As International Women’s Week draws to a close, one of the most prominent female executives in the nation’s mortgage industry is expressing satisfaction with the progress women have made in the profession while acknowledging more progress is needed.
Ameera Ameerullah, CEO of the Mississauga-headquartered Canada Mortgage and Financial Group (CMFG), recalled from her own experiences and observations since coming into the industry in 2001 when “women were not being recognized as much” as their male counterparts. She noted that change did not come easily or overnight, but it nonetheless occurred.
“Over the past years, it's been an uphill battle,” she said. “But women are taking on leadership roles these days. Many are starting their own brokerages.”
Amererullah praised the Canadian Mortgage Awards for highlighting the role of women in the industry with its annual Home Trust Award for Woman of Distinction. She also credited the women in the mortgage profession of creating a support network for “giving advice, sharing feedback, helping each other build themselves up and look good,” and stressed this was a profession where women could thrive.
“I think across the board, there are opportunities,” she continued. “From underwriting, to business development to regional managers. I would say, on average, 30% to 50% of our business development managers are women, which is really great.”
But she also pointed out areas in the mortgage profession where women appear to be underrepresented, particularly in the development of mortgage-focused technology, and she raised concern that many young women entering the profession after graduating from college are “pushed into mostly administration roles and clerical duties” rather than being introduced into other aspects of the field. In related fields, she also observed a gender disparity within the home building and real estate development leadership ranks.
For the next generation of women coming into the mortgage profession, Ameerullah advised tomorrow’s female leadership to put down roots among people and offices that are supportive of their career growth.
“I would say to find a strong mentor within an environment that is positive and not toxic,” she said. “Work with someone who has been through the work and is standing tall in the business. And they should not think about how much commission they're going to make on a deal. Because a lot of times, you find new agents go where they get a better commission split, instead of looking to working with a good team.”