One-on-One with First National’s Stephen Smith

First National LPCanada’s largest non-bank lender, First National, got its start 25 years ago from this past Sunday.

Stephen Smith, Co-founder and President, recently spoke with CMT about First National’s dramatic growth and the factors behind its success.

Stephen SmithHe also touched on the vital role of mortgage securitization, the likelihood of seeing Prime minus 0.90% variable rates again, and the future of non-deposit-taking lenders in a market dominated by banks.

In addition to his role at First National, Mr. Smith is chairman and part owner of mortgage insurer Canada Guaranty.

Along with his long-time business partner Moray Tawse, each of them own 24 million shares in First National Financial Corporation. That easily makes them among the most successful individual entrepreneurs in the Canadian mortgage market.

CMT’s exclusive one-on-one with Stephen Smith follows here…


Kevin O’Leary on O’Leary Mortgages

kevin_olearyCanada’s most candid business personality has a strong view about what’s wrong with mortgages. It’s so strong that he decided to start his own mortgage company.

On Friday, I spoke with CBC commentator, multi-millionaire, Dragon and Shark, Kevin O’Leary. I asked him what makes his new “O’Leary Mortgages” so unique. He outlined a two-pronged strategy: to add transparency to the mortgage process and to help Canadians pay down their biggest debt faster.

Kevin has been scoping out the mortgage business for almost two years. He was kind enough to share his mortgage philosophy and business plan with CMT in his first interview about O’Leary Mortgages.


Genworth’s Brian Hurley on First-Time Buyers & Default Risk

Brian-Hurley-GenworthWe recently had an illuminating chat with Genworth Financial Canada Chairman & CEO Brian Hurley. Topics of conversation included first-time homebuyers, housing risk and causes of default.

We began with first-time buyers, which account for a large slice of the market. In fact, they comprise a veritable army of buyers, one that’s vital to the health of residential real estate.

Hurley went on to share some noteworthy points about mortgage defaults. For example, he noted that default frequency tends to correlate most closely with unemployment. However, the number one factor that affects an insurer’s default losses is when home prices drop more than expected. That doesn’t necessarily cause the frequency of claims to skyrocket, but it does cause the size of claims to balloon, and that can present a problem.

Hurley explains the above and more in the comments that follow…


Top Teams – Origin Mortgages

Broker-Teams For the country’s largest mortgage teams, switching to a new brokerage and/or teaming up with a new broker network is no small decision. But it can yield new opportunities.

As part of a periodic series, CMT features short profiles on $100 million+ broker groups that have decided to make a switch.

This week’s featured team is Origin Mortgages, one of the west coast’s leading broker groups by volume.


One-on-One with Canada Guaranty’s Andy Charles

Canada-guarantyMortgage default insurer Canada Guaranty is a Canadian turnaround story, and it’s starting to get mainstream attention. (This Globe & Mail story is one example.)

Last week, we had a good chat with its president and chief executive officer, Andy Charles. Andy spoke candidly about:

  • Why lenders send business to Canada Guaranty
  • The impact of CMHC’s pullback from the bulk insurance market, and
  • How investors should view Canada Guaranty compared to its competitors.

That interview follows here…


One-on-One with Scotiabank’s David Stafford

David Stafford-ScotiabankAs a man who oversees products and marketing at Scotiabank’s real estate lending division, David Stafford is well-placed to monitor shifting market trends.

In the latest edition of CMT’s One-on-One series, David graciously speaks with us about rate competition, the purpose of posted rates, and the Internet’s impact on mortgage customers—among other things.

Of particular interest is David’s explanation of the value that Scotiabank places in its relationship with mortgage planners. Scotiabank is the #1 lender in the broker channel, and a tremendous supporter of it. For the first time, we get a full grasp of why brokers are so vital to Scotiabank’s business model.

Here is that interview…


One-on-One with Pacific Mortgage Group’s Ron Swift

Ron-SwiftPacific Mortgage Group (PMG) CEO, Ron Swift, oversees one of two operations in the mortgage industry whereby the same company owns both a brokerage and a CMHC-approved lender. (CIBC is the other, via its ownership of Mortgage Centre.)

As a result, Ron is uniquely positioned to see things from both a lender’s perspective and a broker’s standpoint. That, and his two decades of industry experience, made us eager to get his take on how he sees our industry evolving.

We asked Ron about topics ranging from consumer loyalty to lenders to the ability of non-bank lenders to compete in the conventional mortgage market.


More on BMO’s Low-Rate Mortgage

BMO launched its Low-Rate mortgage on March 2, 2010 and no other bank has routinely advertised rates as low on a 5-year term.

That makes this product a visible differentiator for the country’s fourth largest bank and, as a result, clip_image002Frank Techar, BMO’s President and Chief Executive Officer, Personal and Commercial Banking Canada, says BMO continues to see strong demand for it.

“The reaction from Canadians to this mortgage has been fantastic,” he told CMT.

“Over the past two years, we have built a portfolio of $6 billion in low-rate mortgages…and we expect demand to remain strong.”


One-on-One with MonCana Bank’s James Clayton

Moncana-logoWith the official arrival of Canada’s newest bank, MonCana Bank of Canada, we went to President, James Clayton, for a rundown of how it will do business and what it’ll offer consumers.

Clayton graciously sat down with CMT to explain the Calgary-based bank’s dedication to the brokerage industry, its product types and its future product plans. Clayton also offered up his thoughts on the importance of rates vs. a greater package.

One thing that caught our attention is that MonCana will offer 40-year amortizations on conventional mortgages, a rarity these days.