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Banker to Broker

Income potential, independence and consumer benefit: these are three big reasons why bank reps switch allegiances to become mortgage brokers.

But the changeover isn’t always easy. One brokerage executive (who didn’t want to be named) recently told us, “My experience has been that typically [bank reps] only do a quarter of their bank volume (the first year) because they find the transition tough.”

That may or may not be representative of the entire industry, but suffice it to say, there’s a learning curve to becoming a broker. There’s also the adjustment period that goes along with no longer having a bank’s support, branding and leads.

Some of the country’s most successful ex-bankers-turned-brokers attribute their success, in large part, to the support they got from their brokerage. In this three-part series, we get feedback from three brokers who used to be bankers, starting with Invis’s Diana Lee.

Diana Lee

Diana Lee worked for TD Canada Trust for nine years, starting as a teller in 2003 and moving up to a mortgage specialist from 2007-2012.

In 2012, she became a broker with Invis in Edmonton. By 2013, she was putting up major league numbers ($42 million in production). Here’s her take…

On her feelings about leaving the branch world:

“You get a little nervous leaving the bank. There are the benefits, the pension, the support system and the branding. I did have a little anxiety. At the bank, you feel that all your control is in someone else’s hands.”

On the time it took to catch on as a broker:

“In the first three months I did three million in volume. But after four months things started picking up. For the first few months no one can expect anything but to learn.”

On the two things that make her a successful broker:

  1. “Work ethic…I’m addicted to work.”
  2. “Client relations…I want to be friends with everybody, and I don’t rush clients.”

On her rates when at the bank:

“I felt we were always 0.1 (percentage points) higher than brokers…I was always rate matching but it was always with an ask” (i.e., manager approval).

On how she got the best rates as a new broker:

“I didn’t realize that you have to build your own reputation with lenders…With Invis/MI I had the Access Desk for instant status.” 

On how her compensation changed as a broker:

“At the bank I was getting comped 35 bps on every deal…I was basically giving it away.” (Broker compensation can be up to three times that.)

On her referral volumes since becoming a broker:

“Referrals went up 30%, easily, when I became a broker.”

On how she settled on her current brokerage:

“I had talked to a couple of brokerages and Invis was the right fit. They have full service including payroll…The last thing I wanted to do was track my deals (for payroll processing). Another big one was the team aspect…I’m a team lead so you can negotiate different splits with agents. At some brokerages you cannot create a team under you with (commission) tiers. And then there is marketing support, which is all free…Kelly Neuber is on top of that and puts out great marketing in simple layman terms. Lastly, I liked that the contract was not as restrictive with who owns your database.”

On whether she’d ever go back to being a mortgage specialist at a bank:

“Never…I can’t believe it took me that long to leave.”

Stay tuned for part II of this series on Saturday

Rob McLister, CMT