As founder, chairman and CEO of Canada’s largest mortgage network M3 Group, Luc Bernard has built a formidable organization, to say the least. In only 44 months of operation, Bernard has led a remarkable consolidation campaign that brought Multi-Prêts Mortgages, Mortgage Alliance, Invis, Mortgage Intelligence, and Verico into the fold.
Now comprised of over 6,000 brokers, and with about $44bln in annual loan volumes, M3 intends to grow even more over the next three years.
“Our next ambition is to double the size of this organization over the next three years, to grow from $44bln to $80bln,” Bernard told Mortgagebrokernews.ca in May. “Half of this growth will come from other acquisitions. We’re confident there’s still place for consolidation in the market, and based on our DNA, there will be more banners interested in joining our group.”
For a relative newcomer to come in and sweep the industry by storm—and in the process become its largest conglomerate—is an impressive story in itself, but Bernard’s plans run deeper than consolidation. When he conceived the idea of M3, it was always to build the largest the entity within the mortgage industry, largely be through digitization.
“First, we defined a strategic plan and then we started investing in technology massively, making sure we provide brokers with the best technology around,” said Bernard. “We’re not just competing with the best solutions in the broker space; we have to make sure that our brokers have access to the best technology in the financial services world. Our consumers, for instance, use Amazon and have standards that are quite high, so we have to cope and please our consumers who are used to that level of IT integration.”
The organization’s commitment to technological innovation in the mortgage industry is, indeed, part of a calculated plan conjured by Bernard and his team back in 2014. Having noticed the consumer demand for convenience and expedience, Bernard in effect cottoned onto something that the rest of the industry hadn’t—all before even launching M3.
“It was clear from my period in the banking world that there was a clear window of opportunity because it was a very fragmented market,” he said. “Consumer behaviour was shifting quite rapidly. Five years ago, the banking industry still believed branches were relevant for consumers, and it’s still the case, but less and less. It was clear to me in 2014 that consumer behaviour was going in an interesting direction that would allow us to berelevant to brokers.”
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