To The Pointwith Boris Bozic
Commentary, Opinions, Thoughts and Discussion on Current Events, Politics and The Mortgage Industry

0 Comments Larisa Yurkiw: Canadian Olympian

Article written by on the 31 Jan 2014 in Current Events,Uncategorized

Who doesn’t like an underdog? I think we all do. Be it in business, sports or on the playground. The individual who defies the odds, the business which flourishes amongst the behemoths or the sports team deemed to have no chance, yet finds a way to victory. The underdog’s story can be compelling, can teach us life lessons, can shock us, and at times give us hope.

Larisa, thank you for reminding us what perseverance can accomplish, that odds can be overcome, and that it’s cool to chase a dream.

I was thinking about the lesson in perseverance that I learned from a Canadian downhill skier, Larisa Yurkiw. Larisa’s story came to my attention by way of Brian Nason, a respected broker, avid skier, and a good man. Brian was doing some shilling on behalf of Larisa. He asked me if MERIX would donate some prizes for a fundraiser to help Larisa realize her dream, to represent Canada at the Sochi Winter Olympics. We exchanged emails and spoke a few times about Larisa and I became intrigued. Like most people, if we were really honest, we only seem to pay attention to Olympic sports, other than hockey, once every four years. For two weeks we wrap ourselves in the Canadian flag and cheer on skiers, the maniacs who compete in the luge races, and every other Canadian athlete we pay little attention to during non-Olympic years. Our Olympic athletes can compete with the best in the world and many have to overcome insurmountable odds.

Larisa Yurkiw is an example of overcoming the odds. She suffered a devastating injury on the slopes, and she was cast aside and cut off by the Canadian Olympic Association. Wining can be ruthless, and no pun intended, a very cold business. There are only so many dollars to go around, and athletes that are hurt, and deemed not to have chance, well, they’re left to their own marketing abilities to raise money in the hope to represent Canada. In this day and age of mega professional sports contracts, billion dollar broadcast deals, it seems strange to hear an athlete ask for money so they can train properly. It’s jaw dropping when the same athlete says that depending on the amount of the donation she will personally knit you a toque. I’m not kidding.

It was a little over a year ago Merix decided to get behind Larisa’s cause. We reached out to our mortgage originators and asked for their support. Ahem, that’s code for money. Our combined efforts and generosity resulted in a five thousand dollar contribution so that Larisa could peruse her dreams. And that dream of representing Canada became a reality. Left to her own devices she not only qualified to represent Canada at the Sochi Winter Olympics, she is now ranked 6th in the world.

To all our supporters and staff who contributed and supported Larisa, thank you. A big thank you goes out to Larisa as well. Larisa, thank you for reminding us what perseverance can accomplish, that odds can be overcome, and that it’s cool to chase a dream. Here’s to gold, watching our flag rise, and singing our national anthem so loudly at the medal ceremony that you’ll be able to hear us in Sochi.

Until next time,


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0 Comments New Year – Plan Ahead and Evaluate the Past

Article written by on the 17 Jan 2014 in Business

This is time of year, specifically for companies with a calendar fiscal year end, where housekeeping issues have to be completed.   For most companies it’s the time to close the books on the previous year, and ensure that T’s” are being crossed and the “I’s” are being dotted for the upcoming year.  Try as we might, but we have never been able to fully complete our budget, our plan, and our strategy prior to the New Year.  Revisions are required, and taking into account seasonality, mid-January is the time where we can exhale, for about a nanosecond.  Once everything is finalized, then the heavy lifting begins.

One thing that you cannot plan for is luck, good or bad, karma, fate, good fortunate or misfortune.  Irrespective of the comprehensive analysis, the business plan and budget, the organization goes about its business knowing that variables beyond your direct control will determine if you had a good year or not.  Luck plays a part in success, and anyone who suggests otherwise, well, eventually the hubris will catch up to them.

But just for a moment imagine if you could stack the deck in your favour to ensure you had a good year.  I’m talking about results beyond your ability or intellectual capacity to achieve your desired results.  I think we would all jump at the opportunity to be able have that type of influence. That’s why it is difficult for me to criticize the actions of the government when the do exactly that.


Take the performance of our Loonie.  You’re probably aware the market has taken our Loonie to the woodshed and given it a good whooping.  Is something going on in shadows? According to the Globe, “To some observers, the currency’s recent sharp decline suggests the Bank of Canada is stealthily engineering devaluation – a gift to beleaguered manufacturers, exporters and domestic tourist operators, and a tonic for an economy suddenly grappling with disinflation“.  Poloz has an affinity for manufacturing, his previous gig was CEO/President for Export Development Canada, Carney’s comfort zone one was Bay St., as in mortgages. Is it a coincidence that we’re hearing less about mortgages and more about our dollar, inflation and manufacturing?  You be the judge.

Outlook on Real Estate

As for the real estate sector, some must be very satisfied with most recent trend. Real estate sales in Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver are skewing the numbers.  The reality is that over 60% of Canadian market place has seen a drop in the number of homes sold for three consecutive months.  At the highest levels of government, household debt is still being spoken of but in cautious terms.  Here’s what Prime Minister Harper had to say about house hold debt this week, “So look, it’s not a reason to panic; in fact, we’ve actually seen Canadian debt beginning to level off. But we would obviously encourage people to look at their debt levels carefully. Eventually, it may not be for two, three years, but eventually interest rates will start to rise. And Canadians should ask themselves serious questions about if interest rates came up significantly, would I still be able to afford my debt payments?“.  Interest rates will rise in about two to three years?  We should thank the PM for the specificity. I have to assume he’s in the know.  It might be time to dust off the variable mortgage pitch. In my case I may have to alter the distribution of volume between fixed and variable mortgages in our projections.  So maybe I’m farther away than I thought from being able to lock up the 2014 business plan and budget in the corporate vault.


One final note about the PM, he really is one of us.  Here’s what he had to say about his own personal mortgage, “in our case, my wife and I have never been big borrowers, but we have borrowed some money in the last few years because of the low rates, but we also know if the rates went up significantly we could still afford to carry that debt”.  It’s heartening that our Prime Minister is so connected to millions of home owners, who did exactly what he did, and just as responsibly.  One last thing about the Prime Ministers mortgage, I wonder if he got in before the changes to amortizations, and did he have to use rental offset to qualify?”.

Until next time


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1 Comments 2014 – Here We Go

Article written by on the 10 Jan 2014 in Personal

It’s the start of the New Year and I can’t wait to get going. I mean really going.  It’s a tad difficult to burst out of the gates when your body is frozen stiff, ultimately numbing the brain.  It has been suggested by some that I suffer from brain “polar vortex” in August.  Clearly the musings of the deranged – I digress.  No denying its bone chillingly cold in many parts Ontario, Quebec, and a large swath of the U.S.  The weather has caused havoc for many in the east, and introduced us to new terminology.

The term “polar vortex” is being used to explain this surprising and brutally cold weather front.  The technical definition aside, I’m fascinated that meteorologists are suggesting that this cold front was surprising.  Interesting, weather fronts come as surprise but we can predict the earth’s temperatures fifty years from now?  Damn, that “polar vortex” sure was a doozy. 

Many in Toronto, including my mom and dad, we’re convinced they were under attack this week because of what sounded like gun fire. Police we’re flooded with calls about this mysterious noise.  Well, chalk up to good old fashioned “cryoseisms”.  Evidently it occurs in extreme cold situations where there’s saturated water, like your rooftop. The ice expands and cracks.  It’s loud and frightening.  It’s kind of like the noise you heard as a kid while walking on a frozen pond.  To be precise it was the noise just before you said “oh, $&@$”.  My poor parents, they woke up to this noise at 3am last week.  They awoke startled and disoriented; for a moment they thought they were at the Eaton Centre.

January 2014 will be remembered for the frost quake.  That’s what they’re calling it, a frost quake.  That’s a new one.  It’s now a term that will be used, at nausea in Ontario, to described really, really cold temperatures. As is typical of the center of the universe, we always come up with term which captures the uniqueness of our experience.  “You think it’s cold where you are?  Well, we had a frost quake”.  There really was no need to create a new term to describe the extreme cold.  My friends in Regina have a perfectly acceptable word for it already, Tuesday.

Until next time,


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