Nobody would argue against 2008 being one of the toughest in recent years
for the mortgage industry, but that didn’t stop the CMA Broker of the Year
finalists from rising to the challenges and coming out strong
T he 12 nominees split between the two
Broker of the Year categories come from
across the country and possess a range of
Cardinal’s passion for sharing tips and
ideas helped her land a monthly radio show
on the local News Talk 980, where she
career backgrounds and accolades. Some have addresses listeners’ mortgage questions on
been in the industry for years, building up topics like refinancing and credit scores. The
status among other brokers, while others who show is unique to Regina and helps Cardinal
are fairly new to the business haven’t let their raise her profile in the community, something
relative inexperience stop them from rising to she also does through advertising and a
the top. website filled with client testimonials.
The following finalists were chosen after “I really like to raise broker awareness
months of research conducted by staff at KMI and let people know the difference between
Publishing & Events (CMP’s publisher). The using a broker and using a bank to get a
CMA judges will look at several elements of mortgage,” says Cardinal, adding that the
the broker’s business when choosing a winner, goal she’s most proud of achieving in 2008 is
from how the broker approaches customer maintaining and growing her presence in
service and generates new business, to what the industry.
business partners and customers have to say Larry Barkley, a mortgage specialist with
about the nominee. Home Loans Canada, secured the first place
One broker from each of the independent spot in CMP’s inaugural Top 50 Brokers list last
and national network categories will be named year and is now nominated for his first CMA.
Mortgage Broker of the Year at the third Barkley is based in Edmonton and joined
annual Canadian Mortgage Awards on April 3, HLC in 1993 after several years in the
taking place at the Liberty Grand in Toronto. banking industry.
After finding out she was a finalist for the
National network finalists CMA Broker of the Year award, Faye Drope
The West rules in the Macquarie Financial says she was taken aback.
Mortgage Broker of the Year (National “I’m shocked and touched – I didn’t think
Network) category, with four of the five anyone would recognize me like this,” says
nominees based in Western Canada. Here’s a Drope, a sub-mortgage broker in Parksville,
look at the brokers whose outstanding work British Columbia.
caught the attention of their industry peers. Drope started her career in the financial
Hailing from the city of Regina, Carrie industry in the 1980s, working as a debt
Cardinal says she’s proud to represent collector and later a loan officer, branch
Saskatchewan at the 2009 Canadian manager, until eventually, a business
Mortgage Awards. development officer for Equifax. She switched
“Saskatchewan is a province that’s been in to the broker field in 1999 and started her
Top: Carrie Cardinal
Middle: Larry Barkley the shadow of other provinces for a long time, company, Sand Dollar Mortgages.
Bottom: Faye Drope but it’s a great example of growth and it’s Looking back on her 10-year career, Drope
developing quickly,” she says. says one of her best decisions as a broker was
Cardinal began her career as a personal joining the Verico network in 2007 because of
banker in 2001, and quickly developed an the support they’ve given her. Although she
interest in mortgages. She became a broker says 2008 was a more difficult year
with the Verico network in 2006. personally, she is looking forward to 2009.
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“I think there’s nothing like a recession
to make you realize you love your job,”
The Home Loans
Steve Brouwer says his short time in the Canada Award for Best
mortgage industry has afforded him many
opportunities, most notably the chance to
Community Service Effort
open his own business, Entrust Mortgage
Services, in Chilliwack, British Columbia. A new category at this year’s Canadian Mortgage
“I am completely honoured to be Awards recognizes the community work of mortgage
nominated for this award,” says Brouwer, professionals who dedicate time and compassion to
who is part of The Mortgage Group’s causes they care about. Here’s a snapshot of this year’s
network. “To be nominated after three- finalists and what they’re doing to make a difference.
and-a-half years in the industry is still Bruce Coleman, a
hard for me to believe.” senior mortgage
After working as a recruiter in broker at Invis in
Vancouver for more than 10 years, Vancouver, founded
Brouwer transferred the many skills he Angels in the Night, a
had picked up on the job to become a charity that provides
mortgage broker. supplies to shelters
“My goal is to create lifetime clients, across the country, in
which means maintaining relationships 2002. Since it began,
with people – getting to know them, their Coleman, along with
family and their personal situations,” says other Invis brokers, volunteers and lender partners involved
Brouwer, who works with both residential in the charity, have collected almost $1.3 million through
Top: Steve Brouwer
Bottom: Greg Williamson and commercial mortgages. He adds that community events like concerts and golf tournaments. The
he thrives on working with more difficult money helps build shelters that house the homeless,
files at Entrust. abused women, children and street youth. “I think we lose
“I never give up on deals,” he says. focus if we don’t continue to give back,” says Coleman.
“Rather, I consider them a challenge. I “The idea of being humble is something that should not be
have a competitive nature, which helps lost on us as an industry and as individuals.”
me be focused and creative on each and
Last year marked the first Coats for Kids coat drive, an
initiative Peter Kinch (of The Peter Kinch Mortgage Team)
Greg Williamson says his ability to
came up with to help underprivileged
build long-term referral sources and tap
children in the lower mainland area
into new opportunities has helped him to
of Vancouver. After advertising the
thrive and grow during his years in the
Coats for Kids donation day in local
media, Kinch and his employees
“There is no ceiling [for opportunities],
stood on the side of the road during
even in an economic downturn,” says
rush hour and collected more than
Williamson, who runs Canada Mortgage
500 coats. “Anything we can do
Direct (part of the Verico network)
today to help the self-esteem of a
in Calgary. Peter Kinch
child builds a better community for
Williamson started in the mortgage
tomorrow,” says Kinch. In addition to the coat drive, Kinch
industry in 1995 as a mortgage agent at
has donated more than $100,000 to Habitat for Humanity
Investors Group, before starting his own
through the royalties of 97 Tips for Canadian Real Estate
business in Regina in 1997 and expanding
Investors, a book he co-authored with Don Campbell.
to Saskatoon in 2000. His entrepreneurial
streak led him to move to Calgary in 2003, Helping those in need in the community is also something
where he operates Canada Mortgage Chris Dopp, owner of Elite Mortgage Group in Collingwood,
Direct in an office with several other Ontario, says is important. For the past seven years, he has
financial professionals. given families in his community Christmas dinners, with a
Last year, Williamson opened the no-questions-asked policy for those who sign up for food.
doors of his business to other mortgage Dopp gets some donations, but pays for most of the more
professionals to learn from his practice. than 200 dinners – which include a seven-pound turkey,
This year he is planning to start a new vegetables, buns, juice and pie – himself. “I have been
coaching and mentoring business for fortunate enough to do well in the industry and I feel this is
brokers. He also has a blog with something small that I can do to help others and make
commentary on the industry and other a difference.”
After entering the mortgage industry five Last year, Butler starred on Rogers TV’s Real
years ago at age 23, Dave Butler of Mortgage Estate show to promote the role of a mortgage
Intelligence in Mississauga is competing broker/agent – something he says allowed him to
among the best brokers in the country at this give back to the industry.
year’s CMAs – and he’s the only nominee “I can sit here and tell you how great I think
from Ontario. I am, but at the end of the day, it doesn’t really
“I truly didn’t think I’d be in this category matter… it’s what your peers think of you,”
until after I’d been doing this for 10 years,” he says.
says Butler, now 29. “I’m shocked, but happy.
It means my hard work has paid off.” Independents from the West
After completing a degree in commerce at There are several familiar faces in the race for the
the University of Toronto, Butler worked as an CMHC Broker of the Year (independent/non-
apprentice at his father’s mortgage business franchise) category, which recognizes individuals
before joining Mortgage Intelligence. In his not associated with national networks.
first year at the brokerage, he won the rookie Twelve years ago, having no previous
of the year award and ranked in the company’s experience in the industry, Dave McNabb
Top 40 producers after his second year. He started Regional Mortgage and has since become
placed 17 on CMP’s Top 50 list last year. a CMP Top 50 broker and a well-respected voice
Butler says he’s overcome several obstacles for the mortgage industry.
in the industry, including being a young “I think it’s great – it’s definitely an honour
mortgage professional working in an area with and a surprise,” says McNabb, who works out Top: Dave Butler
a very high concentration of seasoned brokers. of Edmonton. Bottom: Dave McNabb
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Along with his involvement in the mortgage honour to be recognized among national
industry – McNabb is past president of brokerages – especially, he points out, because
AMBA – he is also active in his community. he keeps a fairly low profile.
In the past seven years he’s started two “It’s absolutely tremendous – I’m very
initiatives to raise money for the Kids Cancer proud to be nominated and I’m proud for my
Care Foundation of Alberta and other local team,” Wardle says, adding in a bit of advice
children’s charities. for success in the mortgage industry. “Pay
To combat a difficult market in the year attention to the small details and growth
ahead, McNabb says he’ll focus on past will come.”
customers and other referrals, as well as Morris Briglio says he feels lucky to have
continue to offer his services, which he points spent many years in a career he loves and
out as one of his biggest strengths. takes his nomination for Broker of the Year as
“A referral from a customer is the greatest a nod to his dedication to the profession.
compliment that we can receive and it is what “It’s certainly a great honour to have been
makes our team successful,” he says. nominated for this award, especially with so
Following jobs at two major Canadian many good mortgage brokers in our industry,”
banks, John Zieman saw growing opportunities says Briglio, who ranked 24 on CMP’s Top 50
in the mortgage industry in the late ‘80s, list last year.
which led him to start Mortgage Depot in The North Vancouver-based Briglio worked
Victoria, British Columbia in 1990. as a branch manager with CIBC for 13 years
Zieman’s company (which began with the before becoming a licensed mortgage broker/
name Equity Centre) has maintained a specialist with the company. In 2006, he
relatively small and tight-knit staff throughout branched out and opened The Mortgage
the years and he says the support shown by Advantage Financial Services, which he now
brokers in his company, both to colleagues and operates with four other brokers.
clients, has made it stand out. Due to his continued success and
“Our style of business is designed to help involvement in the mortgage industry, Briglio
customers make good borrowing choices,” he says he’s passionate about mentoring new
says. “That means providing information, but brokers and sharing some of his tips for
more importantly, taking the time to help the success. He’s also the director of the United
client understand the information and how it Mortgage Group, a network of independent
applies to their personal circumstances.” brokerages in the lower mainland and
With close to 20 years in the business, Vancouver Island.
Zieman says all his new business is direct “I’m one of those fortunate people who can
referral, which also reflects his dedication to honestly say I love my job,” says Briglio. “I
strong client relations. especially enjoy the opportunity to mentor and
Top: John Zieman
Middle: Robert “Kelly” Wardle Along with Zieman’s broker of the year assist new brokers and watch them succeed in
Bottom: Morris Briglio nomination, Mortgage Depot has also been an industry that has been extremely
nominated for a CMA in the Brokerage of the rewarding to me on many levels.”
Year (Independent/Non Franchise) category.
While working in real estate sales for 10 Independents from the East
years, Robert “Kelly” Wardle often became Vince Gaetano enjoyed two big wins at last
frustrated when he saw many of his clients year’s CMAs when he took home Mortgage
struggling to secure financing. With that Broker of the Year (independent/non-
experience in mind, Wardle became a mortgage franchise) and his company,
broker almost five years ago. MonsterMortgage.ca, won the coveted
“My goal is to do the best on every file,” Brokerage of the Year (independent/non-
says Wardle, a residential manager and franchise) prize.
mortgage associate at Bridge Capital in “Last year’s wins put a big skip in our step
Calgary. “I always put customers’ needs first and ended up raising the bar for us
and that’s paramount to my success.” professionally,” says Gaetano, vice president of
Wardle also attributes his success to Monster Mortgage, which has offices in
working with the team at Bridge Capital, Vaughan and Toronto. “Being nominated two
which he calls a “fiercely independent” times in a row is surprising and flattering.”
business that puts emphasis on building strong Gaetano started working in the financial
relationships with lenders. He says it’s an services industry 20 years ago and helped
form MonsterMortgage.ca in 1998. He’s “I’m very pleased and surprised – the
been the resident mortgage expert on awards mean a great deal to me because of
CP24’s Hot Property for the past eight how independent and well-respected CMP is
years, and has also been featured on Global in the industry,” says Moss, manager and
TV, CTV, CBC, as well as other local and partner of Fair Mortgage Solutions, which was
national media outlets. All this added nominated for Independent Brokerage of the
work makes him a prominent figure in the Year at last year’s CMAs. The company’s base
broker community. is in Hamilton and it also has an Oakville
“I believe that the repeat nomination is location that opened last year.
a reflection of the significant time and Moss has been a broker for 10 years,
energy spent trying to elevate the status of starting with CIBC Mortgages and working at
the mortgage brokerage industry and my Invis until 2005, when he started Fair
commitment to properly servicing each of Mortgage Solutions, and later, HSMC, a
my clients,” says Gaetano. private lending company. He says he’s always
Graeme Moss says client interaction open to learning from clients, lenders and
and making a difference in people’s lives is colleagues, always striving to bring about
what he likes most about being a mortgage positive change in the industry.
broker, and being nominated for broker of “An agent or broker can greatly impact a
the year (independent/non-franchise) is a client’s life,” says Moss. “It’s a very important Top: Vince Gaetano
rewarding nod to his hard work. role.” CMP Bottom: Graeme Moss
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