Citadel Mortgages is ‘Changing The Way Mortgages Are Done’, and Matthew Nichol, partner at the brokerage, is committed to never losing sight of that goal.
“That’s our tag line because we’re literally doing that,” he says - and it’s working.
Just over two years into the brand, Citadel placed fourth in all of Canada in the Top Mortgage Workplaces 2020, won silver for Best New Brokerage of the Year, was listed among the 52 Hottest Brokerages in Canada and was the first to partner with Air Miles, which launched in January. The brokerage, which will celebrate three years in operation in February, has a different focus — it looks at the broker, agents and the consumer “and that’s it,” Nichol says.
“At the end of the day, we don’t look at ourselves, we don’t look at the company, we don’t look at our bottom lines,” he said. “We offer less of a barrier of entry to the market to become an agent, as well as an efficient process that takes seasoned veterans and doubles their volume, and we’ve done that time and time again. That’s what we’ve been really successful at with our structure.”
Citadel leads with technology and everything is done in a digital landscape to make the mortgage process more efficient for brokers and clients. The system allows agents to automate the document process so there’s no face-to-face required. With the processes as well as tools set in place they take efficiency and customer satisfaction to a whole new level. From a client retention point of view, they also offer tools to help agents market themselves in ways that help their business.
Tristan Kirk, principal broker and managing partner at Citadel, credits their “overall vision” with why the company is growing at the speed it is and why agents are converting to them and having greater success.
“We’ve onboarded 100 agents in the past eight months — from 20 agents in April to 120 in Ontario right now — and they’re showing success based on our transparency, our technology and our business model of support,” he said, adding Citadel believes in “proper hands-on mentoring and training programs.”
Agents are paired with RVPs and mentors who assist in their careers, whether it be through business development, file configuration, personal growth or otherwise. With the added assistance and guidance from Citadel’s VP of national sales, Paul Campbell, along with Kirk and Nichol, their agents “truly have access to everything they need for success.”
“Whether they’re a brand-new agent wondering how to scale a sales pipeline and referral source network, or a seasoned broker looking to take their volume from previous years and scale it to new heights, our approach allows them to reach their career goals while providing a more efficient and pleasant experience for their clients,” said Kirk.
Educationally, each new Citadelian goes through a rigorous training process that includes online training modules via the brokerage’s proprietary training portal, a five-day live onboarding training session, weekly and bi-weekly meeting calls covering original content as well as lender and service provider material and access to a back-end portal that contains “anything and everything they could ever need information on - having the mortgage industry literally at their fingertips,” Kirk added.
“All these tools, coupled with our underwriting and administration team who handles lenders, signing packages, compliance and after sales retention offers, offers our agents and brokers more time, focus and energy to dedicate to what they do best - selling,” he said.
It’s not all work and no play, however — Citadel’s culture is focused on transparency, feedback and fun. Everyone working at the brokerage has a voice and leadership listens to understand and effect positive change. There’s a virtual office where agents create an avatar and can “work alongside” colleagues at any time. There’s a meeting room, board room and outside activities like boat racing and soccer.
People are empowered to take control of their career while organically cultivating an environment of trust and respect among a team of genuine people who are all working toward the same goal.
“It helps us keep that engaged culture that really thrives,” Kirk said.
Citadel’s guiding drive to Change The Way Mortgages Are Done in Canada comes from the fact that Nichol and Kirk remember well the struggles they had when they first started out. They didn’t have access to help or a great support system, and “the old way always seemed to be ‘go out and sell’ with little focus on education,” Kirk said
“As professionals that have been in this industry for years, we wanted to ensure that our agents receive the proper training and knowledge required to exhibit favourable behaviors that will allow them to have a long and successful career,” he said.
Kirk and Nichol’s support team handle all the underwriting, compliance and retention offers for their agents, so they can focus on building those winning relationships and grow their business. Trying to do everything as an agent is very time consuming and can limit the amount of volume they can do as there’s only so much time in a day.
The brokerage has agents new and old in this business that trust the Citadel way and are very happy that they are increasing their volumes and amount of clients they can handle YOY.
“Those challenges we had getting into the sales side of the business with other brokerages is the reason why Citadel is structured the way it is and why we’ve seen so much growth and success,” said Nichol. “We filled those gaps.”
While in many ways 2020 will be a hard year to beat, the goal going forward is to be nationwide by Q2 of 2021. Citadel’s focus is to help Canadians be mortgage-free sooner with its stable of successful agents. And Nichol and Kirk are already looking a few steps ahead.
“As for how we plan to end 2021 – let’s just say our deep roots do not just extend here in Canada,” Kirk said. “There are other markets that we will grow into by end of 2021 and early 2022, with our goals still to help all our clients and fellow brokers along the way.”