One of B.C.’s most veteran brokers is blazing yet another trail -- putting his book up for sale, but as part of business package that includes a leased storefront synonymous with mortgages for nearly two decades.
“Location, location, location,” said Vans LeBlanc, head of The Mortgage Centre-MapleRidge (doing business as Top Mortgage Lenders Inc.). “Yes I’m offering an extensive book of business that I’ve built up over the last 20 years, but also a very visible and recognizable storefront location in Maple Ridge, BC, that was the first in this community, since most sub-brokers usually worked from home when I started in 1992.
“That location has become cemented in the community’s minds as a mortgage brokerage service.”
His walk-in traffic supports the boast, with LeBlanc attributing as much as 40 per cent of his business to customers coming in the front door or calling in having spotted LeBlanc driving his rapped vehicle across Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows and Coquitlam.
The minivan sports the same signage as the Dewdney Trunk Road location LeBlanc has called his business home for just over 19 years.
That high profile has helped the business develop a database of more than 2,900 accounts, something that hasn’t been lost on the several industry players who’ve responded to LeBlanc’s internal MCC listings over the last month, he said.
Talks remain ongoing with four prospective buyers.
As MortgageBrokerNews.ca reported last year, more and more seasoned brokers are looking at the feasibility of formally selling up their portfolios at retirement rather than taking on a limited number of referrals, renewals and refis after they’ve formally hung up their shingles.
For the agent buying LeBlanc's package, he or she is paying for an established client base and the right to mine it for new business as well as referrals.
“There will be no down time,” said LeBlanc, a sub-broker with an master's in economics. “Existing clients will receive the calls from a familiar telephone number, only a different voice. And even then a familiar voice can be arranged.”
His storefront location is likely to improve the viability of winning a sale, which usually sees the retiring broker collect a lump-sum payment for the transfer of the book plus a royalty on any new business the book generates.
Still those deals have raised eyebrows among brokers concerned about a possible breach in client confidentiality, something LeBlanc has already looked into and plans to address.