O'Leary exec on angry brokers: 'I love it'

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Gary Mauris and others characterizing Kevin O’Leary as a direct challenge to the channel may have it right after all, with the president of O’Leary Ventures rejoicing in the “ruffled” feathers of “competitors” – i.e., brokers.

“I love it,” tweeted Alex Kenjeev, late Thursday night, “@OLearyMortgages *already* ruffling our competitors' feathers!”

The social media post also features a link to a blog outlining broker objections to O’Leary’s now-scuttled keynote address at next week’s CAAMP Forum.

Kenjeev’s tweet is already being interpreted as a taunt to brokers angered by the Dragon’s plans to launch a mortgage originations business, focused on a direct-to-consumer campaign, effectively bypassing mortgage professionals.

CAAMP is citing a lack of disclosure of those plans as the reason O’Leary withdrew from the speaking engagement – a move that actually came on the heels of a torrent of angry broker comments on MortgageBrokerNews.ca

Subsequently, some channel members have argued that the reaction has unnecessarily alienated the celebrity venture capitalist.

It’s an argument that’s harder to make given this tweet, said one broker Friday. “Obviously, they see us as competitors and we are right to see O’Leary in the same way.”




  • Tyler P on 2012-11-24 3:50:34 AM

    Why do we always have to focus on the negative.
    The mortgage industry is gathering in Vancouver this week to celebrate its successes. How about a story on that!

  • Key Mortgage on 2012-11-24 5:16:39 AM

    Perhaps we should stop giving this Competitor free news coverage.Let him create buzz on his own buck.

  • Christopher on 2012-11-24 5:20:17 AM

    It's probably the worst time to enter the mortgage market, which speaks volumes for O'Leary's judgement.

  • Brandon Antonini on 2012-11-24 5:23:54 AM

    There can be no feathers ruffled. O'Leary Mortgages has no expertise, no reputation, and therefore is not a competitor. They will broker a few loans by leveraging the novelty of a diminishing TV persona. Alex, take the TV advertising spot right after the Shamwow.

  • New Agent on 2012-11-24 5:26:57 AM

    Would it not have been better to let Kevin O'Leary speak at the conference? He will now focus on Brokers as the competition instead of the Banks. Perhaps he would have offered some ideas which would be beneficial to brokers but now the bridges have been burned. Just a thought.

  • Omer Quenneville on 2012-11-24 5:45:16 AM

    I have mixed emotions on this one. Is there really competition or just do your job and advise your clients of good terms and rates will take care of everything.

  • Not A Broker on 2012-11-24 5:56:20 AM

    Sometimes entering a slowing market is a golden opportunity. Someone with deep pockets can start to gain market share as current players start to scale back operations and marketing activities. Just a thought.

  • Gord McCallum on 2012-11-24 5:57:14 AM

    Kenjeev is obviously following in his mentors' footprints and believes the "no publicity is bad publicity" mantra:


    Don't let him get to you folks...it's just about getting attention.

  • Jerry on 2012-11-24 6:25:30 AM

    The real threat to our industry continues to be the banks folks! Acknowledge and monitor the competition, yes always. Push the panic button because Trumps northern cousin Kevin and his ego have entered the stage - I think not!

  • Brad Herd on 2012-11-24 7:29:59 AM

    Competition is healthy. Kevin's product may be cutting edge and offer other features & benefits that others lenders do not yet offer and as a result may force the broker channel lenders to match or even better their current offering. As one writer mentioned focus on the positive, and furthermore create an opportunity for yourselves much like what Kevin has done!

  • Huge - Really Big on 2012-11-24 9:27:36 AM

    Oh Boy another empty brand ..... Let the Savings Begin ... Why didn't they start earlier ?

  • Bill Jones on 2012-11-24 11:55:45 AM

    As O'leary will find out, going directly to the consumer through a call centre or website is no easy task. We all know there is a lot more to obtaining a client and approving and funding a mortgage than just rate. Maintaining efficient funding ratios is tough - just ask ING. That's why they took over First Marathon. If nothing else, good brokers help to filter applications to increase efficiencies.

    That being said, this whole "O'Leary thing" is a lot about nothing. He will do whatever he does and will find out along the way how the mortgage indusrty works.

  • Don C on 2012-11-27 12:33:07 AM

    Bottom line, Lenders all get the $$$ from the same place. I really don't think O-Mtgs is going in to this not to be profitible and will be in line with other Lenders from a consumer cost perspective.
    What's the fuss?

  • Alex Kenjeev on 2012-11-24 10:38:54 AM

    Yes, we are competing with other brokers in a narrow sense -- and in
    that context I have zero concerns about ruffling feathers. Just like
    every brokerage represented at CAAMP this weekend is competing with
    the others.

    But that's no reason to be upset about Canadian families having a the
    new choice of getting an O'Leary Mortgage. I think Kevin is doing a
    huge service to the industry, and to all Canadians, by getting more
    families talking and thinking about mortgages in general, and getting
    them to realize that they have options other than just going with
    their main bank. This is a rising tide lifts all boats, folks.

    Luckily, most brokers do "get it": a recent online survey showed that
    60% thought that O'Leary Mortgages would good for the industry

    I'd also like to address a few misunderstandings.

    First, the idea that we're against mortgage brokers is false. We're
    excited about entering this industry. And although we won't be
    offering O'Leary Mortgages through third party brokers initially, we
    are looking carefully at how we can work with brokers down the road as
    we grow our company. Kevin made all of this very clear in his
    interview with Rob McLister and I'd like to confirm it here.

    Second, somehow there is a false rumor that Kevin had planned on using
    his appearance at CAAMP to promote O'Leary Mortgages. That was never
    the case and we issued a clarifying statement to this effect a week
    ago when the rumor first broke. Furthermore, the speech organizers at
    CAAMP had known for weeks that we were entering this industry. It
    seems that problem was that somehow the sponsor, Dominion, wasn't in
    the loop. It's a shame because they're a good company and we had no
    intention of antagonizing them.


    Alex Kenjeev
    CEO, O'Leary Mortgages

    Twitter: @akenjeev
    LinkedIn: linkd.in/akenjeev

  • Paolo Di Petta | dipettamortgage.com on 2012-11-24 9:12:15 AM

    As Key Mortgage said, let's stop giving this guy any more free publicity. He's built his reputation on controversy - he's always the most flagrant dragon, and has parlayed that into a brand.

    That being said, we have the ultimate trump card when he steps into the market - his reputation.

    He constantly oversteps his bounds and wants total control over the people asking for his money on Dragon's Den. Do you want that kind of guy holding the mortgage on your home? I'm sure his mortgage policies will be just as tyrannical.

    Come get some Kevin, I'm ready.

  • George Christopoulos on 2012-11-24 6:43:07 AM

    The real issue was why pay a potential competitor to speak at CAAMP. Why all the fuss about O'Leary mortgages? He will quickly learn it is not as simple as it may seem. All this attention just fuels O'Leary's arrogance , that said any media is good media.

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