Chris Turcotte, the president of Centum, will always be a mortgage broker at heart. In an industry wherein too few firms are headed by people who have first-hand experience of brokers’ challenges and concerns, it’s helping set the company apart from the competition.
“I think I had a unique perspective in that I had come directly from the broker channel as a broker,” he said. “It sounds cliché but I’ve said it time again: We try to put the broker first. We put ourselves in the trenches where they work, because there are several of us at corporate office who understand what that looks and feels like, and we ask, ‘Does this genuinely add value to the mortgage broker?’ This network knew I was a high-producing broker, and it’s an extra layer of validation because I can say, ‘This is what I wish I had when I was doing it,’ which resonates versus someone who’s disconnected from the job. I think that’s contributing to a lot of success.”
Two Centum brokers won Mortgage Broker of the Year awards at the Canadian Mortgage Awards last month—Clinton Wilkins won the Fewer than 25 Employees Award and Anne Brill won the More Than 25 Employees—and it was a strong statement from the network that it can hold its own against larger players at the industry’s summit.
“The culture and energy, which Clinton and Anne have commented on several times, is when we come up with an initiative, we have a very small team that’s passionate about it,” said Turcotte. “We don’t have nine-to-five employees; we have employees texting at 11 o’clock that night thinking about the meeting we had earlier that day and how to make it better. That’s the genuine culture we have and we’re very blessed to have those types of people.”
Within a day of the latest Guideline B-20 announcement, Centum devised a plan to allay brokers’ concerns and help them navigate the imminent rule changes.
“We made sure brokers had an entire media kit for social media and written content, and we reacted very, very quickly,” said Turcotte. “Within 24 hours, these guys had everything they needed. They captured a lot of leads off our efforts quickly. They were getting everything they needed in real time, whether it was infographics or video content. We were translating everything into language they could use to communicate with their audience.”
Turcotte is vocal advocate of harnessing technology to help brokers achieve their aims. After launching Centum 2.0 late last year, a homebuyer’s guide will be unveiled later this year to walk them through every step of the process with engaging exercises.
“What I’ve seen as a mortgage broker is we put things out in bank terms, and it doesn’t resonate with our target audience, but I think we’ve done a good job of putting things in ways the millennial, or first-time homebuyer, audience will get.”
Centum gearing up to upend industry
Major network appoints new president