Last week, for the second consecutive year, the Canadian Mortgage Awards took place virtually – and by all accounts, the biggest event in the industry calendar was a roaring success.
Mortgage professionals from across the entire country tuned in to watch the event throughout the day, with a series of informative panel discussions convening industry experts followed by the prestigious and highly anticipated awards component.
The CMAs have always been about more than just the awards, offering the opportunity for industry figures to network and connect – even in a virtual setting. This year was no different, with the panel sessions also seeing some of the most esteemed voices in the Canadian mortgage industry gather to provide insights into the pressing issues of the day in their sectors.
With the conclusion of the final panel discussion, the eagerly awaited awards ceremony began, recognizing outstanding performers across a range of different sectors and specialities in the industry. Winners were selected across 20 categories, with nearly 2,000 nominations received from across the country for the awards.
View from the winners
It was a year that saw challenges and complications like no other, with each award winner’s performance hugely impressive for the sterling work carried out in difficult circumstances. After Premiere Mortgage Centre clinched the Brokerage of the Year – Diversification gong, its vice president, Ontario, Kerri Reed, said that the award was a testament to the effort its staff had made towards the company’s growth.
“We’ve spent 15 years building excellence: supporting, guiding and assisting the businesses of the agents and brokers,” she said. “We’ve had some epic fails, and some really great successes. Thank you so much for recognizing us.”
Jill Paish (pictured immediately below), executive vice president, national sales at MERIX Financial, described it as an “honour” to accept the Employer of Choice award on her company’s behalf. “At MERIX, our employees are the key to our success,” she said, “and we’re so thrilled that we have such a hardworking, passionate, fun bunch of individuals that care so deeply about the mortgage industry and the customers that we serve.”
Mike Brain of WE Advantage Mortgages came away with the Excellence in Philanthropy & Community Service award, and stressed the importance of giving back. “We work in an industry that helps families achieve home ownership and alleviate stress through refinancing high debt,” he said. “We are part of the community – and I can tell you that there’s nothing more rewarding than giving back to that community.”
Centum Financial Group was named National Broker Network of the Year, with its president and COO Chris Turcotte (pictured immediately below) paying tribute to the company’s journey over the past several years.
“Four or five years ago, we went on a journey to change everything about us – because we wanted to stand for something,” he said. “For those brokers that stuck with us over the years through those changes: thank you. To all the new brokerages that have joined us over this last little while: thank you.”
The award, he said, was also a mark of the excellence of Centum’s corporate team. “This is [their] award,” he said. “[They] finally get to look at something and realize it was all for something – those long hours, that dedication.”
The New Brokerage of the Year award went to The Collective Mortgage Group, with partner Christine Buemann saying it was a recognition of the company’s “foundation of transparency and trust.” Its team, she said, was built on quality – “not only the quality of their business, but the quality of their character.”
Daniela Peeva picked up the Avison Young Award for Broker of the Year – Commercial, describing herself as “humbled” by the win. She paid tribute to her husband, who “put up with all the late nights and weekends, holiday calls and video calls over the years – and I’m very thankful for all that patience.”
For the second year in a row, Newton Connectivity walked away with the Centum Award for Industry Service Provider of the Year, with the company’s vice president of broker experience, Kevin Dear, paying tribute to the effort of its staff. “We couldn’t do it without the hard work of all our team here at Newton – our developers, our trainers, our customer care team, and all of the brokers and lenders that support us,” he said.
The Young Achiever of the Year, Shabnam Gill of Mortgage Outlet, acknowledged her husband for his support, also recognizing a number of others in her professional sphere. “I would like to thank my clients, my realtors, my staff and lenders who count on me every day to do the best for them,” she said.
CanWise Financial picked up a couple of honours on the night. The first was the CWB Optimum Mortgage Award for Brokerage of the Year (25 Employees or More), its fourth consecutive win, which president James Laird described as a “huge honour, dedicated to our team across the country.”
Accepting its second honour, the HomeEquity Bank Award for Outstanding Customer Service by an Individual Office, Laird expressed his pride at the award. “It’s really difficult to get those good reviews, get through a mortgage process and keep everyone happy – but apparently we’ve been doing alright at it.”
The Haventree Bank Award for Digital Innovator of the Year was won by DLC Expert Financial – an honour that principal broker Lorne Andrews described as “awesome.”
“It’s one of those things that we’ve been working really hard towards – trying to take things to that next level and think outside of the box,” he said.
Elizabeth Wood of Canadian Mortgages Inc. came away with the prestigious Home Trust Award for Woman of Distinction, saying she was “honoured and humbled” to have been selected and paying tribute to women across the industry.
“I accept this award not only on behalf of my fellow nominees, but on behalf of all of the incredible women who are blazing new trails and breaking glass ceilings across the industry,” she said. “Ladies – let’s continue our climb.”
The full list of winners is listed below. Again, MBN and CMP would like to congratulate each of the victors and thank the awards’ sponsors, moderators and panelists for their participation. To you, the viewer – thanks for tuning in, and we’ll see you at next year’s CMAs!
Lifetime Achievement in the Mortgage Industry
Rena Malkah - President, CFO, CEO and Broker of Record with CYR Funding Inc
Broker of the Year (25 Employees or More)
Luisa Hough - Verico Xeva Mortgage
Broker of the Year (Fewer Than 25 Employees)
Bernadette Laxamana - Karista Mortgage
Brokerage of the Year – Diversification
Premiere Mortgage Centre
Brokerage of the Year (Fewer than 25 Employees)
Employer of Choice
Excellence in Philanthropy & Community Service
Mike Brain - WE Advantage Mortgages
Leader Underwriter of the Year
Brett Van Driel – Paradigm Quest
National Broker Network of the Year
Centum Financial Group
New Brokerage of the Year
The Collective Mortgage Group
The Avison Young Award for Broker of the Year - Commercia
Daniela Peeva - Mortgage Alliance Commercial
The Canadian Mortgages Inc. Award for Broker of the Year - Private Lending
Shawn Allen – Matrix Mortgage Global
The Centum Award for Industry Service Provider of the Year
Newton Connectivity Systems / Velocity
The CIMBC Award For Lender BDM of the Year
Chris Woodhouse - RFA Mortgage Corporation
The Community Trust Award for Alternative Broker Specialist of the Year
Kuljit Singh - AKAL Mortgages
The CWB Optimum Mortgage Award For Brokerage of the Year (25 Employees or More)
The Haventree Bank Award for Digital Innovator of the Year
DLC Expert Financial
The Home Trust Award for Woman of Distinction
Elizabeth Wood - Canadian Mortgages Inc.
The HomeEquity Bank Award for Outstanding Customer Service by an Individual Office
Young Achiever of the Year
Shabnam Gill - Mortgage Outlet