Like every other industry, the mortgage industry is experiencing changes in the use of technology, and evolving to meet client and partner needs. Brokers are searching for the best ways to collaborate with lenders and customers by finding unique opportunities to leverage modern technology.
Although the mortgage lending industry has always been a profession of uncertainties, companies and loan originators are facing a more unprecedented market than ever.
With a compassionate approach, Leanne Myles is changing the face of the mortgage industry. Leanne is a Senior Mortgage Advisor at the Clinton Wilkins Mortgage Team. Additionally, she has founded the More than Mortgage Brokers Society as a way for all brokers to work together towards a common fundraising goal.
A source of inspiration
Clinton Wilkins, owner of the Clinton Wilkins Mortgage Team and a top producer in the industry, has been a big source of encouragement for Leanne. For the past three years, he has been helping her take her career and passions to the next level, and she has never looked back. While emphasizing teamwork, Leanne says, “Each one of us on the team has a specialty. I know home equity lines and alternative business really well, Alex can do construction, Clinton has high net worth clients, and Ashley will take on tougher deals. We all have our niche and because there are four of us focusing on different specialties, we serve the greater population.”
Battling for stability during a pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted many fields in different ways, including the mortgage and finance industry. According to Leanne, COVID-19 has actually increased the need for financing. People are on the move, working from home, and making big changes to their lives, all because they can. She says at the Clinton Wilkins Mortgage Team, it took about one week to go completely virtual. The company placed an emphasis on growing the team and expanding their locations to serve as many people in the community as possible. The team has been offering online services to meet pandemic restrictions, while still increasing productivity and efficiency for clients.
Due in part to the pandemic and rising housing prices, this industry is already experiencing its next big challenge, which is capacity. Leanne says, “If our lenders, appraisers and partners don’t hire soon, we will not be able to provide efficient service to our customers. At Team Clinton, we hired before this happened and got ahead of the curve.”
Learning from walking in clients’ shoes
Leanne has a deep passion for relating to her clients. She has experience with major life events such as marriage, children, divorce, bankruptcy, death, and illness. Her husband was diagnosed with heart failure in 2011, shortly after they bought their own home. Leanne says these experiences have allowed her to learn a lot about people. These challenges helped her better understand the difficulties some borrowers face in their personal lives, and offer compassionate guidance through the mortgage process. She states, “If you have never been through a life event that has affected your credit, you can’t even imagine what that is like.”
Making people happy defines a positive work culture
“Having a positive environment is everything. If you don’t keep the people happy you don’t get the production,” says Leanne. At the Clinton Wilkins Mortgage Team, the group has a manager who ensures everyone is on task and happy. In May, the team had a paid day off to encourage a work-life balance, and to acknowledge the need to take a break and step back.
Backing women sports in the locality
Leanne is an avid supporter of her local junior B team. Her husband’s grandmother played hockey in 1913, and now the couple wants to ensure there is always hockey for kids to watch here. Wishing to give back to her community, this year Leanne became a hockey team sponsor. As a team, Clinton sponsors the local Canadian Premiere Soccer league, and Leanne sponsors the local ladies team. Leanne says, “This year as well, I have decided that since COVID is doing its thing, I am throwing a socially distanced drive-through prom. While I have to get the Chief Medical Officer to approve it, we have it set for late June with a backup date for July.”
Giving back to the community
When it comes to giving back to the community, Leanne doesn’t shy away. As part of her efforts to advance the mortgage brokering profession, she served as Director for Nova Scotia with the Canadian Mortgage Brokers’ Association Board of Directors, Atlantic Division in 2017. Her most recent charitable work involved paying mortgages for sick people, so they have one less thing to worry about while undergoing treatment for their health through the More than Mortgage Brokers Society.
Flexibility in financial norms
Often, credit or income issues can prevent a person from being added to a deal, usually in the case of married couples. Leanne says, “I would love to see a day when couples can enjoy ownership together without the banks saying yes or no.” If a person’s spouse dies but they are not on the title for their home, for example, Leanne believes this creates huge challenges for the person left behind. She believes financial institutions should improve their policies for these situations to prevent extra difficulties and barriers for surviving spouses.
Support of 4300 Strong
Leanne advises emerging women entrepreneurs who are stepping into the financial and brokerage industry to not only lean on the broker, but also on the Women in the Mortgage Industry (#wimi). “We are 4300 strong and willing to help you in any way we can,” says Leanne.
Adding more support to get ahead
Looking ahead, Leanne says,“Every single day is an opportunity to learn. With over 600 transactions happening in our offices every year, we are able to see what is possible in the work of the team.” The company has big plans, and Leanne personally wants to hit a target of 80 million in mortgage volume for 2021.
Clinton Wilkins also wants to get ahead by adding more professional brokers to the team. “It’s not necessary for them to be a huge producer. It’s important that their personality and principles fit with our group. We aim to be the largest producing brokerage with the best customer service, and I can tell you we are getting there,” Leanne says.