012 6:07:00 AM

    Hmmmm, very interesting. I can't see a Company partnering up with Kevin since he is known for only caring about money and not people and definitely not relationships... So if a Bank/Brokerage is going to associate together, all the power to them.

    With the Canadian media screaming "Canadians need help with debt", and we all know Brokers "offer free advice for their services" well, lets just say it will be intriguing how this will fit with Kevins reputation, since it is the Canadian Consumer that determines how well a BtoC does....

    Don't get me wrong, I like the guy, Just saying.

    Michael Mullis AMP
    Presdent, Mortgage Teacher Inc.

  • monoline lender on 08/11/2012 6:19:19 AM

    He's been looking to be a wholesaler for monolines for quite some time now.

  • Paul Mangion on 08/11/2012 6:21:39 AM

    Just what the industry needs. If he is a lender I doubt he will be any different than anybody else. If he is a broker then I think he shouldn't be speaking at CAAMP. Either way it will fizzle and die like so many others. If my memory serve's me well didn't Doug Gilmour get into the mortgage business? What ever happened to that?

  • Mark Norman - St. John's on 08/11/2012 6:30:19 AM

    I welcome O'leary, he'll come in with a bang and shed light on our industry. I'd say he'll be able to do in a year what our industry hasn't been able to do in a decade. Think "bigger pie" rather than he's going to take a piece of mine.

  • David O'Gorman CPMB on 08/11/2012 7:10:42 AM

    Not the warm, cheerie (not Cherry) persona you might want to associate with your brokerage. Everyone is in business to make money, but his public image of unbriddled averice is not the image a brokerage owner would want to be associated with either way . I can see him leveraging one or more of his O'Leary Funds into sources of of A &/or B lending...leak a little info now to tease the industry & announce at CAAMP. That or he will publically announce that he has the lead as Scrooge in a new Disney version of a Christmas Carol.
    Opinion: I hope he will be a better broker/lender than he is a winemaker,(hint: if you have bought his new O'Leary Wine, I think you will find it will go great ON (not with) your next order of fish & chips)

  • Jeremy Nagel on 08/11/2012 7:22:44 AM

    I suspect he's come out with a mortgage fund, wholesaler. He won't be in the origination business.

    Doug Gilmore, the MMA fighters, the Jewelry guy...what's next, Mortgages by Don Cherry? haha

  • Cory on 08/11/2012 7:37:34 AM

    Speaking at CAAMP as a DLC sponsored presentation. Foreshadowing??

  • Ontario Broker on 08/11/2012 8:00:05 AM

    Cory
    Scary picture you paint. Cherry on one side of the stage & O'Leary on the other, announcing the "Curmudgeon Mortgage Fund".
    Regardless of how he enters the business does he have the "legs & brains" to stay in the mortgage business or is he here until something better comes along? I welcome with open arms any new lender that supports the brokerahe industry, just don't want to see a flash in the pan, that is all wind & little substance.

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