The biggest hurdle in the mortgage world is getting people to view mortgage brokers as a cornerstone to their financial lives when they’ve grown up conditioned to think that the large banks have their best interests in mind.
Recently, I had the best kind of client, the kind who reminds you that being a broker is about providing a service and elevating the client experience. A first-time homebuyer, he wanted to ensure he was building a partnership for wherever his real estate portfolio might grow. His number-one criterion wasn’t rate (within reason, of course). Instead, he was looking for a professional to guide him in the right direction with the right mortgage product.
My client understood the value of having a mortgage broker be a part of this process with him. Although our generation is conditioned to rely on the big banks for financing, he was able to seek a better, more informed way to make the biggest financial jump of his life.
For most people, a home is the most important purchase they’ll ever make. The process can be scary, intimidating and very overwhelming. My role in a home purchase is to be as solution-based as possible and to ensure my clients feel supported.
I have experienced the world of mortgages through different lenses, giving me insight into the harsh realities of the industry as a whole. I started my career at one of the Big Five banks. While working there, I noticed how limited the options for the client were, how every person had to fit into a very neat box. Moreover, I noticed how much these large corporations failed to recognize the importance of building a relationship with their clients.
During my time at the bank, I also confronted the reality of how underqualified I and my colleagues really were to sell mortgages. The lack of training, education and guidance was something I was keenly aware of as I steered my clients through the biggest purchase of their lives.
During that time, I realized I needed to transition into something that gave me the autonomy to provide my clients with products and solutions. I wanted to be sure I was taking an educated approach and that I was able to focus on building and maintaining relationships with my clients.
A common misconception that persists even now about our industry is that a client only needs to use a broker if they can’t get approved at their bank. Instead of seeing brokers as an important component of the process, they view us as a fallback option.
Some assume that corporations with big pockets always have their best interests at heart. Somehow, they fail to recognize that these large corporations see each deal as a transaction, rather than a valued relationship. We have been raised, for the most part, to seek any financial advice from a big bank, when really the best advice lies outside of the institutions themselves.
Having worked at a bank that was a household name and witnessing the faith people placed in its reputation, even while this venerable institution was putting its interests ahead of theirs, I realized that prioritizing the client meant changing lanes to the broker channel.
That transition has allowed me to provide a level of service that I simply could not before. I have easily 10 times the solutions at my fingertips, and that gives me the ability to say yes far more often.
Every single time I work with a client, I am guided by their best interest. Because brokers still work with the large banks, I often find myself serving as the middleman of reason to ensure that my client is being represented in the best possible manner.
I challenge the misconception of mortgage brokers as secondary to the big banks with each happy client I close. I ensure that I always take the time to explain my role in the process and provide my clients with support. In doing so, I’ve built a network of people who are interested in making sound, confident, professionally advised decisions.
Emily Kiparisas is completing her second year in the broker channel under her new brand, Sterling Lending, and was named one of CMP’s Young Guns in 2018.