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

0 Comments A Nice Stocking Stuffer – A Rate Hike

Article written by on the 14 Dec 2015 in Current Events,Economy,Interest Rates,US Politics

It looks like our neighbours south of the border will get something “special” this holiday season; like an interest rate hike. After almost nine years the U.S Federal Reserve rate is about to be increased.  Chairwoman, Janet Yellen, has been itching to raise rates for a while now, and the latest economic data from the U.S. gives her an opportunity scratch that itch. A rate hike is a signal to Americans, and the global economy, that worst is behind them, and the need for government to stimulate the economy is in the rear view mirror.

Or is it? The U.S. November job report indicated that over 200k jobs were added to the work force, their dollar is soaring, the unemployment rate has been cut almost in half to where it stood in 2008, so what’s not to be giddy about? Well, there is data to support that consumer spending, housing starts, and job creation have flattened. So the question is what happens if their economy has flattened, while at the same time the overnight lending rate is going up? Some pundits are actually suggesting that raising the rates now gives the Fed some wiggle room if they have to lower rate, yet again, to stimulate the economy. It’s not as if this hasn’t happened before.  Like back in 1930′s, a rate hike, followed by a quick rate drop, all the while knee deep in the Great Depression. Yeah – that little historical nuisance.

So what does the Fed’s move to increase rates mean for us here in Canada? For the time being, not much. We normally walk in lockstep with the U.S. Fed, but we’re about to decouple from that standard practice, and continue on the path we are on today. The reality is that our economy is still too fragile to mimic the Fed’s move. The oil sector in this country has been hammered, and the fallout has been far reaching. Some are suggesting (more…)

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1 Comments Ontario’s Energy Auditor General Report – We Clearly Don’t Care

Article written by on the 04 Dec 2015 in Canada,Current Events,Politics

We clearly don’t care – and yet we should. Not only should we care but we should be very concerned about the direction and mandate we gave our governments. Ontario’s Auditor General, Bonnie Lysyk, just delivered a scathing report on the Ontario Liberal parties attempt to better the environment, and more to the point, manage electrical power in the province of Ontario; as well as their handling of all government agencies. The Auditor General took the Ontario Liberal government to the verbal woodshed, and gave them a spanking that was rightly deserved. There was no sugar-coating the truth or leaving room for spin.

Most of us are accustomed to hearing about government waste. Regrettably, government waste has become like death and taxes. Fight it all you want, rile against it, but you’ll always finish in second. But when an audit is released, which rivals that of FIFA’s (international governing body of football), all of us should be very worried about finishing second. Here’s an excerpt from today’s National Post:

“By ignoring their own energy planning legislation, the Liberal government has cost consumers billions on their hydro bills. The average electricity bill rose 70% between 2006 and 2014, at least in part because the government ignored its own expert advice, the report notes. That has already cost consumers $37 billion in payments to power generators under what the government calls Global Adjustment.  By 2032 they will pay another $133 billion or $170 billion over 26 years”. 

It’s almost impossible to square those numbers, and to rationalize it because it’s so outlandish.  To make matters worse, when your own experts have been telling you not to do this and that your plan is horribly flawed, but you chose to ignore the council for ideological reasons, it is the highest form of tax payer contempt. (more…)

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0 Comments World Business Forum in NYC

Article written by on the 06 Nov 2015 in Merix Financial,World Business Forum

One of my highlights of the year takes place next week. We have the privilege of hosting our top supporters at the World Business Forum in New York City.  This is will be the third year in a row that MERIX along with a number of our loyal supporters, gather to listen to successful people speak of their personal and business knowledge. My experience at this event is that there is always a “ah-ha” moment for me.  There’s always a pearl that either provides me with clarity on a matter that I have struggled to properly articulate or a viewpoint that I never considered before. It’s funny what happens when you allow yourself to be a sponge and enjoy the process of being mentally stimulated.

After the first year of hosting our loyal supporters at this event, we surveyed them to gauge their satisfaction and value of attending. One of the questions we asked was, and I’m paraphrasing, “would you like MERIX to change events and location for their recognition awards trip?” The answer was a resounding NO! We were blown away by the response, but in retrospect we shouldn’t have been. For over a decade, Merix has gone to great efforts to establish that it is not the “party” brand. There’s nothing wrong that and I’m not passing judgement on what others do. It’s just not us. MERIX has always held onto the belief that the greatest gift we can give to our supporters is the gift of knowledge. Therefore, everything we do is based on that principal. This mind set clearly appeals to a number of our supporters, and they dispel the old theory that opposites attract. (more…)

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0 Comments Betting On Yourself – Alex Anthopoulos & The Blue Jays

Article written by on the 30 Oct 2015 in Personal,Sports

It takes an extraordinary amount of resolve, belief, and courage to place a wager on one’s own ability. To be willing to forgo the sure thing for uncertainty can be exhilarating and terrifying. Yet there are times when the stars are aligned and the circumstances are just right, to take such a gamble on yourself.  We here, in Toronto, witnessed just that yesterday when the, now former, Toronto Blue Jay General Manager, Alex Anthopoulos, walked away from a five year contract, worth multiple millions of dollars.

The Toronto Blue Jays captured the imagination of sports fans not only in Toronto, but in the whole country. After 22 years of futility and being forced to endure watching other teams compete for championships, Blue Jays fans could actually dream of celebrating a championship and look forward to better days ahead. As all fans know, even the passing fans, the Toronto Blue Jays fell short of the ultimate goal – the World Series. Oh, but what a ride it was. For two and half months millions of viewers tuned into watch the Jays improbable run to the holy land. Rogers Communications, owners of the Toronto Blue Jays and TV network “Rogers Sportsnet”, garnered record numbers of viewers that in broadcast terms can be described as staggering. My word, I watched every game and was emotionally invested in the teams every play; this after swearing off the Toronto Blue Jays a decade ago. Back then I decided that if the owners of the team didn’t care, well, neither do I.  But I came back, as well as millions of other fans, only to realize it was a mirage. (more…)

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0 Comments Choices We Make – Elections

Article written by on the 16 Oct 2015 in Canada,Current Events,Politics

On October 19th, Canadians will choose who will lead this this country going forward. Assuming there’s a majority, a rather large assumption given current polls, Canadians will have to live with their decision for four years. Irrespective of the choice Canadians make the world will not come to an end the day after the election. The leaders of the three major parties would try to have believe otherwise, but the truth is there is very little truth in politics, and even less so during a campaign.

I was eligible to vote for the first time in 1978, and since then I have never missed the right to exercise my franchise. I never understand when people say, “What’s the point of voting, it’s not going to make any difference”. To me the point is that we have the right to vote, and that never should be taken for granted. To illustrate how precious the right is; take a moment to take stock of the oppression and brutal disregard for basic human rights around the world today. In parts of the world the oppressors will allow access to Facebook, but allowing an election which will determine who the leader of their country will be?  Well, that’s just a notion too far. Technological advancement is a by-product of society’s enlightenment, and nothing contributes to that more than the simple act of marking an X on a ballot. 

I do understand why voter cynicism and apathy exists. We all know, or least came to expect that politicians are less than truthful. They will say whatever is necessary to get a vote. Therefore, many voters to decide who to vote for based on whom they dislike the least. I must confess, (more…)

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1 Comments Grind is Relative – An Encounter with Thomas Mulcair

Article written by on the 09 Oct 2015 in Politics

For the past week I’ve been on the road speaking at the MA (Mortgage Architects) Conference. The conference started in Toronto, followed a few days later with back-to-back-to back stops in Vancouver, Edmonton, and Calgary. That can be a bit of a grind given that you’re trying to deliver same energy and passion each time you’re presenting on the stage, and when meeting people that are attending the conference. By the time the fourth presentation rolls around you have to fight the autopilot mode. It doesn’t matter if there are three hundred people in the room or thirty people. I signed up for this; so I have a responsibility to trek on and do the best I can. I can live with the audience not being enamored with the content of the presentation, but it would bother me to no end if someone in the audience thought I just mailed it in.

I needed to catch my second wind on the “tour”, and I received it from the most unusual source. I just finished my presentation in Vancouver, actually it was in Surrey BC, and I quickly had to go back to my room, pack and check out.  I entered the elevator on the 20th floor, and there were two plain clothed policemen in the elevator giving me the once over. Badge and guns were visible, as well as their ear pieces and cords tucked into the collars of their shirts. A number of things started to race through my mind. Firstly, I was in Surrey – and this was probably normal. I’m just kidding. I lived in Vancouver for eight years, and while living there I picked up some snooty habits – like poking fun at Surrey; my apologies. For a second I thought the cops noticed my fashion faux pas that morning and that’s why they were scoping me out. If they did notice, they’re good.  I was wearing an Armani suit, a custom tailored dress shirt, personally monogrammed, a tie and pocket handkerchief that popped, topped off with a pair of Louis Vuitton dress shoes. Maybe they noticed that I wasn’t wearing cufflinks, forgot to pack the damn things, and instead I had to use paper clips to hold the French Cuffs together. As soon as my moment of narcissism passed, I realized why they were checking me out. There in the corner of the elevator, strategically standing behind the police was the leader of the NDP (New Democratic Party) Thomas Mulcair. (more…)

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0 Comments Blue Jays – So This Is What It’s Like

Article written by on the 02 Oct 2015 in Personal

Living in Toronto is like living in a sports wasteland. Backing winners, especially championship teams, is a joy and pleasure that non-Toronto sports fans get to experience. However being a fan of any Toronto sports team, NHL/MLB/NBA/MLS/CFL, is an act of blind faith, and frankly, work. The majority of Toronto sports fans wake up every day thinking, “this is going to be a tough day on the job”. There’s ridicule, contempt, and being the brunt of jokes to contend with; but for the first time, in a long time, things changed for Toronto sports fans this week.

Toronto’s baseball team, Toronto Blue Jays, secured first place in their division this week, thus ensuring a spot in this year’s playoffs. It has been 22 years since the Blue Jays were in the playoffs. I still remember what it was like back then. Back then the Jays were perennial playoff contenders. They were built to win, and to be competitive going forward. God, that was so long ago. When I think about what has happened in my life in the last 22 years, it seems like a lifetime ago. A funny thing happens to fans, especially as they get older; priorities change and blind faith becomes very blurred. I definitely fall into that category. I stopped following the Blue Jays closely about a decade ago. My rationale was simple, if the team doesn’t care, neither do I. (more…)

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3 Comments CAAMP Mortgage Hall of Fame: I’m Truly Humbled

Article written by on the 25 Sep 2015 in Personal

It’s been a while since my last blog post. Vacations, work, and general stuff have proven to be a bit of a distraction. I’ve also come to learn that writing a blog is like going to the gym. If you stop doing it on a consistent basis it’s difficult to get back into the swing of it; and just like going to the gym, you know when it’s time to go back. So here goes, not much happening on my end.

Until next time…

Of course I’m kidding. There’s plenty going on, be it the housing and mortgage market, the overall economy, or political campaigns. Plenty to opine about, but since this is my first blog post in a while I thought I would touch on something personal. Last week Dan Putnam, CAAMP Chairman (Canadian Association of Accredited Mortgage Professionals), notified me that I was going to be inducted this year into the CAAMP Mortgage Hall of Fame. My first reaction when hearing the news was, “I don’t know what to say”. Rarely am I at a loss for words, but in my defense it’s not something you ever plan on hearing. No one can map this out and say, “one day I’m going into the Hall of Fame”. It happened because a number people got together, built a case on my behalf, and worked to make it
happen. You can’t lead an initiative like this yourself. I mean, you could, but it would be really bad form. The fact that my industry colleagues would take the time do this, for me, is beyond flattering.

Over the next month or so I will have to work on my induction speech. How does one properly acknowledge, in three to five minutes, all those who gave me a hand up over the last 28 years?  (more…)

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0 Comments This & That: Elections, Van Halen, and more

Article written by on the 21 Aug 2015 in Personal

It’s been a few weeks since my last blog post – it must be summer that’s causing the tardiness. Or, it just might be that I have nothing of interest to write about lately. I’ll go with the first excuse, but I can say this: I have learned a few things over last the two weeks. So if you will indulge me, here’s what I’ve learned.

Mortgages and Real Estate are not all things evil; especially when you’re trying to get re-elected. There’s an election around the corner in Canada, and it’s time for promises from all the candidates (most of which will never be kept). One of the first promises made on the campaign trail by Steven Harper, Canada’s Prime Minister, was to allow first time homebuyers to draw up to $35,000 from the RRSP for a down payment, up from $25,000. Why? “For most Canadians, the family home is their biggest asset and their most significant investment in their future financial security. It’s also the center of their lives,” said Harper. Gosh darn it, why didn’t we think of that? (more…)

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0 Comments Happy (Fill in the Blank) Day

Article written by on the 31 Jul 2015 in Personal

It’s a long weekend across the country, and (I suspect) like you, I’ve never given any real thought as to why we have this long weekend. So I decided to do some research, and after doing so I realize why beer plays an important part in every long weekend in Canada. If you’re going to kill some brain cells, you might as well have fun doing it, rather than trying to figure what we’re celebrating this weekend.

Here’s what I learned, if you live in Toronto you’re celebrating Simcoe Day. But if you live in Ottawa, it’s Colonel Bay Day. West of Toronto, in Burlington, it’s Joseph Brant Day. Head north of Toronto, to Vaughn, it’s Benjamin Vaughan Day. Our friends in Newfoundland will be celebrating Regatta Day, and I hear that can be a lot of fun. So much so that the “hair of the dog” may be needed Tuesday morning to deal with the pounding headache. In Nova Scotia and PEI, it’s Natal Day. In Alberta, it’s Heritage Day. Our friends in Saskatchewan and BC deserve props for simplicity. They’re celebrating Saskatchewan Day and British Columbia Day, respectively. (more…)

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0 Comments Jim Murphy — A Hearty Thank You

Article written by on the 24 Jul 2015 in CAAMP

When I received a call from the soon to be former CEO of CAAMP, Jim Murphy, to tell me personally that he is tendering his resignation, I was and wasn’t surprised. As he shared with me his rationale for wanting to pursue other opportunities, my mind was racing. Candidly speaking, images and the silent questions I started asking myself impeded my ability to truly comprehend and absorb every word spoken during that conversation. I think there’s a simple explanation as to why my mind started bombarding me with questions: it’s because Jim mattered, a lot. Now he’s leaving.

They say that timing is everything, and as cliché as that is, it holds  true in Jim Murphy’s case.  When Jim first joined CAAMP, it was raining mortgage applications. Hubris ruled; this was how it was going to be forever.  Then WAM!; 2008 comes along and forever changes our landscape. Jim’s knowledge and skill at navigating the hallways of Parliament ensured our voices would be heard. Prior to Jim joining CAAMP, we would be lucky to get a phone call returned from the Finance Department in Ottawa. Not long after Jim’s arrival, not only were our calls returned by the Finance Department, they began reaching out to CAAMP for data and input on mortgage related issues. Jim Murphy is invited to Ottawa every year for the reading of the new federal budget. (more…)

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2 Comments What Everyone is Talking About…

Article written by on the 17 Jul 2015 in Personal

And no, I don’t mean the Bank of Canada lowering the overnight lending rate. Given the BoC’s economic forecast for Canada, the move to lower wasn’t a surprise at all. The banks quickly followed and lowered their prime rate. Although the banks didn’t match the BoC’s full rate discount, they still lowered their prime rate, which ultimately benefits the borrower. Back to what everyone is talking about. Good lord, it’s also not the Pan Am games being hosted in Toronto. Truth be told, the games have produced a collective yawn in Toronto. In no way is that a reflection of the highly dedicated and committed athletes who are participating. It is simply a case of Toronto not perceiving the games as being “big league”. If it was the Olympics, tickets would be hard to come by. Some may characterize our Toronto’s view of these events as arrogant, pompous or even self-aggrandizing. Rightly or wrongly, it’s just the way it is. What everyone is talking about is the other event that recently took place. That’s right, The Mortario Cup golf tournament.

Now for the few of you who do not know what I’m referring to…and that would be everyone other than the participants and their immediate families, let me explain.  The Mortario Cup started way back in 2005. It is a Ryder Cup format, played over two days. There are two teams – Team Blue and Team Red. These teams are made up of individuals in the mortgage industry in Ontario. The golfers are the who’s-who of the mortgage industry – well, at least that’s what we tell ourselves. The same two teams play against each other every year and the competition is fierce. What does the winning team get? Firstly, the Trophy, she really is beautiful. Secondly (more…)

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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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