While we all commit to positivity and optimism about the industry, there is no disputing that we’ve come through some fairly volatile times. Most brokers had to ask themselves hard questions and dig deep to transform what could have been considered uncomfortable change into opportunity.
Borrowers were aware of the volatility and change. But instead of accommodating or recoiling, they remained firm in their expectations. In fact, their expectations and needs intensified. As ambiguity surrounded them, their brokers became the beacons of certainty, assurance and confidence.
So how did brokers do it? How did they stay consistent yet evolve enough to keep pace with a changing market? Brokers also remained firm in their expectations and demands. They sought out evolving solutions, technology and processes that allowed them to adapt yet remain predictable and productive for clients.
The keys to consistency
We wanted to understand what matters most to brokers as they aimed to adapt without sacrificing consistent service. This is what we learned:
- New, competitive products
- Product innovation that delivers added value for borrowers and positions brokers favourably for growth and deeper market penetration
- Keep pace with the diversity of borrowers
- A forward thinking mentality
- Willingness to evolve while understanding the importance of consistency
- A commitment to “survive and thrive”
- The ability to lend in any market condition
- Advanced technology that provides deal insight, information and ongoing knowledge
- Having the ability to always tell clients what’s next
- Client technology that enhances their mortgage experience
Adaptation and evolution: how First National changes so brokers can remain a consistent source of advice, solutions and options
We made a firm commitment to brokers to always be our best for them, so they can always be their best for clients. In a dynamic market, we feel that it is our responsibility to do the heavy lifting on adapting and evolving, so brokers have what they need to pivot and adjust in a measured way while delivering predictable service.
How do we do that? We innovate with our products, so brokers can service the widest range of borrowers possible. We constantly enhance our broker and borrower technology solutions, so they remain cutting edge and at the forefront of the industry. And we listen to brokers, learn from their experiences and incorporate their feedback.
- Product innovation: It is critical to offer the right products at the right time. Our re-introduction of Excalibur is a great example. As the profile of borrowers continues to change, brokers need flexibility so they can further penetrate the market and diversify their customer base. Many brokers told us that Excalibur was a welcome re-addition to the marketplace because it gave them options to service more borrowers and keep them in the First National family.
- Technology enhancements: Brokers have always recognized Merlin, our broker portal, as the standard for the industry. They appreciate having access to the status of a deal at any given time, and at each stage of the process. We know that brokers rely on Merlin to stay informed and educated, so they can communicate consistently and transparently with clients. It is always our goal to add to Merlin’s capabilities – whether it is introducing the mobile app, allowing brokers to connect directly with underwriters within the system or tweaking certain functions to improve ease of use.
- Broker feedback: Broker experiences are important to us. When they communicate what they need, we can deliver targeted solutions and capabilities that help them be their best. We maintain a constant willingness to evolve, find new and better ways of doing things, hire and train the right resources, reinvest in the company and build industry partnerships. The strategic decisions that we make incorporate what works and does not work for brokers and their clients.
One of the best compliments that we received from a broker was so simple yet so profound. He said, “it’s a lot harder to be consistent and evolving, but First National does that. That’s what I find amazing about the company.” Adaptation and evolution is one of the pillars of how we help brokers be their best. They can remain confident that we are keeping a pulse on the market, figuring out the best ways to evolve and making the strategic changes necessary to enable them to keep pace with change while still meeting their clients’ service expectations reliably and predictably.