You can probably be forgiven for feeling like the Canadian Mortgage Awards just happened. August’s awards extravaganza, delayed from April by COVID-19, is still fresh in most mortgaging minds, but the CMAs, like the industry itself, are ready to get back to normal. Some form of it, anyway.
The 2021 CMAs, taking place on April 29, will once again be a live, virtual event in which participants can safely celebrate what has been one of the wildest years the Canadian mortgage world has ever seen. Viewers can still be on the edge of their seats as they watch the handing out of the industry’s most coveted hardware; they’ll just have to do so from the comfort of their own homes.
(About that hardware: Nominations are open now.)
The 2021 CMAs will also maintain the educational component that proved so popular in August. In addition to the awards ceremony, the CMAs will include a series of panel discussions featuring some of the mortgage industry’s brightest minds. Imagine being a filmmaker, attending the Oscars, and having the opportunity to duck into a conference room to hear Steven Spielberg talk about the digitization of filmmaking, or Meryl Streep describe how she prepares for a role. The CMAs hope to serve up a similarly enlightening experience for those who dedicate their lives to mortgages.
Matthew Ablakan is one such broker. In August, Ablakan’s Millennial’s Choice Mortgages team won the award for Brokerage of the Year – Diversification for the second year in a row. He says winning at the CMAs carries special meaning for his company.
“It's an amazing feeling when we are recognized for our efforts,” Ablakan told Mortgage Broker News. “It reinforces our commitment to our brokerage's diversity.”
Because Millennial’s Choice is an independent brokerage, Ablakan’s outfit isn’t eligible for awards handed out by networks, making the CMAs a unique opportunity for receiving nationwide recognition among the company’s peers and garnering newfound attention from potential clients.
“The physical trophy is sitting in our office. Clients ask us about it all of the time – and now there are two!” Ablakan said, adding that the recognition has helped Millennial’s Choice increase both the awareness of its brand and the number of industry professionals reaching out in the hope of doing business with the company.
Like Ablakan, Zaheed Valli-Hasham said his win for Broker of the Year (More Than 25 Employees) has helped build credibility in the eyes of potential clients as well.
“I have had many new clients contact me to assist with their mortgage needs upon seeing the award,” he said, adding that he has also enjoyed an increase in referrals from realtors since the CMAs.
“There are so many amazing brokers across the country, so to be nationally recognized for this prestigious award is both humbling and a tremendous honour,” Valli-Hasham continued. “This is by far the highlight of my professional career, and I am grateful to everyone who has trusted me with their business.
Zuzi Valente, who recently took home the Award for Lender Underwriter of the Year for her consistently flawless work with Equitable Bank, said her win at the CMAs provided confirmation that her approach to her work, her colleagues, and her business partners is working.
“Having the support and recognition from our industry motivates me to keep up my positive attitude,” Valente said. “Winning the Underwriter of the Year award validates that I represent Equitable Bank’s values on the frontlines.”
Winning at the CMAs can also provide practical benefits for award recipients. CENTUM Home Lenders’ Clinton Wilkins, who was named Broker of the Year (Fewer Than 25 Employees) in August, says his win supports the investments the company is making into marketing and technology while also shining a spotlight on a region of the country that often gets overshadowed by markets like Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver.
“Winning at the CMAs highlights our commitment to our customers, and that a lot of great things are happening in Atlantic Canada,” Wilkins said. “It gives us the opportunity, and the platform, to show our hard work to our peers and share our commitment to our community.”
Wilkins is also a fan of the CMA’s celebration-plus-education format, which he said created “a unique opportunity to make the best of the situation and interact with brokers across the country.”
Readers are encouraged to nominate themselves, a brokerage, or a colleague who they feel deserves nationwide recognition for the contributions they make to the mortgage industry today. Finalists will be announced by Canadian Mortgage Professional and Mortgage Broker News in February, with winners being revealed on April 29.