Broker Stories: Ryan La Haye, Director/Mortgage Broker, RLH – Agence Hypothécaire Planiprêt
“Your success is my success. Thank you for holding our hand, being patient and supporting us even when we felt no-one else would.”
Ryan La Haye started in the industry in 2006 with a company then known as Home Loans Canada. In 2010, he joined Planiprêt (Mortgage Planners). Since joining, he has grown his team from himself and assistant to three full-time staff and 12 brokers, generating $250 million in volume. Ryan’s business focuses primarily on first-time buyers, financial planning and referrals from existing clients. His sales approach centres on education and added value, helping clients to structure their financial life in a way that is tax/debt efficient.
Ryan shares his perspectives on what he views as the most significant changes in the industry, what has contributed to First National’s longevity and what he values most about his relationship with First National.
What are the most significant changes that you’ve seen in the industry during the course of your career?
RLH: I’ve been on an interesting path since 2010. The past two years have certainly been the most challenging. Not in the sense of volume or getting business. It has become more difficult to place mortgages. The portfolio insurance and stress test changes have affected us. Previously, we could present clients with options. That’s a bit harder now.
I also sell based on the premise that condition-based mortgages are more valuable than rate-based mortgages. It’s really a matter of questioning the point where the cost outweighs the benefit. Most people think that they won’t ever be in a situation where penalties will affect them. However, paying a little bit more up front is worth avoiding steep penalties in the event of unforeseen or unplanned events.
During this time of market change, how has First National supported you and your clients?
RLH: The end-to-end service remains an impressive strength. I can submit a deal to another financial institution, and it can take up to 192 business hours before someone reviews it. I’m still experiencing 24-hour turnaround from First National.
Quebec has some unique parameters. Clients can’t waive financing conditions here. For underwriting, all documents need to be submitted and all adjudication needs to be done up front. Timing has to be aggressive because delays can mean that a client loses a house. With First National, we never worry about delays. It’s a huge stress relief for us.
For high volume brokers like us, we need to do a lot of mortgages to stay competitive. Quick response from our lender helps us achieve that objective. If we’re waiting, we’re spending precious time dealing with administration and process instead of using that time to get business or deliver value for our existing clients.
First National is celebrating 30 years in 2018, which is a significant milestone. Why do you think that First National has been able to endure, grow and succeed?
RLH: There is a stability that you know you will get with First National. The staff is amazing, and they stick around. There isn’t a huge amount of turnover, which for us creates a necessary level of certainty. When we submit a file, we know what to expect. That stability and certainty reduces our stress and elevates our confidence when dealing with clients.
In the past 30 years, how has First National supported and contributed to the growth of the mortgage broker channel?
RLH: First National has contributed substantially to the channel. The company only generates business from brokers. We need each other to exist. First National doesn’t compete with us. Its mandate is to support us and helps us grow our industry and businesses.
I also really appreciate how much First National invests in helping us develop as professionals. Before I came to Planiprêt, I was trained to approach mortgages based on rate. But my mindset has changed. I understand how mortgages can be approached in a different way, thinking beyond rate. Looking at the fiscal structures of mortgages revolutionized how I sell them. Now, I approach sales as an opportunity to educate and enlighten clients about debt and debt management that isn’t necessarily cost oriented. With First National’s products, I can back up my philosophy and advocacy with tangible solutions.
When did you start working with First National and why did you continue to build the relationship?
RLH: I began working with First National in 2010 when I moved to Planiprêt. As I started to learn more about conditions and conditions-based analysis, I tried a few deals with First National, and they went really well. Then, I started working with the most incredible underwriter who really enabled me to grow my business. In one year, I increased my volume 10x. I think I ended up funding $25 million with First National that year. It was an amazing experience for me because I gained insight into the best fit for me in terms of underwriting. Now, if there is turnover in my First National underwriting team, I make sure to advocate for that type of personality.
How has First National gone beyond service for you and your clients in the years that you’ve worked together?
RLH: I can always count on the personal touch. When I need something that falls outside of the norm, the specialists at First National always go the extra mile to get the deal done. For example, when we first started working with First National, Rene Allard went to bat for me with a real estate agent. I was getting some push back on final approval letters because he wasn’t used to the structure of them. Rene called the agent, and walked him through the letter, explained why it was credible and viable.
Generally, if the deal makes sense, First National finds a way to make it happen. For me, it is most rewarding when a client is satisfied and secures the home he or she wants. First National facilitates that for my clients on my behalf.
What do you value most about your relationship with First National?
RLH: I’m not a formal guy. My relationship with everyone at First National is very friendly. We are like a big extended family. When I call my underwriter, BDM or John Fucale, Director of Sales, we speak as friends. And it’s pleasant to work with friends and people you truly care about every day.
I really appreciate how much First National constantly strives to stay competitive. I have full faith that I’m providing my clients with the best solutions and that I have the best products and tools available to me to help me grow my business.