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

3 Comments 2016 – Here We Go!

Article written by on the 15 Jan 2016 in Canada,Current Events,Merix Financial,Music,Sports

It’s the start of a new year. 

Sure, many were back to work on the 4th of January, but in our industry things get back to “normal” the second week of January.  So, here we are.  Like most people, I believe that what’s ahead will be better than the journey just travelled.  However, to be totally candid, 2015 was a very good year for me.  On all fronts, be it personal or professional.  Having a better year will be a challenge, but that’s life.  You push, you strive, and you never settle.  Frame of mind is critical, and over the last six months I’ve been working on just that.

Not to get all Tony Robbins on you, “awake the giant within…love yourself…blah, blah, blah”, your state of mind plays an import part of all your outcomes.  We all have to fight against a self-fulfilling prophecy.  If you think it sucks, it may not actually suck, but it will eventually suck.  In this day and age it can be challenge to stay positive.  We are constantly bombarded with predictions of doom and gloom.  Take this week for an example, the Canadian dollar dipped below 70 cents U.S., and a very respected economist is predicting it could drop to 59 cents U.S.  And as every info-commercial says, “but wait, there’s more”.  It’s now being suggested that oil could drop to $20 USD a barrel.  All this in the second week of January.  So, how does one pushback against all the white noise?

Here’s what I did.  Firstly, I was finally honest with myself, and I admitted that I was an information and news junkie.  I became obsessed, and needed my daily fix of bad news.  Trust me; it’s not hard to find bad news.  In today’s world it’s everywhere.  It takes a lot more work today to dodge the bad news assault.  Given the reality that we all live in an information world, I came to the conclusion that I had to change my information gathering habits. So no more Fox News, no CNN, and no MSNBC.  I would actually turn to MSNBC, knowing full well that within minutes I would want to throw something at the screen.   Like I said, I was addicted.  Here’s another thing, no more talk radio in the car.  Doesn’t matter if it’s sports or news.  I came to the conclusions that on too many occasions I would arrive at work with a less than pleasant disposition.  Why?  Because I invited mindless babbling into my car, which more often than not would just piss me off.  So things had to change.  There’s no excuse for waltzing through life being willfully ignorant, but given that news is readily available everywhere, I decided that I would control when and where I received my news.  The first real sign that my new approach was working was when someone asked me, “what do you think about David Price signing with the Boston Red Sox, and not the Toronto Blue Jays?”  I was relieved that I didn’t even know it happened. Me, not knowing about something that happened in sports?  That was big!

Here’s what else I did, I replaced information with music.  I know that may sound schmaltzy, but it works.  Truth be told my car played a major role in my musical listening pleasures.  The car has a feature that when you push a button, and say play “artist and song”, it searches the net and finds the song.  It also creates a custom radio station for me.  For example, Rolling Stones Start Me Up radio station.  From there it searches for songs from the same genre.  If I don’t like the song it found, I press next.  The cool thing about this is that it’s taken me out of my 70’s and 80’s musical time machine.  I didn’t know there were so many new artists out there, well, at least new to me.   Bands like O.A.R., James Morrison (not the old guy who sings like he’s got a mouth full of marbles) and Augustana.  Really talented bands and I love the fact that our 14 year old is shocked that I know who they are. 

This may not work for everyone, but I find that I’m in a better mood more often because I’m listening to more music, and not mindless chatter.  I still get my fill of information, but in a much more condensed fashion. More importantly, I decide when I’m ready for the info download.  My new approach doesn’t change the facts, and what’s happening around me.  But it will no longer control me.  Based on what’s happening in the real world, and how the year is starting off, I got my music cranked.  I also customized a new radio station in my car, David Bowie Ashes to Ashes.  Seemed appropriate.

Until next time.

Cheers!

 

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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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2 Comments Trailer Fees: Defending the Obvious

Article written by on the 19 Jun 2015 in Merix Financial

Over the last few weeks there’s been chatter in the industry about a lender in the mortgage space deciding to no longer offer trailer fees. The lender in question articulated their rationale for doing so, and it’s not for me to question their decision or pass judgement. Over the last two weeks I’ve been asked the following two questions, on a number of occasions.  Firstly, what do I think about their decision? Secondly, are we contemplating the same?  The answer to the first question is “Interesting, but I don’t really care”.  The answer the second question, “Absolutely not”.

The notion that Merix might consider revisiting its core value proposition, and no longer offer trailer fees to mortgage brokers, would only come to pass if Merix decided to rip the soul out of the company. Trailer fees are a part of the Merix DNA.  Trailer fees are what set Merix apart from its competitors. Merix is the pioneer of trailer fees. We can debate the economic merits of trailer fees versus being paid up front. But one thing that is not up for debate is the commitment Merix has to trailer fees. I’m not one to say “never”, but as I sit here today, in the role that I occupy, trailers are here to stay. (more…)

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0 Comments Alive & Well!

Article written by on the 29 May 2015 in Business,Customer Service,Merix Financial,Mortgage

It’s been a few weeks since my last post and I thought it might be time to at least check in.  It has been rather hectic over the last few weeks.  Upon arriving home from our vacation, we were back on another plane in less than 24 hours for business purposes.  There’s been a lot of hotels, managing dirty laundry on the road and embedding really bad eating habits.  If I’m not careful, I’ll have to change the spelling of my name from Boris, to Borises. 

I headed back to my old stomping grounds this week – Vancouver.  DLC, Dominion Lending Centres, asked me to speak at their Owner’s Conference.  When asked if I would participate, the answer was quick – absolutely!  It’s a wonderful opportunity for me to meet with our customers and garner some insight into the cool and innovative things that DLC is doing.  Gary Mauris, Chris Kayat and Jay Seabrook of DLC have been very supportive of Merix, and if I can make even a small contribution to the success of their conference, I do so with pleasure. 

While in Vancouver, I was also pleased to be able to attend the 25th Anniversary Celebration of TMG, The Mortgage Group.  Wow!  I can’t believe how quickly time flies!  This is a homecoming of sorts for me.  Many, many moons ago, Grant and Debbie Thomas, Principal Owners of TMG, asked me to join their organization. I worked for Grant and Debbie for a number of years and upon reflection,  my time with TMG played a very important role in my career development and career path. I will be forever grateful for the opportunity they gave me and even more grateful for the enduring friendship which ensued.  Congratulations on your 25th Anniversary milestone!

Until next time.

Cheers,

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0 Comments Talent Is Overrated

Article written by on the 10 Apr 2015 in Book Review,Business,Merix Financial,Sports,World Events

That’s the title of a book I came across while wandering around an airport a few years ago.  The title of the book was such a contradiction of my own personal belief that I was left with no choice but to pick up the book and read the overview inside the book jacket.  I’m not sure if the author, Geoff Colvin, came up with the tittle or not.  Whoever it was, kudos.  It made me pick up the book, and eventually buy it.  It’s an interesting and fairly simple read.  The book is based on research, and Colvin’s interpretation of the data.  His findings and conclusions are based on empirical data, and there is not a single suggestion that to be great at what you do is easy.  On the contrary, Colvin concludes that to be great requires painstaking work and dedication. 

 The reason the book came to mind was because of the Masters Golf Tournament.  Golf enthusiasts know that the Masters is being played this weekend, actually, Thursday through Sunday.  The Masters is a unique tournament.  Its mystique is unparalleled.    Augusta National, where the Masters is played, is sacred soil for golfers.  Golfers would pay a “stupid” sum of money for the privilege of playing that course, just once in a lifetime.  It would be the ultimate bucket list experience.  I’ve had the privilege of attending the Master’s on a few occasions.  The first time I walked on the grounds I was mesmerized.   It was one of those rare moments where you can say the experience was better than what you anticipated it would be.  So, what does this have to do with a book entitled Talent Is Overrated?  The author dedicated a chapter to Tiger Woods, who just happens to be playing at this year’s Masters golf tournament.

Tiger Woods is one of those rare athletes who transcends a sport.  People who don’t even like golf know who Tiger Woods is.  He is one of the most recognizable athletes in the world.  Many people adore him, and many people dislike him.  But there’s no denying that everyone has heard of him, and can recognize Tiger Woods.    That’s a result of being a generational athlete, who is responsible for a transformational change of a sport.  Some know him more for his personal shortcomings, which I could care less about, but everyone knows him because he was that damn good at his chosen profession.  Colvin posed the question, “why was Tiger Woods that good?”  Is it a God given talent?  Does he possess a golf gene that no others have?  How many times have we explained extraordinary results by simply  saying, “he/she was born that way”.  Colvin debunks that myth, and I think he’s on to something.

SPOILER ALERT –  I’m going to share some of his findings so stop reading if you want to pick up the book and be surprised.  Tiger Woods was programmed to be a golfer, specifically by his father.  Earl Woods, Tigers father, served in the military.  He did two tours in Vietnam, the second tour as a member of the United States Army Special Forces.  In other words, a bad ass you didn’t want to mess with.  He knew all about structure and discipline.  He also had a teaching background.  His background was the perfect for molding and programming his son to become one of the greatest golfers of all time.  Example, when Tiger was an infant, his father would take him into the garage, put him in a high chair, and make him watch his golf swing for hours on end.  Tiger’s father loved golf, and he was determined to make his son love the game even more.  At four years of age Tiger and his father appeared on the Mike Douglas Show, a well-known TV Talk Show back in the day, to demonstrate his golfing prowess at such an early age.  Tiger’s entire life was golf and school. Apparently the focus on education was his mother’s doing.  Tiger was programmed to think, eat, drink and practice golf.  Thousands and thousands of hours dedicated to hitting a little white ball.  The dedication to practice, to sacrifice “normal” child experiences, created a golfing virtuoso.   So is Tiger’s mastery of the sport nature or nurture?  After reading Talent Is Overrated, I lean more towards nurture.

Everyone knows about Tiger’s personal challenges.  Golf fans know that Tiger’s body is breaking down, and his age is becoming a factor.  The hundreds of thousands of violent swings, which is the only I can describe Tiger’s golf swing, has to eventually take a toll.  The golf world so badly wants Tiger to be Tiger of old.  Everyone was surprised to see Tiger embracing other golfers  on the practice range at this year’s Masters.  Tiger joking around with the media, spending time with his children.  Everyone is saying it’s a new Tiger Woods.  The Tiger of old had little time for comradery, kibitzing with the press, and family was used as a prop.  Can he ever win again with this new found attitude?  I think it might be a matter of too little, too late.    As the old saying goes, “practice makes perfect”.  But perfect has a price. 

Until Next Time.

Cheers,

 

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1 Comments Bright Lights

Article written by on the 10 Oct 2014 in Business,Canada,Current Events,Merix Financial,New York City,US Politics,World Business Forum,World Events

Just coming back from New York, and I’ll spare you the cliché.  New York – bright lights, the city that never sleeps, blah, blah.  All true, but the bright lights I’m referring to is a select group of loyal supporters of Merix Financial.  We  had the pleasure of hosting a number of mortgage brokers in New York to attend the World Business Forum.  The event is held over  two days and attendees at the conference are leaders and executives from around the world.  The lineup of speakers have diverse backgrounds and experiences.  It’s the diversity of the speakers which provoke thought and critical thinking.  The two day event allowed all of us to exit the echo chamber that we all find ourselves occupying.  That is a critical element of professional development.  Thought provocation forces you out of your comfort zone.

Our invited guests embraced the opportunity to listen and learn from speakers whose subject matter expertise may have appeared to have only a subtle correlation to their daily actives.  But, they came open minded and prepared to see where the experience takes them.  I got a big kick watching our guests as the event evolved.  Here was a small group of people who for the most part were strangers to each other or know by name only.  However, in a short period of time small micro groups were formed to talk about issues that each individual faces each and every day at work.  It’s remarkable how quickly trust was built among the group, and it was a safe environment to say “I got a work problem, and I don’t have an answer”. Assistance and suggestions from peers was immediate, and no one held back for competitive reasons.  I can’t tell you how cool it is to watch a team come together. Make no mistake, this is a team.  As of today they know they can pick up the phone and reach out to one of their peers from across the country to help them solve a problem.  Sometimes business can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be lonely.

In my humble estimation, the event was a success, and here’s why.  First and foremost, our guests wanted to be there.  That was demonstrated by their support of Merix to ensure they were invited. Also, our guests are all focused on building a business, and not just a job. That’s an important distinction. Secondly, Merix set the right expectations.  It was learning first, party second.  Don’t get me wrong, there was time to have fun.  Like the night we all went to Madison Square Gardens for a Fleetwood Mac concert.  Our seats we on the floors and we were swept up by the music and the New York audience.  Even though there was bit of a “generational” gap for some of our guests, all danced, had a few libations, and allowed themselves to be swept up by the event and the masses.  But come 8:30 am the next morning, all were ready to begin a new day.

An extraordinary amount of time and effort is put into planning one of these events.  I can never really be sure if our guests will find a benefit in attending, while leaving their business for a few days.  After the wrap up dinner we hosted on the final night, one of our guests sat next to me and gave me a book.  She wanted me to have the book because she thought I would enjoy the read.  She mentioned that she wrote a note on the inside of the cover but asked me not to read it at the table.  She said she didn’t want to become emotional.  I smiled and said I would respect her wishes.  After three hours of the book being by my side, I finally made it back to my hotel and I read her note on the inside of the cover.  It was heartfelt, genuine and so sincere.  It was right then that I knew the effort in putting this event together was worth it.

So to Gerry, Tim, Scott, Shawn, Karen, Richard, Brenda, Tracey, Sandy, Paul, Sarah, and Elisseos, if you don’t mind…let’s do it again.

Until next time.

Cheers,

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0 Comments MERIX Sales Rally – Professional Development

Article written by on the 30 Sep 2014 in Business,Merix Financial

At MERIX we always try to come up with creative ways to enhance our employee’s professional development.  We believe that our employees can learn from each other. But it’s also important not to fall into the echo chamber trap. External experiences and business models are great way to learn. It’s for that reason we chose to hold the MERIX Sales and Planning Session this year at Disney, in Orlando Florida.

While Disney may seem like an unusual place to take employees for personal development and business planning, I beg to differ. I can’t think of any organization which is more committed to the customer experience than Disney. Their business purpose is to create happiness. That’s not my choice of words but rather Disney’s. As a group we learned about Disney’s business purpose when we attended a full day training course facilitated by Disney, I am always eager to learn from others, and we can all learn from some of Disney’s business practices. Their attention to detail and commitment to “creating happiness” is remarkable. They live it, they breath it, they believe it. Maybe I’ll share some of my learning’s in future blogs.

The second reason I didn’t think it was unusual to come Disney is because I believe learning should be fun. It’s rare for adults to go to Disney without children in tow. Every once in a while it’s fun for adults to be kids again. So go on Space Mountain as many times as you like..eat all the cotton candy or gigantic turkey legs you want…beam when getting your picture taken with Mickey or Snow White.  Reality waits when we get home.

I want to thank Genworth Financial and D+H for sharing and being a part of our event at Disney.  Creating positive employee memories is a unique challenge. Having Mickey and Minnie join us at our welcome reception, followed by two days of learning, and ending with a day at the theme park, well, we just may have overcome the challenge.

 Until next time,

 Cheers.


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2 Comments Cranial Cramps

Article written by on the 05 Sep 2014 in Book Review,Business,Current Events,Merix Financial

The week after Labour Day weekend is not unlike the first week after New Year’s.  It is almost like play time is over, and it’s time to get back to work.  Just driving into work on Tuesday I could feel a difference.  Traffic is always brutal in Toronto, so using traffic as any sort of bench mark is futile.  It’s hard to pinpoint or accurately describe what it is, and without sounding esoteric, there’s an energy level that just seems to be heightened.  Not something you can see, but it’s something you can feel. One place where the heightened energy level manifests itself is between the ears.  The brain goes back to work. 

A great way for me to exercise a lethargic brain is to start reading,  Not just skimming, but actually taking the time to comprehend what’s written.  At times that can be painful.  As an example I’m reading a book now that will probably take me another two years to finish.  The book in question? “War and Peace.”  My God it is a difficult read!  The list of characters is endless, and trying to remember them all is next to impossible.  It doesn’t help that I pick up the book every three months, and plow through another 100 pages.  The main characters are Bezukhov, Bolonsky, Rostova, and the  Kurigan clan, more specifically Natasha and Nikola.  The secondary characters are but a mere 1,000, well, it seems that way to me.  And there’s not a “Smith” in the bunch. So why am I reading” War and Peace?”  Because it’s a challenge, and I can say to myself I finished reading a book which is considered a literary classic.

If you’re looking for a good read, and I can assure you that it’s a quick read, I would recommend the book “David and Goliath”, by Malcolm Gladwell.  I came across the book courtesy of an inspiring entrepreneur,  Sarah Schiess.  Ms. Schiess  works and resides in Saskatchewan, and from my vantage point I see great things for her in the future.  To Sarah, thank you for your thoughtfulness, and for sharing the gift of knowledge.  I won’t get into the details of the book, suffice to say that after reading the book you will challenge conventional wisdom and thinking.  Gladwell is a renowned author, and his books are worth the investment.  Below is a review of the book I found on-line.  A tad wordy, but very well written.

Review: Malcom and Goliath

Until next time.

Cheers,

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0 Comments Interpreting The Numbers

Article written by on the 16 May 2014 in Business,Canada,Current Events,Economy,Merix Financial,US Politics,World Events

Is the glass half full or half empty?  Are the measures that we’re taken to modify the real estate market balanced or have policy makers over reached?  Numbers are supposed to be black and white.  Shades of grey come into play depending on the side of the argument you’re on.

The Canadian Real Estate Association, (CREA) released data this week which will make all sides of the Canadian real estate market argument happy.  Example, according to the MLS Home Price Index, home prices have increased by 7.6% from a year ago.  Now if you take Vancouver and Toronto out of the equation, the increase was 4.6% on a year over year basis.  So are we on the cusp of a potential real estate bubble or is it simple supply side economics?  The number of homes sold came in slightly lower than a year ago.  So is demand outpacing supply, causing prices to increase?  And oh my god, condo sales increased in Toronto as well. Red Rover, Red Rover, Doom Sayers come on over.  There’s a little something for everyone. The teeth nashers and those predicting Armageddon are fist bumping each other.  Others, justifiably so, are saying it’s a balanced market.  Should the price of a real estate never rise? If that we’re the case we would all be squatters, living in tents.  The commentators I love are the ones that sit firmly on the fence.  An economist for one major bank said their analysis suggests that we all experience a 10% decrease in home values, and there could be further risk if sales activity was to increase. They were so concerned with the “risk” that they matched the 2.99% five year rate that one of their competitors came out with.  That fence post must really be uncomfortable to sit on.

Sifting through all the commentary can be confusing, and let’s be honest, depending on the amount of skin you have in the game will influence the argument and opinion you support.  To combat human nature it’s important to seek contrary opinions, and I force myself do that, almost daily.  It takes some effort to find commentary which is not self-serving, like those selling newspapers, hedge funds that are shorting the Canadian economy or politicians playing politics.  Here’s a couple names to look out for when you want broader viewpoint, economists Nouriel Roubini and David Rosenberg.  What’s their bona fide? They predicted the financial collapse of 2008. So what are they saying today?  According to Rosenberg, “Nattering nabobs of negativity – stop knocking yourself out. First, there are a host of reasons why I see inflation rising moderately, and the wage process is but one of them. There is a very interesting development taking place that is not garnering a lot of attention. The U.S. commercial banks are loosening their purse strings. As for the U.S. economy, it is looking as though Q2 real GDP growth will come in close to a 4% annual rate. Why I turned bullish on the U.S. consumer.”  Clearly he’s refereeing to the U.S. Economy, but like it or not, when America sneezes we look for a tissue.  In good times and bad.

Until next time!

Cheers,

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1 Comments We have the best Customers!

Article written by on the 04 Oct 2013 in Merix Financial

One of the pleasures of being a business owner is the great people you get to work with.  The spectrum ranges from employees, suppliers and of course our customers.  This week MERIX had the privilege of hosting a number of our top supporters/customers at the World Business Forum, in New York City.  NYC is such a vibrant and cool city.  The pace is frenetic, and at times abrasive.  I’m okay with those characteristics because it definitely contributes to the overall experience.  Combine that with a learning opportunity, and sharing it with extraordinary people, well, you end with a memorable trip.

I think I’ve attended about half dozen World Business Forums. I enjoy the experience because I get to remove myself from my daily routine and think about issues from a macro perspective.  The World Business Forum is what inspired me to transform and change the CAAMP Mortgage Forum.  It was my hope was that for one day of the year, (the second day of the CAAMP conference) we could all set aside GDS/TDS, rental offsets, OSFI, the Finance Department, beacon scores and other daily issues and take a few moments to think beyond ourselves and our own backyard.  I always wanted to share that experience with our customers, and that’s exactly what we did we invited our top supports to NYC to experience the World Business Forum.

What a delight it was to be able to spend time with our customers and employees for an extended period of time.  At MERIX we’ve always tried to do things a little bit differently. There’s nothing new about customer appreciation trips, but I believe what’s different about our events is the core – education.  We don’t use education as a cover to create an event just to drink excessively, and over indulge in food. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not prudish enough to turn away a libation or great food that will wreak havoc with my girlish figure. It’s just that in our world it’s about learning first, party second.  We do both well; just in order.

To our valued supporters/customers, John Bargis, Sandy Fisher, Richard Anderson, Gerry Bray, Mackenzie Gartside, Tracey Morrison, Sarah Schiess, Victor Schaefer, Tyler Hilderbrand, Marvis Olson, Marcus Tzaferis, Brenda Coleman, Jacquie Bushell and Catherine Adams from Genworth Financial, our sincerest thank you for your support, and for giving us the opportunity to spend a few days together to get to know just a little bit better.

Until next time,

Cheers.

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3 Comments A Surreal Experience

Article written by on the 20 Sep 2013 in Business,CAAMP,Canada,Merix Financial,Mortgage,Personal

It’s amazing how many thoughts can race through your mind in a matter of seconds.  The images are vivid, yet vanish in seconds.

I had such an experience earlier this week.  There I was, about to start a meeting with the Minister of Finance, Jim Flaherty and my mind went racing down memory lane.  For a split second, I found myself recalling the very first mortgage application I ever filled out. This was twenty five years ago.  I met my first customers on a Saturday morning, but as it was my first deal as a mortgage broker, I would have gladly have met them at 3:00am.  Oh, the knowledge I had back then.  For example, I was aware that mortgage’s was spelled with two “g’s”.  I was so wet behind the ears that I had to keep a drawer open in my desk so I could refer to an old Statement of Mortgage.  I wanted to make sure I didn’t miss anything, so I kept taking a peek at a completed Statement of Mortgage.  I had to resist the urge to laugh at the memory.

“There were many other thoughts that kept running through my head, especially about CAAMP, and how far we’ve come as an association.”

In a couple of nanoseconds I also thought about the first time a fledgling national association called CIMBL made their way to British Columbia to pitch brokers on why they should become members.  I was in attendance at the pitch. I remembered standing at the back of the room listening to CIMBL’s talking head, saying without embarrassment, “if you do not become members of this association lenders will not pay you a finder’s fee.”  I couldn’t help but think, “you fool, you just set this new association back by three years in British Columbia”.  I was wrong, it was five years.  There were many other thoughts that kept running through my head, especially about CAAMP, and how far we’ve come as an association.

But I had to clear my mind and prepare for the meeting with Mr. Flaherty. Jim Murphy, CAAMP President, Daryl Harris, CAAMP Chair, and myself were given the opportunity to meet with the Minister of Finance this week.  The purpose of the meeting was to share our thoughts and concerns for the mortgage broker market.  Both Jim and Daryl did an outstanding job, laying out the facts in a balanced and measured way.  It was our hope that the Minister of Finance would view our positioning points through the lens of consumer choice and the important contribution the mortgage broker channel makes to the Canadian economy.  Jim Murphy has done yeomen’s work on behalf of our industry in Ottawa and this most recent meeting added another layer to the relationship foundation between CAAMP and the Finance Department.  Kudos to both Jim and Daryl.

As for my role at the meeting?  I spoke briefly about the important role that mono-line lenders, like MERIX, play in the mortgage broker channel.  Most importantly, the choice we provide for Canadian borrowers.  I also spoke briefly about the contribution that mono-lines make to Canadian tax role.  Mono-lines provide greater choice for borrowers but they’re also job creators.  I made it very clear that we ask for no favour.  The mono-lines are prepared to compete but the nuances and difference between mono-lines and banks should be factored when making decisions which impacts funding for the mortgage broker channel.  The Minister of Finance stated that his office would consult with our industry about all the recent changes and what our needs might be going into 2014.

One of the things I am most proud about during my time on the CAAMP Board is the relationship which has been built with Ottawa and the regulators.  I wasn’t too long ago when it was difficult to get a phone call returned from the powers that be. Today, the calls are being returned and we have an opportunity to sit at the adult table. Influence cannot happen without dialogue.  I believe CAAMP’s efforts are being noticed.  It’s why we don’t hear the “cash grab” argument with the frequency we once did.  Today, even the haters have some difficulty arguing that the nominal cost to be a member is not worth trying to protect our collective wallets.

Until next time,

Cheers

 

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0 Comments That Time of Year

Article written by on the 22 May 2013 in Merix Financial

This is one of my favorite times of the year.  I’m about to take part in what has become a marker of history for MERIX.  Every year since inception we gather as group to reflect on the past twelve months but more importantly focusing on the future.  It’s the one time of year where we gather to share ideas, to council, motivate and enjoy eachother’s company. We’ve taken our gathering across our country, and last year we converged on the city of San Francisco.  This year?  We gather in our nation’s capital.  When I asked the organizers of the event why Ottawa?  The answer was simple, not everyone on the team has been to Ottawa. So Ottawa it is.  

I’ll be with the MERIX team for the remainder of the week, which is code for I’ll get back to regular blog posts next week.  For the next few days I get to spend time with an inspiring group of people from across our country.  

Until next time,

Cheers.

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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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