Brokerage head outlines benefits of independence

Brokerage head outlines benefits of independence

Brokerage head outlines benefits of independence Robert (Bob) Gascon
Redwood Mortgage Corporation
Mississauga, Ont.

What are the advantages of being an independent brokerage?
In my case, the advantage is I am one of one rather than one of a thousand. All of my marketing and all of my efforts flow right back to me. If I am a member of a large group I can be advertising for someone down the street.

What is the secret to building a successful brokerage?
The secret is relationships, relationships, relationships. I will stack my relationships against anybody’s technology any day because people deal with people they trust, that they’re comfortable with, who are competent and who provide good service and good knowledge.
You must put out a very clear message that says who you are, what you do, what separates you from the competition and where you can be found.

Have you considered joining a large network?
No. Because large networks and franchises have not convinced me that they can drive enough business to my door to offset the cost of signing onto their network.
How do you think independent brokerages can continue to thrive in today’s market?
By building a relationship-based business model.
There are people who are in the franchise business, there are people who are in the agent business and there are people in the mortgage business. There will be successes and failures in any model. One size does not fit all; some people are comfortable being on their own and some people are comfortable in a franchise environment.

What advice would you offer to brokers who would like to set up an independent brokerage?
Make sure that you are well-capitalized, make sure that you have a business plan and marketing plan. Because the M in mortgage stands for marketing and it is very key that you know what you’re going to do when you open your doors and go to market with a relationship-based model.

What is your strategy for generating new business?
Database marketing: Direct mail to clients that I have dealt with in the past. 95 per cent of all the business I write is for a client I have had a relationship with in the past, or someone an existing client has referred to me.

What is the most important thing a broker can do to grow their business?
Build relationships and build long-lasting relationships.
You also have to become knowledgable about changes, to become an expert, to be able to offer A-business, B-business and C-business and be an expert in all those areas, to be a true professional and expert.

What trends have you noticed this year? Have you had to adapt your business strategies to the market conditions?
We had to move a year ago to the B market from the A market because we are not discounters. We don’t buy-down rate so we’ve moved to alternative lending.

What are your goals and strategies for the years ahead?
Our goals and strategies are to continue to work in the alternative A and B markets and focus less on A business. We also, in the last year, launched a mortgage administration company that provides a platform for private lenders to run their business on.

Have you diversified outside of mortgages? If so, how have you incorporated this into your business?
No, absolutely not. The reason for that is people come to me because I’m a mortgage expert. They don’t come to me looking for chequing accounts, GICs, banking products; that’s not the identity I wish to project. I am a mortgage broker and I do one thing very well.

As an independent, what extra pressures do you feel surrounding volume bonuses? Is there any loss of diversity of product as a result?
I don’t look at volume bonus as a make or break on my business. I don’t base my decisions on how much money I’m making on a file. I’ll trade that for my independence.
  • 2014-04-23 2:34:24 PM
    Agreed and very well said Bob. We are a small boutique commercial mortgage brokerage in BC - now in our 17th year!!

    Our business model is also based on relationships as well as maintaining a high level integrity and professionalism at all times.
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  • Philip Slen 2014-04-23 5:07:53 PM
    I congratulate Bod and all those independent brokerages out there for making a success on their own. It is not easy to be a standalone in current brokering environment for new entrances: min volume requirements, VB, lender status, etc. I agree 100% it's a relationship business. Your customers and referral sources deal with you because of you. The nature of mortgage brokering starts and ends with the relationship the broker/agent establishes with his/her customers and referrer sources. If your potential customers do not trust and believe you can help them in the manner they want, it does not matter what brand stands behind you. First and foremost, you are the brand, you are that relationship.
    The assessment of whether to join a large network and what value that could bring is correct; it is very different for different individuals. Once a brokerage (independent or network) has reached a certain size/volume, the disadvantages of being independent vs large network really reduces, there is no competitive advantage or disadvantage one way or the other. It just comes down to preference of how one wants to run his/her business.
    And independents need to know they are not alone from a technology perspective. They now have access to the most advanced independent technology platform to support their business and growth. You have choices from a few service providers. Simply compare and find the one that best meet your business needs. We have developed a system unlike any other in the Canadian mortgage industry. Simply click on the purple banner at the top of this article to find out.
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  • Shocked 2014-04-23 5:47:07 PM
    Isn't DLC facing a potential lawsuit in relation to this story?

    Why didn't BrokerNews mention that?

    Read this:

    And why didn't BrokerNews allow comments on this article??

    Is it because you don't want to say anything bad about DLC and Gary Mauris? Are they a big advertiser or something?

    Be honest with your readers.

    Let people comment on this story.
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