Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Grateful for my time with MPC

By Mark Kerzner, President, TMG The Mortgage Group

I believe in the power of reflection – looking back as objectively as possible to evaluate an outcome and take the lessons from past experiences so they can be applied to the future.  As I conclude my time as Director of Ontario, and Executive Member of the Board of Directors of Mortgage Professionals Canada – it is time for just such a reflection.

 When I ran for the Board of Directors of CAAMP (now Mortgage Professionals Canada) in 2014 I felt as though our industry was splintering. To me, there was a divide (brokers vs lenders/suppliers).  This is what I wrote then as part of my campaign:

It seems there has been considerable chatter lately about the role of CAAMP, regional associations and the overlap between them. Questions around the need for a national association coupled with discussions about a brokers only association have also been on the table. This is healthy dialogue and I am pleased to see the level of engagement about how we are being represented in our industry.

To that end, I would like to take this opportunity to tell you the three key reasons why I continue to advocate for CAAMP:

1.     I welcome the fact that our association is inclusive of brokers, lenders and suppliers alike. I feel that mix actually makes our voice stronger with the folks we are lobbying in Ottawa.
2.     The fact that we share a board of directors to oversee this national association helps unify our day-to-day business interests.
3.     The majority of members are aligned in seeking a very strong and growing broker channel in Canada. 

I went on to say:

CAAMP has to be more responsive and approachable. It has to advocate the broker channel while improving its events and symposiums.  More than anything, CAAMP has to remain the pre-eminent source to government and the media with respect to all-things-mortgages.

Four years later I am very proud of what we have accomplished but wish we could have done more.

Time is often marked through events and  there has been no shortage of industry benchmarks these past four years.

No one really could have predicted the extent and the resulting magnitude of the regulatory changes introduced starting in the Fall of 2016. Those changes came on the heels of a newly elected Federal Government and new staffing leadership at the Association.

I feel honoured that I have represented our members with Government, Policy Makers and Regulators. I am grateful to the Board volunteers who have given selflessly of their time and in doing so set aside personal considerations for the betterment of the Association and membership as a whole.

I believe that your Association is the pre-eminent source of information to Government and Regulators of all things mortgage related.  Our Association has taken great strides in improving events and overall value to members.

The national Mortgage Forum conference has been a resounding success the last few years and I suspect this year will be no different.

We have brought regional symposiums to new markets, delivered member updates in smaller communities, introduced additional training days and held very successful National and Provincial Hill Days.

In Alberta we have combined efforts to bring to our members and sponsors inclusive and valuable events with streamlined efforts and cost savings.  We have also collaborated and coordinated GR and advocacy efforts.

In Quebec we have grown membership to record levels and have had an average of 450 brokers attend the regional symposium in the last three years.

I am proud of what we are accomplishing – and because of these accomplishments, I am confident we can do more. To do so we need to encourage those on the sidelines to join. The value to your industry is already evident. To have a not-for-profit, industry voice that advocates for brokers is vital. Whether you are a member or not, you benefit from that voice.

The $255 annual membership fee is a tax deduction leaving the net out of pocket cost even less. Even if you see no value in the networking events, conferences, education, surveys, communications, etc… voices do matter. To powerfully advocate on your behalf with Ottawa, the provinces, the regulators and other industry associations we need to count you among us. Please consider joining – not because of the value you seek (which there is much) but because of what you can give back to your industry.

I have much faith in the leadership of the staff and the Board going forward. The Association is in very strong and capable hands. I wish them continued success.

A few final remarks:

Thank you Ron Swift and Jim Murphy for encouraging me to run.

Thank you Michael Ellenzweig, Hali Standlund, Boris Bozic and Paul Grewal for your mentorship over the years. Your respect of the brokerage channel and dedication to the Association set the bar very high for me to strive towards.

Thank you to Dan Putnam, Jared Dreyer and Lionel Lewko for leading the Board during my terms and for providing me an opportunity to contribute along the way.

Thank you to Claude Girard, Elaine Taylor, Mike Wolfe, Michael Cameron for serving alongside me on the Executive. I appreciate the discussion and debates we had but more than anything admire your leadership and commitment to the industry. 

Thank you to Cara Shulman for making sure the face of the Association is reflected in a professional and meaningful way.

Samir Asusa – thank you! Your leadership during the transition of CEOs was truly remarkable. You are smart, straightforward and empathetic. I feel fortunate to have had this time to work together.

One of the truly remarkable story lines of our industry these past few years has been Paul Taylor. Having come from a completely different industry Paul has led the Association through three different Boards, enhanced focus on Government Relations, and provided calming leadership to members across the country. He is a wonderful colleague and friend.

Thank you to all the Board members and dedicated staff I have had the pleasure of serving with over the past 4 years.

Thank you to my wonderful, supportive and inspiring wife and family. Your sacrifices these past few years allowed me an opportunity to follow my passion.

One last thank you – to my work family at TMG The Mortgage Group. You inspire me every day to give back. Your strength and leadership enabled me to participate in the Association fully. I feel fortunate to work alongside you.

One past reflection:
I remember the first CIMBL (predecessor of CAAMP) conference I attended nearly 20 years ago. As a newly minted mortgage executive I recall the excitement, enthusiasm and sense of learning I felt.  I knew at that moment that this was a very special industry and an association I looked up to. It was a place where seasoned mortgage professionals would come together, share best practices and chart a course for the future.

I continue to feel that same excitement and enthusiasm today.

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