Winners at the 2011 Canadian Mortgage Awards cut a wide swath across the industry, with Albertans leading the charge against Ontario dominance at the ICICI Bank-sponsored event.
“It’s great validation of the work we’re doing in Alberta,” Calgary-based Tom Lam, winner of the BridgeWater Bank award for Mortgage Broker of the year (more than 25 employees), told MortgageBrokerNews.ca. “I’m very honoured.”
Head of Urban Mortgage, Lam wasn’t the only Albertan to take to the podium at the awards gala, held last Friday at Toronto’s Liberty Grand and attracting more than 500 members of the industry.
The Calgary-based True North Mortgage took the ING Direct Bank Mortgage Brokerage of the Year with less than 25 employees award, chalking up another win for the oil-rich province. The ICICI Bank Mortgage Brokerage of the Year (more than 25 employees) went to Verico The Mortgage Professionals in Kingston, Ont., with owner/broker Brian Matthey accepting the last award of the evening.
TMG The Mortgage Group claimed another key win for Ontario as the Davis + Henderson National Broker Network of the Year.
Still, Western Canada claim other key wins: B.C. broker Diana Zitko, head of Meridian West Coast Mortgages, in Coquitlam, took home her own statue as the Macquarie Mortgage Broker of the Year (less than 25 employees).
“I didn’t expect to win,” she said, just minutes after an excited acceptance speech, “I have to thank my team for this.” The former Realtor was one of this year's winners with previous nominations under their belt, those repeats seen as an indication of just how strong their contributions to the industry.
Gord Dahlen, another member of Vancouver’s burgeoning industry, claimed the National Bank of Canada Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Mortgage Industry. The industry pioneer served as president and CEO of Invis and Mortgage Intelligence, having been with the former since its inception. Earlier this month, Dominion Lending Centres announced Dahlen would bring that experience to bear on his new assignment as its executive vice president. The move will allow him to continue in the mentoring role so many of his colleagues have benefited from.
“To all the 20- and 30-somethings in the room,” he said, after taking the stage to accept the award, “time goes really fast. We are counting on you to step up.”
Dahlen’s new team took home its own award, with the Resmor Trust prize for Best Advertising going to Dominion Lending Centres for a marketing campaign featuring Don Cherry. President Gary Mauris credited the controversial Canadian icon for helping lift the company’s profile both in and outside the growing industry.
While the night of awards focuses on acknowledging excellence, it also served to provide a pat on the back to the industry as a whole, said KMI Publishing and Events president Tim Duce.
“This is our fifth annual event, and it continues to attract the brokers, the lenders and the insurers that are driving this industry and setting the course for its growth,” he told MortgageBrokerNews.ca. “Still, for all the festivities, the entertainment and the laughs, the event is first and foremost a celebration of the best and brightest in the industry.”
Hosted by radio personality Maureen Holloway, the fun-filled Las Vegas-themed evening featured acrobatic performances, live music at an after party sponsored by Merix Financial and prize giveaways, including a pair of iPads from Platinum Sponsor ICICI and a trip for two to Las Vegas, courtesy of Merix Financial.
The lending community was a central part of the celebrations as well as the awards. Chris Fontana, of Meridian Credit Union in Toronto, was named the CMHC Best Lender Underwriter of the Year and Verico’s Best Lender BDM of the Year award went to Nina Labate from the Equitable Trust Company, also in Toronto.
2011 Canadian Mortgage Awards Winners
ICICI Bank Mortgage Brokerage of the Year more than 25 employees: Verico The Mortgage Professionals, Kingston, Ont.
ING Direct Bank Mortgage Brokerage of the Year with less than 25 employees: True North Mortgage, Calgary, Alta.
Davis + Henderson National Broker Network of the Year: TMG The Mortgage Group, Toronto, Ont.
BridgeWater Bank Mortgage Broker of the year - more than 25 employees: Tom Lam, Urban Mortgage, Calgary, Alta.
Macquarie Mortgage Broker of the Year - less than 25 employees: Diana Zitko, Meridian West Coast Mortgages, Coquitlam, B.C.
National Bank of Canada Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Mortgage Industry: Gord Dahlen, Vancouver, B.C.
REMIC Commercial Mortgage Broker of the Year: Chris Doughty, Dominion Lending Centres Bankfighter, Barrie, Ont.
Home Trust Alternative Broker of the Year: Adam Hale, The Mortgage Centre Canada Hale | Beach & Associates, Hamilton, Ont.
Genworth Financial Best Individual Newcomer: Beverly English, Dominion Lending Centres Mortgages & More, St. John’s, Nfld.
Canadiana Financial Corporation Best Newcomer - Mortgage Broker Firm: BTB Mortgage Solutions, Niagara Falls, Ont.
CMHC Best Lender Underwriter of the Year: Chris Fontana, Meridian Credit Union, Toronto, Ont.
VERICO Best Lender BDM of the Year: Nina Labate, The Equitable Trust Company, Toronto, Ont.
Canada Guaranty Best Newcomer - Lender Underwriter: Yvonne Hristova, First National Financial, Toronto, Ont.
The Mortgage Centre Canada Best Newcomer - Lender BDM: Alec Bowes, Macquarie Financial, Guelph, Ont.
FirstLine Mortgages Best Internet Presence: First Foundation Residential Mortgages, Edmonton, Alta.
Resmor Trust Best Advertising: Dominion Lending Centres, Coquitlam, B.C.
TDMP Best Branding: Verico Financial Group, Vancouver, B.C.
HomEquity Bank Employer of Choice: First National Financial, Toronto, Ont.
Merix Financial Best Customer Service, Individual Office: Averbach Mortgages, The Mortgage Group, Vancouver, B.C.
Home Loans Canada Best Community Service Effort: Kathy Gregory, Paradigm Quest, Toronto, Ont.
Canadian First Financial Best Industry Service Provider: Genworth Financial Canada, Toronto, Ont.