From time to time, we’ll be profiling highly successful broker teams across the country. The goal is to see what makes them tick and get their sense for where the industry is headed.
One team that’s had tremendous success the past few years is Mortgage Brokers Ottawa (MBO). MBO’s team of 40+ agents is tracking to top $700 million in volume this year. That puts them probably in the top five broker teams in the country.
We chatted with Michael Hapke recently for a glance into MBO’s business. Mike was an 18-year bank veteran and branch manager who is now a Managing Partner at MBO, along with Jeff Cody, Frank Napolitano, and York Polk.
On MBO’s biggest competitors…
“Because of our size and advertising we're competing against the banks, not other brokers. The way we see it, other brokers help raise the profile of the brokerage industry as a whole and that’s a good thing.”
On why MBO chose Mortgage Centre…
(MBO moved part of their business to Mortgage Centre earlier this month. Prior to that it was fully independent, and before that it was a founding broker partner with a national brokerage.)
“We looked at many different brokerage models to see what was out there. Nothing really appealed to us or offered us any further competitive advantage. Staying independent was fine with us. In the end, we asked ourselves, ‘How do I match the banks more often and get more products, other than being part of a traditional bank?’ There was no one that had anything to offer us in this respect other than Mortgage Centre Canada. MCC gives us access to proprietary products, including CIBC branch products like the cash-back switch, 1-year construction rate hold, credit lines in second position, etc.”
On MBO’s volume target…
“MBO’s annual goal is $1 billion in funded volume by 2011. We use a centralized underwriting model to aggregate volume and do our best to hit top tier with as many lenders as possible. Sometimes we have two submission agents per lender. Among other things, this strategy sometimes helps us maximize compensation and lender status.
On MBO’s promotion strategy…
“We do a lot of TV, radio, and wrapped vehicles…not a lot of print though. Our main focus has been on building a strong SEO (search engine optimization) program. We’re typically ranked #1 for our keywords.”
On MBO’s Internet strategy…
“Our plan is to go cross-country and we’ll be launching a national website in the near future. At the same time, we’ve realized we don’t want to manage more people. Our model is essentially to optimize websites with generic local domain names and then hand off leads to our partner brokers who are licensed in that province. We have hundreds of domain names reserved for this purpose.”
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