Dragon Kevin O’Leary has now fired up his new brokerage with a soft launch and plans to ramp up during the summer for an official opening in the fall.
“We’re open for business and writing mortgages today,” CEO Alex Kenjeev told MortgageBrokerNews.ca Monday. “What we’re really trying to do right now is take a really great brand – like Kevin O’Leary and Dragon’s Den – and see how much we can leverage that in the market. It takes time to put together that kind of branding.”
The website, which is located on the Kevin O’Leary homepage, along with O’Leary Fine Wines and O’Leary Funds, is promoting “The Honest Mortgage… a refreshing new approach to financing your home.”
“Kevin (O’Leary) has a lot of success in mutual funds, and is building on his reputation from Dragons’ Den,” Kenjeev told MortgageBrokerNews.ca. “It is the type of branding for this product that we are putting together and building on for O’Leary Mortgages.”
Brokers were upset when they interpreted plans for O’Leary Mortgages last November as a challenge to the channel, a company focusing on a direct-to-consumer campaign and effectively bypassing mortgage professionals.
But nothing could be further from the objectives of the company, said Kenjeev, arguing that brokers should welcome O’Leary Mortgages as helping to promote and expand the channel.
“The overall share of the market brokers once held has gone down, in my personal view,” he said. “Most Canadians don’t realize they can go to a broker instead of a bank; they don’t realize they have other options. We are raising the profile of brokers, and we are expanding the channel.”
Mark Olkowski is the Chief Compliance Officer and principal broker at O’Leary, with funding coming from “relationships with numerous lenders,” according to Kenjeev.
Among the products offered by O’Leary Mortgages are the SecureRate offer, which features 3- and 5-year fixed terms, with an optional no-frills 5-year term at 2.74 per cent. The 5-year 2.89 rate offers a 20/20 prepayment option – a full-service mortgage that is conventional and insured.
The website includes a resources and articles page that offers “top 5 secret steps” to clients on how to improve their credit score, “secrets that the banks don’t want you to know,” and why a credit history is important to obtaining a mortgage.