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Banker to Broker – III

In this last of CMT’s three-part series on bankers transitioning to the broker world, we chat with Véronique Sergerie.

Sergerie began her successful career at Desjardins where she was a mortgage rep for three years. Then, about a year ago, she moved to Mortgage Intelligence in Laval, QC, and she’s never looked back. Year-to-date she’s on pace to break $40 million in volume.

These are her thoughts…

On how brokering changed her role with clients:

“At a bank you have to sell one product…Sometimes you have a round peg you’re trying to fit in a square hole. I was a salesperson and not a consultant…Now I can advise customers because I have options to offer them. Comparing products provides more creditability because we (as brokers) appear neutral.”

On how her repeat business changed as a broker:

“I couldn’t do renewals at Desjardins…It was just new customers…The employees’ job was to continue the relationship with the customer (at renewal). My job was just to bring in new customers.”

On the sales burden in her former position:

“We had a scoreboard with how many credit card and life insurance policies you sold…There was a lot of pressure to sell these products…They really encouraged multiple-part mortgages…Those loans were essentially mortgage lines of credit…Even if they were insured it was registered like a mortgage line of credit…a line of credit [the customer] couldn’t use…Everything possible was done to attach the customer to the bank.”

On her referral business:

Personal referrals now come to me directly…I no longer have to split commissions for realtor referrals” (Desjardins has a widely used Realtor referral program).

On contacting clients from her old employer:

“I cannot solicit any of my old clients. But my real clients at Desjardins were the real estate agents, and I can still talk to them.”

On what she misses from not working for a major institution:

“Desjardins was more flexible in terms of underwriting because, as a bank, we had a person in the branch who can say yes or no a file. Each branch can make their own decisions.”

On the benefit of an underwriting hub to a new broker:

Having the Access Desk at Mortgage Intelligence was important to me because sometimes you’d have better rates and options through the desk. If I do one deal a year through MCAP, for example, I have the same advantage as [a broker] sending 30 deals a year. The access desk also helps us present our deals to the lenders and provides good suggestions…It’s like having a mortgage professor on call.”

On the importance of outsourcing payroll and compliance to her brokerage:

“I do big volumes and if I had to do all the administration too, I’d sleep two hours a night. Payroll and compliance was not added value to my business…Anything that’s not added value I need to distribute to someone else.”

Robert McLister, CMT