As a franchise owner of his eponymous mortgage team, Collin Bruce of DLC Mortgage Mentors brings to bear nearly a decade and a half of experience in the industry, having started as an agent in April 2006.
Bruce moved to Dominion Lending Centres the year after, and his drive paid off as he ended up getting his own DLC franchise in 2009.
Bruce subsequently established himself as one of North America’s best mortgage professionals. He was hailed as the No. 1 broker north of the border from 2013 to 2015, as well as DLC’s No. 1 broker from 2010 through 2019.
The secret to his success? An enduring emphasis on the customer.
“We work with a ton of first-time home buyers and really pride ourselves as a full-service brokerage,” Bruce said. “We encourage face-to-face meetings – Zoom meetings today – and really try to build trust with our clients. We also operate our brokerage with complete transparency with both our agents and clients.”
This is a storied resume considering that Bruce didn’t even mean to get into the industry to begin with.
Prior to his first agent job, “my brother and I had owned a couple of Subway franchises,” Bruce said. “We were a bit over-leveraged with bank loans so were losing money. We ended up selling them leaving me with a pile of credit card debt. At the same time I was trying to flip homes. The broker that I had worked with suggested that I try being a mortgage broker.”
This very first step would not have been possible without an unexpected windfall, however.
“I registered for the mortgage course but didn’t have the $800 to pay for it,” Bruce said. “I checked my Visa and Subway had refunded me $800 for a commercial microwave deposit from the year prior. I remember hearing as clear as day, ‘You didn’t have the money five minutes ago, register for the mortgage course!’ That was 14 years ago and one of the best things that could have happened to me career-wise.”
In his years in business, Bruce wrestled with – and overcame – challenges like economic slowdowns, but he said that the coronavirus pandemic might prove to be the most formidable crisis to date.
“Since starting to mortgage brokering, I have been through a big boom, a couple of recessions, mortgage rule tightening,” Bruce said. “But probably today with COVID-19 combined with negative oil prices, this could be the most challenging period of my career.”
Still, Bruce expressed confidence in the fundamental strength of his business.
“We have had five weeks in a row of near-record mortgage applications, which I am so grateful for,” Bruce said. “During the past two recessions, we increased our advertising which helped maintain business – which is what we have done again at this time. So we will see how this works out.”