With more than 23 years spent in the lending world, and experience as an advisor to the industry that dates back to 1992, Julie Isaac of TMG The Mortgage Group offers her clients the benefits of her long-lasting industry connections.
But becoming a connector takes time. The Vancouver-based broker first started developing her love for the industry (and contact list) while simultaneously working part time in administration for Royal LePage and obtaining her business degree.
“As a new graduate, I started with BlueShore Credit Union [then known as North Shore Credit Union] as an assistant to the commercial loans manager,” Isaac says. “Shortly thereafter, I switched to residential with a focus on construction mortgages. At that time, appraisers made infrequent trips, so I was regularly on construction sites making inspections. I still remember the clients that were the impetus for me to start building houses myself.”
Isaac’s well-rounded early experiences gave her a clearer idea of what she wanted to focus on during her time in the industry. After a brief hiatus spent travelling the world, she joined HSBC on the commercial side as an assistant manager of cash management before transferring to its broker underwriting centre.
“I had always been interested in finance and real estate,” she says. After gaining experience on the construction side, “mortgages seemed like the essential piece to all of the others. I have a strong desire to see people succeed, and I particularly love a success story.”
Providing moral support and creating solutions tailored to clients’ unique situations have proven especially rewarding over the years
“I particularly love working with clients who have parlayed their first purchase into three or four purchases, or those who have been able to use mortgage planning to accelerate their investments or equity, providing them with a secure financial base,” Isaac says. “It’s like Maslow’s hierarchy of needs: With their basic needs met – roof over their head and basic financial security – they can focus on achieving things that are important to them. At that place, people can devote energy to making the world a better place, which in turn benefits all of us.”
Isaac says crafting workable solutions to clients’ issues involves a broker digging past the needs of today and planning ahead for what might await in the future.
“I engage clients in thinking about the possible life events that may occur,” Isaac said. “I also look at their entire picture. If clients have a pattern of struggling with managing finances, I will introduce them to a financial planner or money coach. If they are working on their personal health and wellness, it might be a recommendation for a holistic nutritionist, free resources for pain management, or a mediator to help with a separation.”
Isaac feels that becoming an effective broker requires establishing meaningful connections across one’s professional network, connections that go beyond fulfilling referral obligations and put clients in touch with the right person for their needs. She takes pride in “really knowing and understanding the skills and attributes of everyone I know, not just in the mortgage business, and then being able to connect those people in order to provide the right resources” to clients, friends, family members and colleagues.
Those connections not only get clients what they want, they also reflect well on the broker who made them a reality.
“I’ve had brokers send me notes after a conference or meeting, or friends of friends reach out to let me know they learnt something from me, or that I impacted their life in a positive way,” Isaac says. “Clients know when you are truly vested in their well-being.”