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

0 Comments The Importance of the Face-to-Face Meeting

Article written by on the 28 Feb 2014 in Business

I believe if you want to get a reading on the pulse of your business, you do so by sitting across from your customer and have a candid conversation.

I’m a little frazzled as I write this blog.  I’m now waiting to take off for Winnipeg. It was a bit off an adventure making my flight because the airport was jammed packed.  Maybe the number of planes taking off and landing today came as surprise to the folks Toronto’s Pearson International Airport.  Maybe someone should provide this information to the airport in advance because keeping it a secret is not fair to those working at the airport.  The delightful lady checking me on at the Air Canada counter mentioned to me that I was very lucky to make the flight because they were mere moments away to closing the flight.  Maybe I wouldn’t have had to cut it so close if I didn’t have to wait in line long enough to be able to consummate a relationship and actually witness the birth.  Whew, thank god for priority check in.  After asking me three times where I was going I decided to play Pictionary. Out comes a pen and a piece of paper…I drew a picture of Canada…and the Provinces going west…a stick plane…a stick man (that would be me) appearing to be sitting on the plane…and then I pointed to where I was going.  She yelled out, Manitoba!  I touched my nose with my finger to indicate she was right.  I’ll let you guess which I finger I used.

 You know what makes you forget about a crappy experience at Pearson airport?  Going to visit great customers in Winnipeg!  Seriously, this isn’t pandering or blowing smoke.  How can you not marvel and appreciate a community who can deal with the fact that it was colder in parts Manitoba this winter than on Mars.  Not kidding.  Evidently the temps in parts of Manitoba reached minus 45 with the wind-chill this winter – Its  minus 42 on Mars. That’s why they giggle at us Ontario when we say it’s so cold here, like minus a gazillion, which translates to minus 20.  In Manitoba the weather is a “so what”. They deal with it and move on.  Impressively, for a number of years, the broker market in Manitoba has moved forward.  For someone like me, who’s been in this business for a few years, it’s fascinating to watch an emerging broker market in Canada.  The broker space is still fairly new to Manitoba.  One of the things that I am really proud of was we, Merix Financial, were the first lender in the broker space to have boots on the ground in Manitoba on a full-time basis.  The common practice used to be to fly over Manitoba and then pop into Winnipeg once every six weeks.  We recognized that things were changing in Manitoba, and the market warranted a full time presence.  Most of the lenders in the broker space now have followed suit.  Sometimes it’s hard to be humble. 

The purpose of the visit is to sit across the table from some of our customers to get a reading on how we’re doing.  I believe if you want to get a reading on the pulse of your business, you do so by sitting across from your customer and have a candid conversation.  You look them straight in the eye and ask them to tell you the truth.  Surveys are important, and they have value.  But a leader of any organization has to take the time to meet with their loyal customers.  It’s impossible to meet every customer but it’s negligent not to meet any.  I promised myself 2014 was the year of customer engagement for me.  I was going to get my ass out of the office because we were spending too much time having meetings about having meetings.  I instructed my Senior Leadership Team to cut back on their meetings this year, and let’s get out in the field and work on enhancing our employees skill set – let’s find out what our customers are thinking.  I know – a novel concept.  That’s why I’m looking forward to meeting a few of our loyal customers like Buzz Grant, Naseer Chaudhry, Victor Schaefer, Jeff Moore and Jeff Sparrow.  What makes them great customers is that they understand businesses can have a hiccups, that sometimes circumstances are beyond your control, and they don’t flip you for a nickel.  That’s why their opinion matters.

 Until next time,


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0 Comments A Lesson in Ethics

Article written by on the 21 Feb 2014 in Personal,Travel

I believe, maybe naively, that the vast majority of people conduct their personal and work lives in an ethical manner. Adherence to ethical standards is a byproduct of life experiences, and our ethical standards shape who we are. But even ethical people sometime make decisions that one could construe as being unethical.  So can you be ethical on a selective basis? I don’t know the answer to that question but I came across a demonstration of ethics that made me ask myself if I would have done the same thing.

After the noise died down, he quietly said to the dealer, “you just paid me on a hand that I didn’t win.”

It happened last weekend, in of all places, Sin City, Las Vegas.  We went to Vegas to catch a few shows and maybe place a wager or two. I’m not a big gambler but if I’m going to Vegas, I’m not going there to visit a museum.  My game of choice is blackjack.  I find poker to be far too cerebral, and you can spend a lot of time at a poker table not doing much.  Craps is fun game, a little difficult to learn at first but if you hear cheering in a casino you usually have to look no further than the crap’s table.  But a close second for fun can be a blackjack table.  Get a good group of people that know how to play, and want to have some fun, throw in a dealer that doesn’t act like he’s playing with his personal money, it can be a very entertaining evening.

That’s exactly the scenario we found ourselves in last Saturday night.  Everyone at the table was having fun, and for the most part winning some money.  It the middle of all the fun one of the players at the table did not collect his winning after a hand. The players that won were laughing and fist bumping each other, but this one player didn’t move.  After the noise died down, he quietly said to the dealer, “you just paid me on a hand that I didn’t win.”  He pushed with the dealer, meaning the player and the dealer both had a 20, and yet the dealer paid him a winning bet of $100. He indicated he couldn’t take the money knowing cameras record every hand. He didn’t want the dealer to suffer the consequences. Well, to say that we were all a little surprised by the player’s insistence that he could not accept the $100 would be a gross understatement.  My thoughts were clouded by the fact that I had just lost five hands in a row. So my first thought was, “buddy, the casino does well enough and it doesn’t need your help.”

A funny thing happened after everyone’s initial reaction; we all started pulling for the guy to win.  Everyone started to ask him questions, I guess to test his authenticity.  We found out he was from Schomberg, Ontario. The Yanks at the table asked me if all us Canadians were that honest. Ah…yeah…sure!  Thanks to copious amounts of Jack Daniels, they serenaded us with a rendition of Oh Canada.   It wasn’t bad, they got most of the words right. I’ll never know for certain if our playing companion from Schomberg is the real deal. Would he return a $10 bill if found it in the back seat of a cab? Would he submit a receipt to CRA as a business expense, when in fact it was for personal use? Did he ever cheat on a test or exam?  I’ll never know for sure. One thing I do know is that he left the table up money. A lot of money.  Maybe there’s a connection.

Until next time



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0 Comments Federal Budget

Article written by on the 14 Feb 2014 in Canada

To the governments credit, they have invested time to learn about the “smaller” players in the financial space, and have committed to learn more about their needs and to balance the playing field.

The 2014 budget is a prologue to what really matters to the Fed’s – the 2015 Federal Budget.  Canadians are about 15 months away from the next federal election. Time flies when you’re having fun, and the 2015 budget will lay the groundwork for the next campaign.  When the next budget comes down we will all hear about a surplus rather than the deficit.  There will be a lot of chest bumping among the Conservatives about the estimated $6 billion surplus in 2015/2016, and over $10 billion by 2018/2019.  The message will be clear, “we’re the fiscally responsible ones, and the only party qualified to justify over taxation”. Maybe they’ll omit that last part, but please, I wish they would stop making it sound like the government is a corporation that went and earned a $6 billion profit… I feel better now.

Image Source: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean KilpatrickIf

The Federal Budget is first and foremost, politics.  It’s an extension of ideology, and in an election year, a party platform.  Early in a mandate, the governing party may deviate to do what’s right.  But the last budget going into an election year is about drawing lines in the sand, and establishing the battle ground.  The Federal Budget preceding the budget that really matters? Yawn. In that regard the 2014 budget did not disappoint.

There are some elements of the budget which we have all come to expect, especially if the government is looking for cover – example, smokers.  I don’t know why the government doesn’t amend our constitution that smokers must pay more, every year.  Smokers will now pay 24% more in taxes for a carton of cigarettes.  Another automatic is to take away some money from the evil wealthy people.   Loopholes are now plugged for wealthy Canadians and their family trusts.  Those are two safe groups to go after, and let’s face it, when was the last time you saw a headline which read, “Poor Smokers” or “Government takes too much from the wealthy?”  Nice and safe.

It was encouraging to hear comments made by the Minister of Finance about smaller banks and monolines in Canada.  To the governments credit they have invested time to learn about the “smaller” players in the financial space, and have committed to learn more about their needs and to balance the playing field. How that all shakes out? Time we’ll tell, but at least they know we’re here and we provide consumers choice, beyond the big banks.

For now, it’s steady as she goes, and we only have 364 more sleeps before we get a budget that we can sink our teeth into.  To help us pass the time we can visit the brewer’s retail and liquor store.  The government is removing some of the red tape to make it easier for more brands of beer to come to market.  This should help some of the smaller brewers in this country.  Maybe the Fed’s jumped the gun on this one and they should have waited until next year.  Think of the campaign slogan, “More Beer”…Um, nice and yummy.

Until next time,



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0 Comments Twitter: #UhOh

Article written by on the 07 Feb 2014 in Current Events,Technology/Social Media

Not sure if you heard but Facebook celebrated its 10th anniversary this week. In digital terms that’s a lifetime. Maybe it’s the speed at which things change these days that makes me take the “let’s see where they are next year” approach when it comes to the social media world. There’s no denying the influence and success that Facebook has had, and their success means they have a target on their back. To date no one has figured out a way to dethrone the king, but it’s not from a lack of trying.

So who’s gunning for Facebook? The creators of mobile messaging apps. If you just caught yourself thinking, “great…just what the world needed…more social media” you’re not alone. But for those of you who tend to view social media platforms as fads, well, I encourage you read on and have a look at these stat’s. Mobile messaging apps are the newer players on the scene, and they have some legs.

LINE is a mobile messaging app whose registered users went from 80 million to 300 million users in just twelve months. Wanna raise the other eyebrow? WhatsApp’s monthly active users grew from 350 million users in October of 2013 to 400 million users by December 2013. A 50 million bump in active users in a two month period makes for a happy board meeting at WhatsApp. Active user levels are exploding in Asia, Southeast Asia and Europe. Are mobile messaging apps going to make their way to our shores? Well, there’s some evidence they’re already here.

Data today suggests that Facebook may have thwarted the latest attempt to supplant the giant. That being said I’m not sure if the folks at Twitter are feeling as comfy as Facebook. There’s no doubt Twitter has enjoyed tremendous commercial success but it looks like there might be some dark clouds on the horizon. Timeline views is everything for Twitter. That’s THE measurement for them, and the recent plunge in their timeline views has surprised many. In the US views went from 43 billion to 41 billion in the last two quarters of 2013. The same trend held for international users. Timeline views went from 116 billion to 107 billion.

Look, I get it. There’s no reason to dust off the trumpet and start playing taps. Maybe there’s a perfectly plausible explanation. All it would take for a few extra billion timeline views is for Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton to go on a drunken binge. But Twitter can’t depend on them so what’s causing the decline? Maybe it’s the malicious and nasty use of Twitter. Clearly unintended by the creators of Twitter, but nevertheless a problem for them. Of all the social media tools out there it’s the one I stay away from the most. I have a twitter account, and apparently I have followers. But I don’t tweet regularly because I really don’t think anyone cares what I had for breakfast. And I really don’t want to attract anonymous haters because I had regular coffee versus decaf.

There’s no denying Twitter’s tremendous success and social relevance. See the Arab Spring. But meteoric growth can only be sustained for so long. The next new thing is always just around the corner. Now might be a good time to review your social media strategy and try to figure out where you need be. Your customers might already be there.

Until next time


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    "I work in a world of numbers, process, execution, risk mitigation and all kinds of other sexy stuff. To share my thoughts, opinions and personal tidbits does have some creative appeal for me. It will also push me to do something that I am not totally comfortable with, writing. Get me in front of a room full of people to do a presentation and I'm on. Writing a story that others may actually be interested in reading sounds like a challenge to me. The reality is that I enjoy a good challenge and if it ends up that mom is the only reader of my blog so be it."

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