In October, Scott Dillingham joined the broker channel. For years, he had been a top-producing mobile wealth advisor with CIBC. Dillingham opened his own brokerage, LendCity Mortgage, partly because of the product options available and partly because of the flexibility. He also wanted a chance to grow his business in a different way.
“I wanted access to more lenders, but also, I create these lead generation platforms for Realtors, and at CIBC I was not allowed to pursue that,” he explains. “In this platform, I had the option to pursue that as well, so it was perfect.”
LendCity is all about creating value for its Realtor partners, and Dillingham’s lead generation platform does exactly that. LendCity creates content for a Realtor’s specific audience, then continually markets to prospective buyers to warm them up to the Realtor without the Realtor having to do any work at all.
“They actually call the Realtor for the business instead of the Realtor putting out ads and hoping that somebody calls them,” Dillingham says.
LendCity funds the online advertising to generate the leads, so the more deals its partners send to the brokerage, the more funding there is for the platform. The system has been tried and tested for four years now, and now that Dillingham has no restrictions around his platform, he’s determining how to effectively scale it.
LendCity is also moving into 2020 with an eye on expansion. The brokerage now owns its 6,000-square-foot location in Windsor, Ontario. Beginning early next year, LendCity plans to use half of the building as an event space for everything from first-time homebuyer seminars to refinancing information sessions and classes on property investing – anything that touches an area of lending and/or real estate. By spending less money on renting space for these events, Dillingham can invest that much more into the business.
Dillingham has been a leader in the mortgage space for all of his eight years in the industry and has consistently ranked in the top 10% of volume among his peers throughout his career. His best year included nearly 500 deals for a total of $110 million in volume.
In moving to the broker channel, Dillingham and his team have had to learn the ins and outs of the different lenders in the marketplace, as opposed to simply being familiar with a single lender. While that’s been a challenge, they’ve managed to learn a lot in a few months.
“We have to learn everything from everybody,” Dillingham says. “That’s probably the only challenge, but we’re quickly overcoming it. It’s quite easy to determine who will do what and where is the best place to land the client.”
Dillingham got his start in the mortgage industry through his real estate investments. After he realized that he had a better understanding of the process than his own mortgage broker, he got a job at CIBC with a vision of climbing the corporate ladder. Instead, he found that he loved doing mortgages but hated corporate politics. Although he was happy at CIBC, Dillingham ultimately felt he could best serve his clients by opening his own brokerage.
“My niche is investment properties, and when I started with CIBC, the rules were very open; you could do unlimited properties, and they would make exceptions on applications,” he says. “As time went on, they no longer make exceptions, and they have a five-property cap now on rentals, so what I could do drastically reduced. I wanted something different anyway so I could offer more options to customers.”
Windsor’s home values haven’t risen for the past few years, but, citing an increase in infrastructure, Dillingham says the winds are shifting, and local buyers are getting the sense that now is a good time to buy – which means now is also the perfect time for LendCity to make a name for itself.