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  • Writer's pictureScott Peckford

Year 2 Overview - Aug 2023




We are on a quest to transform the mortgage industry.


We believe there needs to be more transparency which is one of the reasons why we decided to share a monthly report on what we have learned, what worked and what didn’t, and what’s next in our plans to grow a Billion Dollar Brokerage.


We hope you find a few useful ideas and tidbits to help you in growing your mortgage business.


Welcome to August 2023 (Year 2)


Brokerage Stats


Production Since August 1, 2023

Total Volume: $715,312,384

Total Units: 1624


July Production

Volume: $95,501,857

Files funded: 214

July Agent Stats

Rookies: 123

Pros: 85

Total: 209


2 year Comparison

Note: BRX launched on August 1, 2021, and we track our results based on our launch date, not by calendar year.


Wow. What a crazy ride this past year has been! Our total volume was up by 243%, and funded files increased by 268%.


Even in this challenging market, we doubled the number of rookie agents who funded 10+ files. I think this is a testament to the type of agent we attract, and to our amazing underwriters and coaches.


The total rookie volume was down by about 20%, compared to our previous year. However, considering that the overall market was down by 30% to 40%, and that rookies generally do not have a database of clients, I am quite happy with that result.


I personally believe that rookies who enter this market and find a way to grind out success will be the future giants of our industry.


A tough market builds tough competitors.



 

Rookie Program Stats


I also did some analysis on the results of the rookie program since we launched it. We are currently doing a rebuild that I will share more about in a future blog post.


Total number of Rookies who have funded 1+ files – 117

Total number of Rookies who have funded 3+ files – 76

Total number of Rookies who have funded 10+ files – 27 (Grads)

Total number of files funded by Rookies and Grads – 1,007


The Pareto Principle states that 80% of results come from 20% of effort. This is also true of the Rookie Program. Of the 117 agents who have funded 1+ mortgages, 23% of them, or 27, to be exact, have funded 10+ mortgages.


Also, of the 1,007 mortgages funded by Rookies and Grads, 709 of them were funded by the 27 grads. Which is 70.4%.


It’s not 80/20, but it’s dang close.


After coaching for six years, I have come to realize that I can’t tell who will be in the top 20%. People will fool you.


Some agents seem to have all the advantages and can talk a good game, but they never get their business off the ground.


Meanwhile, other agents, who seem to have everything going against them and have practically no network, will significantly outperform the advantaged agents.


The two characteristics that most of the top 20% seem to have are decisiveness and competitiveness.


Decisiveness is the willingness to take action, even when you don’t have it all figured out. And when you are a rookie agent, there is a lot that you haven’t yet figured out.


The agents who are most successful have a bias toward action. The agents who struggle the most are the ones who believe they need to have it all figured out first.


I call it “when/ then” thinking.


They erroneously believe that, when they know everything, then they will start doing the more challenging sales activities.


The reality is that there is always more to learn, and as soon as you learn it, it changes anyway.


The one thing you can control is your willingness to take action despite not having all the answers.


Learning to be a successful mortgage agent is like learning to drive a car—you need to understand the rules of the road, but you can score 99% on the written test and still be a terrible driver.


The only way to be a great driver is to drive, and the only way to be a successful mortgage agent is to take action … lots of action.


Competitiveness is the second quality that the top 20% seem to have.


For instance, our current record holder for the fastest 10 files funded by a rookie (155 days) is a sweet little grandmother who also happens to be hyper-competitive. (When I first met her, I had no idea.)


Another one of our agents decided they would not sleep in their bed until they had funded their 10th file. They slept on the floor of their living room on a mat for several months until they hit their goal! (Their significant other thought they were nuts.)


Heck, I thought they were nuts, but that agent is now absolutely crushing it.

If there was a way to accurately predict these two qualities, we could double or triple the output of the Rookie Program.


However, I remind myself that even the NFL can’t accurately predict which draft picks will be successful. (Tom Brady was picked up in the 6th round!) The NFL gathers a lot more data and testing results than I ever could.



I believe in giving people a chance, and letting them decide whether this business is for them.


If you are a rookie reading this, and being in the top 20% REALLY fires you up, you may have the competitive edge that I’m speaking of.



Want to earn a 100% commission split?


One of the unique things about BRX is we have capped commissions. This means that any of our agents can earn a 100% commission split. (We believe everyone deserves a good deal, and don’t believe in special deals.) If you want a fuller explanation of how our agents can earn 100% commission, read the October 2022 blog here.


I tracked the total amount of commissions earned by our agents since we launched this, and our agents have been paid $1,377,270.19 at 100% commission split!


A couple of things about this:

  1. Any Pro agent at BRX can earn a 100% commission split—all they have to do is fund $100,000 in Gross Annual Commission.

  2. We pay Volume, Bonus, Efficiency Bonus, and yes, even the Quarterly bonus paid by some lenders.

  3. None of our agents who are currently on a 100% split were earning a 100% commission prior to joining BRX.

For context, 14.5% of our Pro agents are currently on a 100% commission split. This number fluctuates, as each Pro agent has their own anniversary date.


What on earth is organizational design?


I recently discovered a new business term that I want to share with you: Organizational Design. What is it exactly? It is the process of aligning the structure of an organization with its objectives, with the aim of improving both effectiveness and efficiency.


Now, having been a mortgage broker for years, and more recently, a full-time coach, I didn’t need much in the way of organizational design.


My teams were small, and we mostly needed a Customer Journey to detail the steps of our process, and to know who was responsible for what.


I have often felt that a good mortgage agent’s business is a lot like a beach volleyball team—two people work together to ensure that the ball doesn’t hit the ground—which is pretty much all you need in order to build a $50+ million a year mortgage business.


However, in BRX’s first two years, our team has expanded from 3 people to 14. This has created a lot more complexity, which was one of the reasons I headhunted our new COO, Denise Laframboise.


I have known Denise for seven years, and watched her build a fantastic mortgage business that, frankly, looked almost boring for her to run.


I figured she would be the perfect person to help me solve my operational problems. Turns out, I was right.


Going forward, I have asked Denise to share an insight each month about something she has learned, or a problem we have overcome, as we continue to scale the brokerage.


Below is Denise’s first article on her perspective of how we seemed to be having endless, ineffective meetings.


Sadly, this was true.


I also must give a shout out to our amazing Chief of Staff, Lauren Webb. Lauren was the catalyst for designing the new meeting structure. Basically, she applied some clever Organizational Design to our meetings.


Our meetings are now fewer, and far more effective.


 

I love meetings now, sort of.

Written by Denise Laframboise


I was really excited about joining BRX and taking on all the challenges of this new role for me. But do you know what I was not excited about? Meetings.



When I first came onboard, I felt like I was spending every day in meetings, and then meetings about those meetings, and then ad hoc calls about people's feelings about those meetings… you get the picture.


Basically, I felt like I was spending my time in ineffectual meetings, with little time to actually work. Our incredible Chief of Staff was experiencing the same, and was able to create a new rhythm chart for all our team meetings.


At first, it looked like MORE meetings when she presented it. Each team had a weekly tactical meeting, then there were daily huddles and a quarterly strategic planning session. So we started implementing it to see how it would go.


The weekly meetings were effective for each team, and people seemed to save their bigger questions and discussion topics for those meetings. The daily huddle caught quick issues blocking people from doing their work, and provided a venue for keeping team members on track and making sure everyone had responded to emails waiting for them in the shared inbox.


The new system wasted less time, reduced the amount of meetings we had, and made the meetings more effective. I hate to say it, but our Chief of Staff has converted me ... I actually like our meetings! I like saying “let's discuss that at Tactical when we are all together.” I like everyone having time blocked off to pay attention to each other, and move the needle on our projects.


In addition to these meetings, we also implemented biweekly check-in meetings. Each member of the leadership team meets bi-weekly with their direct reports, one-on-one. This is a way for us to connect with our team, check the pulse of how they are feeling, and an opportunity to answer questions that people are not comfortable asking in the group meetings.


For me, as a new team member, these biweekly meetings have resulted in great ideas from team members, and provide a better platform for me to get to know our people.


So, while I will not go so far as to say I love meetings, I am thoroughly enjoying our meeting schedule, and it has been highly effective in the operation of our business structure at BRX over the past three months, compared to our previous structure.



 

The Shared Inbox Update:

It wasn't working until we made a couple of tweaks...


As one of the fastest growing mortgage brokerages in Canada, we’ve been on a major kick lately to improve systems and structures within BRX. Although it’s been a bit of a scramble at times and the learning curve is steep, the reward is great, and things are getting better every day.


Here's the thing. There are natural growing pains when a thriving business expands past that sweet spot of efficiency. When the systems get bogged down, day-to-day operations can go from being “manageable and a little outdated” to “impending chaos” REAL quick.


At the beginning of 2023, our biggest pain point was agent support. Emails were getting missed, balls were getting dropped, and work was getting duplicated or backlogged by follow-ups. From the outside looking in, it wasn’t clear who to reach out to for what issue, or when to expect a response.


From the inside looking in, the same situation was unfolding. Each of the team members had their own email address, which was used for internal and external communication.


To tackle this issue, we launched our shared inbox in January 2023. You can read about it in the January blog post here.


Implementing the "One Inbox" System

Lauren, our Chief of Staff, set the ball in motion to redirect all incoming emails to one inbox. Individual email addresses got auto-forwarded to ask@brxmortgage.com, which became managed by multiple team members.


Very quickly, ask@brxmortgage.com became the primary email for agents to use to get their questions answered, and here’s what we noticed…


1. Transparency

Pro: The invisible workload became a lot more visible. The team could collaborate more effectively to solve problems, answer questions, and pick up where someone else left off.


Con: Confidentiality needed to be addressed. Without any personal emails, it was hard to discuss private matters with agents or within the team.


Solution: A few emails were separated out of the main Shared Inbox, to protect the privacy of agents and staff when addressing sensitive or important topics.


2. Organization

Pro: It was easier to streamline what was meant for whom, and to delete the duplicates.


Con: This process required manual sorting of all emails that arrived in the inbox, which was a time-sensitive and time-consuming task.


Solution: Switching to Microsoft gave us an opportunity to start fresh and categorize differently (i.e., automated sorting based on departments versus individuals). We started using “Categories” to claim emails that were general, to avoid duplicating of efforts to support.


3. Accountability

Pro: Everything filtered into the one inbox, so the team could support one another with more ease. It was also easier to see the repeat questions and we could begin to strategize how to answer those questions on our Agent Portal.


Con: Our original method of labeling folders within the shared inbox with individual names did not work out. Emails were still getting missed, and the scope of work coming through was still larger than our team at the time.


Solution: Lauren implemented the strategy of the “daily huddle” with the Ops Team every weekday morning, to address unclaimed emails, check in with one another for needed support, and ask questions. Although I don’t sit in on the meetings, I hear it’s been a well-received solution.


Final Thoughts on the One Inbox System

So, did it work as expected? No.


Is it a perfect system yet? Also no.


However, adopting the Microsoft platform and combining it with the daily huddles has allowed us to clear out our inbox much more quickly.


This is something that will continue to evolve over time.


I think most mortgage agents would benefit from sharing an inbox, since their teams are small. If done correctly, it could reduce confusion for their clients and improve their response time.


Up Next:

  1. Brokerage Stats

  2. Production Year to Date

  3. Live Underwriting Room Stats

  4. Why Does No One Talk about Volume Bonus?

  5. TD Bank Compensation

  6. First National Compensation

  7. The Benefits of an Executive Assistant

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