Making connections

Making connections

Making connections

Veronica Love got used to change at an early age. By the time she reached fifth grade, she and her parents (her dad a disc jockey, her mom a waitress) had moved 21 times before settling for good in Ontario. Yet over the years, Love came to associate a change in scenery not with the end of a beloved story, but with the first exciting pages of a new chapter.

“I don’t get very frazzled by change,” she says. “I kind of get excited by it and look for the opportunities. There are always some amazing silver linings with change.”

That philosophy has allowed Love to transition seamlessly from industry to industry, moving from public relations to real estate to mortgages. Once she fell in love with the Canadian mortgage space, she stayed put – but still moved from company to company (DLC to Merix, then TMG). Her 10 years of viewing the mortgage game from almost every conceivable angle have resulted in levels of insight and connectedness most people in the industry spend their entire careers trying to cultivate.

It’s one thing to know a lot of people; it’s another to know they’ll come through for you when you need them, even if it’s years down the road. Central to Love’s success, whether as DLC’s VP of network development, Merix’s VP for Eastern Canada, or as TMG’s current SVP of corporate development, has been the belief that no one working Canada’s mortgage space should ever burn a bridge.

“This is a very small industry,” she says – one that people don’t tend to leave. Love explains that when BDMs or underwriters leave their current employer, there’s a strong possibility that they’ll pop back up with a competitor. When they do, they’ll have taken their memories of unpleasant brokers and poorly constructed deals with them. 

“You’ll eventually work together again, so take the time and care about building solid relationships,” she says.

Love still calls on her Royal LePage colleagues for advice from time to time. She hasn’t worked with them in more than a decade, but they are always willing to pick up the phone. Because when Veronica Love calls, you know it’s going to be something good: an introduction to someone you need to know or an idea that’s going to change the way you think.

“I love being able to pull the best of what I see everywhere I go and relay that to agents,” she says. “I love being a connector.”

Always more to learn
But Love is far more than a facilitator. Her combination of experience and intelligence make her a go-to source of expertise, and the joy she takes in helping others is unmistakable. No surprise, then, that one of her deepest passions is for education. Love feels most agents, when they first enter the industry, have received far too little practical training on what goes into a well-submitted deal.

“You might not know you’re submitting your deal poorly because you’ve never been trained on how to submit a deal,” she says. “The [licensing] course doesn’t do that. When an agent is released from whichever course they took and they’re doing their first mortgage transaction, they really don’t know the nuances.”

Love fills in those knowledge gaps by teaching TMG’s agents the kind of fundamental, structural skills that will make life easier for them – and, critically, for their underwriting partners. Her courses, on subjects like Underwriting 101 and Filogix Done Right, are a way to ensure TMG’s agents won’t be the ones submitting sloppy deals that gum up the works for lenders.

“Agents don’t know what they don’t know,” she says. “It’s a terrible phrase, but it’s so true.”

But it’s not only young mortgage agents who need to quell their bad habits; Love trains industry veterans as well. Some stubbornly try to hold onto what they learned when they started out in the business (“When I was at RBC 25 years ago …”), but once they’ve been schooled by Love on new policies or the vast web of technology that holds the industry together, even the most hard-headed brokers tend to realize Love has just made their lives easier.

“I could never have predicted the amount of changes that have come,” she says. “I think the most professional agents and brokers are the ones who adapt quickly to change.”

Levelling the playing field
As a woman with an impeccable reputation in the industry, Love is constantly disappointed by the aggressive treatment her female colleagues have been forced to endure by some male counterparts. She says many female agents and brokers have been harassed to the point where they no longer feel comfortable attending events like golf tournaments and awards shows – valuable networking events that they deserve equal access to.

“There’s still a ton of women who are avoiding industry events because they don’t feel safe,” she says. “So is there equality? If men feel safer going to those events than women do, no. Clearly not.”

Love has been a vocal advocate for women’s empowerment in the Canadian mortgage industry. She recently delivered a passionate presentation on recruiting more women into the industry on Mortgage Magnates and has been instrumental in increasing both awareness of the Women in the Mortgage Industry Facebook group and the number of female voices being heard at industry panel discussions.

“Some of these women are producing more than their male counterparts on the panels, yet they don’t feel like they have anything to add,” she says. “That’s a really sad state of mind. You do have value to add. You do have a voice.”