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Mortgage brokers need to constantly reinvent themselves in today’s constantly evolving housing market.

Over the past several years, we’ve experienced a global pandemic, soaring home prices, record-breaking inflation, and now rising interest rates and a softening housing market.

If you feel like there hasn’t been much time to pause and focus on professional development, you’re not alone. That is, until now.

Mortgage Professionals Canada’s upcoming National Mortgage Conference on Oct. 16 and 17 will see industry professionals from across Canada come together to not only reflect on the current state of the housing market, but also hone their professional skills. Some of the industry’s brightest minds will be imparting their experience through a series of sessions on interesting and relevant topics.

Mortgage fraud

Amid the roller coaster highs and lows of Canada’s real estate market over the past three years, mortgage brokers are facing more lawsuits from clients.

Natalie M. Leon, a litigator who represents everyone from mortgage brokers to oil burner technicians, says it’s important for those in the industry to understand the duties of mortgage professionals, the kinds of legal threats that are sometimes made by clients, and how to deal with them.

As part of her session at the MPC conference, Leon told CMT, “I’ll provide some tips taken from my years of defending brokers as to what they can do when providing services to either avoid claims or ensure that they have the best defence possible when a claim does come in.”

Connecting with your clients

Growing a mortgage brokerage these days doesn’t just require a good handshake – it calls for a robust marketing strategy that includes a strong social media presence and opportunities to have meaningful dialogue with clients.

Sarah Strauss, a mortgage broker with The Place to Mortgage, will lead a session focusing on how to stay human on social media, as well as how to plan social media content for multiple platforms for the entire year.

“I will attempt to break down some of those barriers that may limit one from posting or feeling nervous about posting,” she says.

On the flip side, Megan McDonald, SVP, Single Family Sales at MCAP, and Kerri Reed, principal broker at Premiere Mortgage Centre, will dive into the importance of fostering strong relationships with clients.

The pair will talk about how to move through misunderstandings and the stresses of daily deal-making. “We challenge the industry to revisit their definition of partnership through compelling stories and insights,” explained McDonald.

Setting yourself up for success

There’s no express lane to achieving success. It comes in many forms and through countless avenues, some of which will be showcased at the conference.

For example, Susan Thomas of M3 Group will lead a session in business planning to set the stage for success, while Dustan Woodhouse of Mortgage Architects will help attendees master rejection and resiliency.

In yet another session, Lisa Alentejano of Equitable Bank will explain how to assess your current relationship with yourself and your clients.

Her session will ask mortgage professionals how their relationship with themselves is impacting those around them, and how they can “show up fully” for others in a more authentic and connective way.

Real-life stories of success will also be shared.

Christine Xu, the president and CEO of Ready Capital Mortgage Investment Trust, has a story to tell about building a mutual trust fund to rapidly grow her business. The technique allowed her to pull in $50 million worth of capital in just three years, but it wasn’t an easy journey.

“Being a mortgage broker and managing investors’ money are two totally different businesses,” Xu says. “I never thought raising funds for private lending would be so hard!”

Dealing with the challenges

Survivors of sexual harassment and bullying are telling their stories at a rate not before seen in our society. In many of these cases, the abuse took place at work, perpetuated by colleagues or managers.

“These days, ignorance of current issues and decent behaviour is rarely excused,” says Stephen Hammond, a lawyer-turned-workplace expert.

His session will teach industry professionals about their rights and responsibilities in the workplace, share what not to do, and explain how to avoid problems of bullying and harassment on the job in the first place.

Another aspect some professionals are grappling with is how to return to the office after two years of pandemic lockdowns, and the Zoom meetings and virtual signings that came along with it. Mortgage clients are now pretty accustomed to conducting their business outside of a brokerage office. But has this experience kept up with clients?

Lee-Ann McEllister, associate director of sales for Western Canada at MCAP, says the mortgage industry needs to step back and reflect on how it deals with customers.

“We now need to think of the balance of technology and emotional intelligence to support our consumer’s expectations that have changed over time,” she says. Ultimately, brokers will need to learn how to build deep trust with clients while harnessing modern technology.

Reconnecting at the conference

This is just a small sampling of the content being presented at the Mortgage Professionals Canada conference.

Those in attendance will also be able to learn more about the latest digital strategies to consider, the ins and outs of prepayment charges, and several panels where industry professionals will share their thoughts on today’s market and its challenges.

One of the biggest highlights, of course, will be the opportunity for professionals to network with their peers and re-establish personal connections that have been missing for the past couple of years.

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