has quite the mortgage industry pedigree. Now the vice-president of corporate relations at Verico
and president of Dreyer Group Mortgages, Dreyer got his start as a broker in 1992 at the recommendation of his father, Colin.
“I worked for Mortgage Source, a top alternative brokerage in British Columbia, and we had people such as Michael Lloyd, Garth Ellis – we were all together in that grouping,” he says. “We were eventually sold to form part of Invis in 1999.”
Dryer was, of course, one of the original brokers for the then-fledgling mortgage network – which is still around today – and became one of its top five brokers in Canada.
After a successful stint with Invis, Dreyer moved on to Verico in 2005 when the network was launched by his father. He worked as a broker and eventually took on the additional role of VP of corporate relations in the head office in 2013.
“It’s the same hustle and bustle, but at a different level,” he says. “It’s the same amount of work, just a different kind of work. I just want to help our lender partners out.”
A 25-year industry veteran who just received the Lifetime Achievement Award at this year’s Canadian Mortgage Awards, Dreyer has ridden many waves of industry change.
“The business … is constantly evolving. It’s always in a constant state of flux,” he says. “Obviously we’ve had the most changes with the mortgage rule changes and government regulations. Everyone is still coming into full adjustment to those rules. At this point in time, we’re still waiting to see how it’s going to come in, and we’re hoping no more rules come into place. We’re waiting to see how the dust will settle and allow everyone to find their footing.”
As for how it will all shake out, Dreyer says that while there are still plenty of unknowns, there are a few key things brokers can do to position themselves for success in this new environment.
“Brokers need to become even more professional than they already are,” he says. “They need to provide higher service levels to their clients, they need to become educators, and they need to know who their lender partners are and the policies their lender partners have.”
Dreyer also argues that because the various government regulations require a deeper knowledge of the rules and how each lender fits into the new reality, brokers need to dedicate themselves 100% to the industry.
“Mortgage brokering is a full-time business, in my opinion,” he says. “There is nothing wrong with starting out part-time, but at a certain point, you have to make a decision as to whether it’s a full-time career or not. To maintain it as a part-time career, as a secondary job – I think there is just too much to know and too much to keep up-to-date with. You have to be fully immersed in it.”
Another key to success is hiring the right people for the right roles.
“We’re in a business where we’re managing people constantly,” he says, “and we need to figure out if they’re a match for us sooner rather than later, and have the courage to say we’re not a fit.”
Meeting the challenges
In terms of where the industry is headed from here, Dreyer points to a few emerging trends brokers need to have on their radar.
“I think we’re going to have to look at lender efficiencies and funding ratios,” he says. “I think they’re going to be even more critical. I think we’re just going through a transition period with the rule adjustment and figuring out what’s going to fit and what’s not going to fit with certain lenders.”
He also highlights the increasing role technology is playing in today’s mortgage industry.
“[Brokers] definitely have to look at social media adoption more,” he says. “I think getting into the digital world, the online, the mobile world – that’s still going to be a big part going forward. I don’t think it’s going to overtake our business, but we definitely have to have a presence on there.”
However, Dreyer believes that fears about technology eventually replacing brokers altogether are overblown.
“I see technology as a tool to get leads in,” he says. “There’s a great stat from Filogix – for Rocket Mortgage [an online originator in the US], 90% of all mortgages that are funded, the client talks to a mortgage representative through the process. Especially with the mortgage rule changes, you need a professional broker to give advice more than ever. But you have to use the online tools to attract clients.”
Ultimately, Dreyer says, the continued success of Canada’s mortgage industry depends on brokers and lenders working together to make the whole process as smooth as possible for clients.
“Having been on both sides of the fence, it’s critical to get back to the fundamentals,” he says. “The lending partners that have had great success long-term in this industry have really serviced the brokers well and have good underwriting models, have good review of conditions, and don’t create a lot of stress when it comes to funding of the mortgage. Those are the critical elements for a mortgage broker as to where they are going to send their business, in my opinion.”