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Past winners laud business impact


 

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This May, the 12th annual Canadian Mortgage Awards will be celebrating the country’s mortgage industry leaders. While the CMAs are night of fun replete with food, drink and entertainment, those who win big reap the accolades well beyond the night’s celebrations.


For new companies, especially, the recognition of winning a CMA is an excellent business boon. Chantel Chapman, a financial fitness coach and broker of record at MogoMortgage, which won the 2017 award for Best Use of Mobile Technology, says winning helped the nascent brokerage, only established this year, build credibility with a new client base.


“We really value the awards, just being new in the mortgage industry, because right away it gave us a little bit of recognition as a new player,” she said. “It was important for the industry to see who we were. When the awards came out, lenders reached out to us as well. When we were going through signing up different brokerages, it was helpful to have that award because people were reaching out to us that we hadn’t come across before.”


Winning the award has proven a useful marketing tool, too.


“We use the award recognition symbol,” added Chapman. “We put it on our email and use it in some of our marketing, so awards can be pretty powerful in marketing to show credibility, because they’re a bit of a social proof tactic that consumers feel comfortable with.”


Broker and Owner of Loewen Group Mortgages, James Loewen, says the brokerage’s awards are openly displayed in their office for clients to see, as well as to remind staff about their contributions.


Loewen won the award for Mortgage Broker of the Year Fewer Than 25 Employees in 2015, and Loewen Group won the Mortgage Brokerage of the Year award in 2016, and the 2017 award for Best Customer Service from an Individual Office.


“Those are three of the highest distinctions you can win in the industry,” said Loewen. “The first one was important for myself, but as we grew our team I wanted to see them be recognized. Our focus on the brokerage, teamwork and experience, and client experience led us to want to refine the experience and helped us get the customer service award.


“It’s amazing to be able to bring that back to the office. We have it displayed for each team member to see every day for each of their efforts. It’s nice to have something tangible to show for our work.”


Aside from the exhilaration of being nominated and winning, the CMAs draw all of the industry’s major players under one roof. “It’s a great night,” added Loewen. “It’s good to see fellow brokers, rub shoulders with lenders, have a few drinks and honour each other.”


Gordon McCallum, the founder, president and CEO of Edmonton-based First Foundation, says CMA recognition has helped his brokerage build a reputation within the Canadian mortgage industry, even serving as a recruiting tool.


First Foundation won the Diversifier of the Year award from 2015 through 2017, the Best Internet Presence in 2011, and a First Foundation broker won the Best Broker Newcomer award. McCallum says he loves attending the CMAs.


“It’s always a fantastic evening,” he said. “It’s nice to get dressed up and go out on a fancy evening and network with industry peers, see old friends and make new ones. The gala is always a first-class event. It’s the highlight of the year, I think.


“Beyond that, it’s an excuse to get out of town and go somewhere I wouldn’t normally go and get out of Edmonton for a little bit. It’s great and you feel special. It’s a big event, and it’s nice to even be nominated, whether you win or not. It’s a fun night and people enjoy themselves.”


Loewen agrees, and added that hobnobbing with peers is a great way to stay abreast of industry activity.


“We learn so much from our fellow brokers,” he said. “Technically, we’re competition but you’d never know that at any of these events. We’re always willing to share, challenge and collaborate, and we get amazing support from our brokers and lenders. It’s a fun time, but also a great opportunity for lending, which we’re always seeking to do.”

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