Still at the office, even on vacation

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MortgageBrokerNews is continuing its series of features on the finalists for Broker of the Year in both categories -- the under 25 employees and the 25 and over. This year’s group is the most diverse, spanning the country. Winners in both categories will be named at the upcoming Canadian Mortgage Awards on May 10 at the Liberty Grand in Toronto.
Finalist in the Mortgage Broker of the Year (25 Employees and Over) category
Bill Harries, The Mortgage Centre Sky Financial, Edmonton, Alberta   
Bill Harries and his wife and business partner, Nicole, love to spend time in their condo in Mexico – but don’t for a moment think they’re not at work.
“We like to get away to the condo in Mexico for two or three weeks to recharge our batteries,” says Harries. “But we use it as an opportunity to strategize and brainstorm as well. And with the VOIP line we have, we’re readily accessible, staying in contact with the office at all times.”
Married for 27 years, Harries and Nicole have a 23-year-old daughter, but before becoming parents, it was air traffic controlling that brought the two into a partnership of marriage and brokerage.
“I was an air traffic controller for 20 years with the Air Force, starting in Ottawa,” Harries says. “Then I moved to Portage la Prairie where I met Nicole, and then we moved to Edmonton. She was an air traffic controller, too.”
Together they bought a broker franchise, The Equity Centre, which was then bought out by First Line mortgages, eventually merging into The Mortgage Centre.
“We’ve been the top MCC franchise for the Prairies for the past three years,” says Harries, who can point to 50 per cent of his referral business coming from newsletters, the Internet and videos.
“Forty per cent of our repeat business can be mostly attributed to our Stay in Touch program, which has been highly successful for us,” he says.
With more than six offices scattered across Alberta and Saskatchewan, the company has grown from five people in 1992 to a staff of 30 and a thriving business, which in 2012 brought in $337 million on 1,075 deals.
“The key to success has been a combination of things,” he says, “but I would have to say it is something that we have built from the inside out.”
For a full list of finalists and to reserve your place at the industry’s biggest night visit - hope you don't miss out this year!

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