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Benoit Bourque celebrates 10 years at First National

  • May 26, 2022
  • First National Financial LP

Take us back to the beginning of your career at First National.

BB: I started at First National in 2012. Prior to joining, I was a real estate agent for a year and a mortgage broker for three years. I began as an Internal Account Manager. Eight months later, I was promoted to external Account Manager and have been in that role ever since.

What was your first year like?

BB: I was adapting. It took me some time to learn the banking side. Having been a broker for three years, I knew many brokers already. So it was easy to connect with them and get them on board with First National. My transition from mortgage broker to Account Manager was pretty seamless because I took advantage of all of the great training and communications resources that were available.

What was your “I’m in” moment?

BB: When I got promoted to External Account Manager within eight months, I knew I was made for that role. I love meeting new people. I like helping people grow their businesses. My experience as a real estate agent and mortgage broker really helped me. In Quebec at that time, the banks were paying real estate agents for sending in deals. So it was hard for mortgage brokers to get business from real estate agents. I was able to position pre-approvals as an incentive mortgage brokers could use with their real estate agent contacts to secure referrals and business. It was really successful, and everyone’s businesses benefitted.

Describe some milestones in your career.

BB: Transitioning from internal to external Account Manager was a significant milestone for me. When I started in 2012, I brought in $92 million worth of business. I will be ending 2021 with $850 million. That is approximately 10 times growth.

What stamp have you put on the business?

BB: I have gotten creative with broker education. I want my presentations to be informative when it comes to products, but I also want them to be fun. Feedback from brokers is always incredibly positive. They have fun and learn something. They find my approach really refreshing. I also use technology innovatively to engage brokers. Sly Broadcast, which sends messages directly to people’s voicemails, is a great communication tool to inform brokers about promotions. Text messaging is also really effective. I emphasize quick, direct communications with brokers, so they know right away about promotions, procedures and policies.

What are you most proud of in your career?

BB: I’m proud to help brokers grow their businesses. For example, I started working with Helene Potvin in 2015/2016. When I engaged with her, she was sending us $10 million in deals. Over time, we got to know each other well, and I found an Underwriter that was a good fit for her. As our relationship grew, so did her volume with us. In 2021, her deals ended up totaling $25 million.

Any favourite memories?

BB: The national conferences are amazing. They are a great opportunity to share our thoughts with colleagues and learn what Account Managers in other provinces are doing. The speakers and break out groups are always fantastic. Every year, I learn so many things that help me in how I deal with brokers and build my business.

What advice would you share with people growing their careers at First National?

BB: First National is the best thing that will happen to you! It’s a great company that takes care of its employees. As an Account Manager, you build your own schedule. It’s critical to focus on building both professional and personal relationships with brokers.  

Any final thoughts?

BB: I plan to be at First National until I retire. I am very proud to work here. The culture is amazing. And we are really a family. In Quebec, we are small team of six Account Managers. We spend a lot of time together. We meet weekly on Zoom, and when we can, we get together in person as well. Everyone is there to help each other through the ups and downs.