I want to start by welcoming you to my blog. This is my first entry and there is so much I want to share, I almost don’t know where to start!
I guess the best place to start is to let you know a little bit about me and then what you can expect from this blog.
I have been in the banking industry since 1994, starting my career with Canada Trust. I worked at the branch level while I was attending university. My degree is a double honor Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Law & Society. After graduation, I moved to the Investment Management & Wealth Services department of the company. While I enjoyed those jobs, I knew I wouldn’t enjoy it for long.
I found my calling when I was hired to join the mortgage sales force in July 1997. I remember applying for that job with such enthusiasm based on the job description. Apparently, the job posting was posted in the newspaper as well. Over 2,500 people applied to that posting and only 30 people got hired. I had to write an aptitude test and had 3 separate interviews, each of them lasting approx 2hrs long. I remember walking out of one interview exhausted because it was so intense.
The 30 of us that were hired were all people who had little to no experience with mortgages, but we all scored quite high with sales skills. Canada Trust wanted to expand their sales force with people who have the skill-set to provide mortgages but wanted people with no previous training or knowledge of mortgages. They wanted to train us to become specialists…and that’s exactly what they did! We were all hired into a six month training program. The first 3 months were in-class sessions. Class was Monday to Friday from 9 am to 5 pm, with two 15 minute breaks and half hour lunch. Every Friday there was test on the material that was learned that week. The minimum grade to pass was 85%. And if anyone got less than 85% twice over the 3 month period, then those people were fired from the company. You can only imagine the material learned in those 3 months!
The next 3 months was field experience. We basically went through every step that a mortgage file can go through. I shadowed for two weeks with an existing mortgage sales force mortgage specialist. I experienced the daily in’s & out’s of a mobile rep. I got to see how she set up her home office, how she met with referral sources and even got to do client appointments. I then spent 3 weeks working with the Bank underwriters. I got to see firsthand what underwriters look for when reviewing a mortgage file. I quickly learned that every real deal is unique and just one factor can make or break a deal being approved. For two weeks, I got to underwrite files myself and write detailed notes why I thought the deal should be approved or declined. I got to sit with an underwriter who reviewed my files and would critique my work – this experience was so valuable! Once a file was approved, I had to verify all the documents in the file before the deal funded– verify downpayment documents, call employers to verify employment, look out for fraudulent paper, etc. I then moved on to work for a week in the appraisal department. This part was a lot of fun. I got to go out and visit houses with appraisers, learn what they look out for and then go back to the office and write up the appraisal report. The not-so-fun part was driving to London, Ontario every day for a week when we went to work in the in-house legal department. Here is where we learned the details of what is required to ensure that a mortgage or line of credit is registered against title properly. There are so many things that can delay a closing or registration if things are not done properly before-hand (and they happened all the time!) The final part was working at the branch level to review how the branch staff was supposed to handle the signing of documents with clients when they went to their local branch. This is where I learned that not all staff members have the same knowledge and experience when serving clients.
Getting a mortgage is not as easy as some people think. There are so many steps that one file goes through before a mortgage gets registered. A delay in any aspect of a file can postpone a deal to close by a week…and then we wonder why a file took over a month to close!
By the end of the six months, there were only 27 of us that completed the program. If we weren’t considered specialists by the end of this six-month training, I don’t know what else we could have been. Looking back 13 years later, most of us are still in the mortgage business in some capacity or another, which speaks great volumes to those who hired us.
So that’s a bit about me and how I got started in this business. Now, what can you expect from this blog: well, to start, I want to try to keep my followers informed with the most up-to-date information. I expect to comment on articles, explain how mortgage products differ and share some of my experiences with real estate and mortgages. As time passes, I expect to cover a lot of material that could interest all types of different people.
If there is anything specific you’d like me to discuss or touch on, please feel free to drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org