Susan Wishart, this year’s Canadian Mortgage Awards winner for Lender BDM of the year, has a simple recipe for success: Forge relationships with industry partners.
“I’m old school, so you can focus on technology all day long, but I’m a relationship manager,” she said. “You want to get to know brokers’ businesses and get to know them personally. I know how many kids they have, what their dogs are. I want to get to know them and for them to trust me. That’s the old school face-to-face relationship.”
Wishart was in tough company but prevailed to win the first CMA of her career. Impressively, she’s only been in the Calgary market for three and a half years, but she’s already made a name for herself.
“I was originally in Edmonton, which is three hours away, and many of these brokers, even though I didn’t know them as their account manager or BDM, I knew them through the industry, and I think that I have a reputation of being an active participant in the community,” said Wishart. “I was at a very large lender and I had a good reputation there as well, so I have years of experience, and, reputationally, that helped me.”
In addition to learning the lay of the land in a new city, Wishart, like the rest of the industry, has had to contend with a series of regulatory changes that have made originating mortgages harder. However, the ability to persevere has become a dominant theme, not only in the industry but at the CMAs as well.
“I go back a few years ago where we were lending at 40-year amortizations, and then the government changed it to 35 and then to 30, and then to 25. These are substantially large changes we’ve never faced before, but frankly, this industry has faced many changes throughout the years and, again, it just comes down to what we can do versus what we can’t do. If you find solutions for the client instead of accepting road blocks, there are a lot of things that can still be done for a client that maybe a broker didn’t know about, in terms of trying to debt service them in different ways.
“This is not an industry where you can’t roll with the changes. If you can’t roll with it, you’re going to get left behind.”