In 2012, MortgagePal began with two brothers and one goal: to deliver low rates and a high level of customer service to borrowers across Canada. Since then, the online brokerage has morphed into a space where mortgage professionals can thrive under an efficient leadership team while taking advantage of both online and trad-itional models.
“We don’t think that one way is better than the other,” says MortgagePal president D’Arcy Henneberry. “There’s actual merits on both sides of the equation, and we think it’s really healthy business to take advantage of both models.”
It was D’Arcy’s brother, Jason, who came up with the strategy that he believed could set the brokerage apart from its competitors. The idea was simple: The money normally spent on traditional marketing to drive business would instead be funneled back to clients by way of a rate reduction. The response was tremendous, and the Henneberry brothers quickly realized they were onto something.
“We spent the next couple years developing systems and processes and learning how to manage a high-volume organization,” Henneberry says.
After years of perfecting their approach, the same basic model remains. MortgagePal is very steadfast in its systems and processes – in fact, Henneberry claims they are the key to the brokerage’s success. Everything is streamlined, allowing each broker to provide the same carefully curated experience for their clients.
Henneberry describes Mortgage Pal as an à la carte service provider, offering support to agents who are developing their own business within the MortgagePal framework. Because of this, training and education are critical.
“When an agent comes on, we mentor that agent,” Henneberry says. “We help them build their market strategy, discover how they want to be successful and how they want to generate business. We teach them our systems and processes that have been integral in our success in managing a large volume of business.”
The mentorship process at MortgagePal has been developed to ensure that each broker comes out feeling confident in their abilities and supported by their leaders. It involves direct coaching, shadowing senior team members and learning the industry from scratch. Initially, there’s a strong focus on underwriting to build a foundation of understanding before moving on to the more traditional sales-driven approach.
“In order to be a successful mortgage broker, you need to understand your products, your services, the policies that exist in the market and how to leverage those policies to support your client and help them achieve their goals,” Henneberry explains.
At that point, each broker is given some leads to manage so they can start learning how to have the right conversations with clients – but with the proper education and knowledge behind them.
This access to a pipeline of leads is just one of the supports that MortgagePal offers its brokers. Underwriting and fulfillment services are available, as is document support, giving agents more time to focus on growing their business.
“Whether you're funding two files a month or 10,” Henneberry says, “you need proper systems and processes from the onset in order to develop strong habits so that when you’re ready to scale the business, the foundations are already in place.”
There’s a huge focus on maintaining a collaborative culture within MortgagePal, and brokers can rely on each other for support. Every week, team members across the country – MortgagePal currently has brokers across BC, Alberta, Ontario and Manitoba – join in on a sales call to highlight individual successes and discuss any issues. “We have agents calling each other to ask for advice and we are happy to support each other,” Henneberry says.
The approach with clients is just as particular, if not more so. Brokers have deep discussions with clients on mortgage rates, the different sources of funds in Canada and a number of different variables so each client understands why their mortgage rate is so specific.
MortgagePal is also known for its high referral and repeat customer rates, which Henneberry credits to the brokerage’s relationship-building strategies. MortgagePal offers on-site education for referral partners, as well as Q&A sessions for Realtor groups. Going the extra mile to build a personal rapport with real estate agents beyond the office helps build trust and prove that clients will be in good hands, Henneberry says.
Moving forward, Henneberry says MortgagePal is always looking for ways to do better. “Even if we don’t think we had a fault in a situation, we are finding ways to mitigate problems before they happen,” he says. “We are focusing on our initial client consultations and spending more time upfront with the clients to make sure we have all the information we need to move forward.”