Broker Stories: Wayne Sudsbury, President, and Bill Eves, Vice President, Homeguard Funding Ltd.
“Congratulations Stephen and Moray on First National’s 30-year milestone. Homeguard has been there with you every step of the way. We have worked hard on our relationship to garner trust and mutual respect for one another. We have appreciated working with you during the past 30 years and look forward to the next 30 years, as the next generation takes over the brokerage.”
Established in 1983, Homeguard Funding is a family-owned mortgage brokerage that just celebrated its 35th anniversary. When Wayne and Bill founded the brokerage, they wanted to service South Central Ontario primarily. Their focus is mainly on residential purchases and refinancing. Client relationships are long term, with second and third generations now coming to Homeguard for residential mortgages. As Wayne and Bill look to the twilight of their careers, Wayne’s two sons, who have been brokers for the past 15 years, are helping to keep the brokerage current with technology and state of the art systems. But while they are adapting to change, Wayne and Bill maintain the brokerage’s focus on doing the best job for clients at a fair cost to build trust and generate referrals.
Wayne and Bill share their perspectives on what they view as the most significant changes in the industry, what has contributed to First National’s longevity and what they value most about their relationship with First National.
What are the most significant changes that you’ve seen in the industry during the course of your career?
BE: There has been an obvious shift from hands on operations to technology. When we started out, we hand wrote carbon paper applications, dealt with credit bureaus, drove down to Toronto four times per week taking deals to lenders and relied on 30-day approvals. In the digital world, the whole process has sped up significantly, especially for approvals.
During this time of market change, how has First National supported you and your clients?
WS: First National has always remained competitive in the market, with special programs that are superior to other lenders. The company has maintained nimble business practices and an ability to adapt to changes quickly by introducing products that we can sell in today’s marketplace. Consistency of people and programs has also made a big difference. We appreciate the stress-free closings and the fact that First National looks after our clients. It’s not just about transactions. People really matter.
BE: With First National, you always know where you stand. We don’t always get a yes, but at least we understand the why of the no. Document requirements are reasonable and in line with the deal. And we never get last minute requests for a piece of paper that we were never informed about. First National’s support makes it easier for us to represent 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?
BE: First National is fair and consistent. The company doesn’t have highs and lows. The service is excellent. Leadership is sound, and the company remains innovative in its mortgage marketing, introducing new products in a timely manner. Reinitiating Excalibur is a great example. Our First National team tries to make deals work, but not at the expense of quality, which is reflected in the company’s low arrears.
WS: First National has always been a forerunner in the Canadian mortgage industry for service and technology. Stephen and Moray have made sure that the company has remained ahead of the game. Their teams and their people – many of whom have been with the company since the start – are some of the best in the industry. We have a 30-year relationship with Stephen and Moray and many of the people that work for them. There is a fundamental trust there. We know that we are getting quality answers and the best support for our clients.
In the past 30 years, how has First National supported and contributed to the growth of the mortgage broker channel?
WS: First National attends all major industry events across the country, providing sponsorship and education and setting up a booth. The company also provides speakers and MCs for industry functions.
When did you start working with First National and why did you continue to build the relationship?
BE: We’ve been working with First National for close to 30 years. In fact, we celebrated the 25th anniversary with the team down south. First National grows on you. Stephen and Moray and many others have become friends. We aim to give First National first chance on deals when it’s possible because we feel that the company has earned it with quick response, experience and professionalism.
WS: Our business volume has grown with First National during the past 15 years. Our BDM, Alex Bruce, is responsible, on the ball and appeals to common sense and logic. It’s a very connected, engaged relationship. Bill and I are getting long in the tooth. Stress-free closings are good for our blood pressure and health.
How has First National gone beyond service for you and your clients in the years that you’ve worked together?
BE: When we have a fundraising or charity event, First National is always there. In fact, the company was our lead sponsor for our 35th anniversary. We get invited to events and presented with opportunities to further our education. Alex Bruce is our friend, not just our BDM.
WS: The Wizard program is a huge bonus. We achieve wizard status every year. Must be all of those stress-free closings.
What do you value most about your relationship with First National?
WS: We deal with straightforward, solid, honest people who offer direct answers to our questions. Our clients consistently provide positive feedback about after-sales service, the Home Warranty program, pre-payments and payment adjustments. That level of service puts us in the front seat when it comes to the referrals that are the foundation of our business.
BE: There is no waffling and no surprises with First National, whether we’re dealing with penalties, paperwork or client experience.