Notes on finding our North Star

Thank you to friends and colleagues in the Canadian mortgage industry for your partnership, your support and for the honour of being nominated as Lender BDM of the Year. Congratulations to all the winners, especially the very deserving Ut Yue at CMLS Financial. See you all next year!

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My XMC is About People

~ Derek Serra

Change is hard. It’s uncomfortable, unwieldy and—almost always—unwelcome. Change has defined my first year at XMC. I’m so proud of the hard work we’ve done to define our mission, build one of the best teams in the business and connect to new clients and Mortgage Brokers in communities across Canada. I’m incredibly honoured to have received this nomination. There is no bigger compliment than acknowledgement from your peers.

When I joined XMC nearly a year ago (the bank guy), I asked a lot of questions.

So. Many. Questions.

I refused to accept “If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it” as a reason to stay on the same path and play it safe. One of my first initiatives was an ambitious client survey that went far beyond NPS and multiple choice. We dug deep and were surprised by what we discovered: many Canadians don’t understand the new mortgage rules, the changing lender landscape and the very real impact these things have on their lives. It’s a powerful reminder that when you’re deep into something, it’s important to step outside of the bubble and reconnect with the larger purpose – the Why.

It’s our responsibility as mortgage professionals to make sure our Clients are informed and armed with the tools they need to make the right decision for their families.

The next move was into the field to connect with brokers. I was lucky to find so many willing to share their time and knowledge. It’s been an honour to be welcomed and trusted by the community so quickly and completely. The relationships I’ve cultivated in such a short amount of time tell me that we’re onto something great.

My priority was to build the right team—the right people in the right place doing what they’re good at. That’s where strong brands begin. We zoomed out and looked at emerging markets we could serve and add value to. I sought the experts in those areas and convinced them to take a gamble on my vision for the company. Luckily, they did.

The last year has been ground-breaking for XMC. We owe much of our success to the fact that we took time to achieve clarity around our purpose, thoughtfully and with intention: Helping Canadians Move Forward means offering a solution now that serves both short-term needs and long-term goals, individuals and communities. That’s our North Star, the foundation of our culture that emphasizes service and excellence in every interaction, on every deal, with each other, with every partner broker and client.

One thing —perhaps the main thing —that differentiates us from other lenders is our non-transactional approach. My business isn’t selling mortgages, it’s building relationships. We’re invested in the growth and success of our Partner Brokers, and the long-term happiness of our Clients. That’s why I’m in the field asking more questions every week. How can I help? What can we do better?

When we launched the XMC Broker Lab series, I didn’t expect the level of enthusiastic participation we received from some of the country’s top performers. They’ve got lucrative relationships with big lenders. They’re smart. They know their clients and they know this business. And, they’re brutally honest. Their feedback has led to real and measurable change. If our partners are willing to give us their time, we listen. We act. Quickly when possible and thoughtfully when multiple stakeholders are involved. I am one hundred per cent committed to accessibility and transparency. Our XCELERATOR Program was inspired by many of those conversations about how we can remove barriers and friction for clients—things like free appraisals and mortgage payments—and add delight and value with new tech, policies or niche products. So far, we been quite successful, I think, because of that emphasis on adding value to the client experience. That’s what our partner brokers expect.

We’ve done the work and we begin to see the results, but success is subjective unless you’ve got the right metrics in place. So, that’s what we did. We’ve looked beyond standard industry measures around volume and efficiency—critical, yes, but more descriptive than predictive—and designed a new set of indicators toward managing growth responsibly and continuously improving the service and experience we offer our partner brokers and their clients. We can track results, manage resources and make smarter decisions, faster. We’re also rolling out custom intelligence to priority partners right now to give them deeper insights into their XMC book of business.

XMC is as smaller, highly-specialized lender. We’re focused on building and reinforcing the relationships that define what we do to better serve our partner brokers, their clients and by extension our team and the communities in which we’re active right across Canada. And, it’s a team effort—all hands, all the time. That kind of bespoke approach just isn’t realistic for big banks and massive monolines; our smaller size affords us the privilege of building real, meaningful relationships – of knowing who likes Starbucks and who prefers the craft brew down the street. My XMC is about people and how we make them feel.

Thank you for the opportunity to recognize all that XMC has accomplished in the last year. It’s been an adventure —exhilarating, hair-raising, enlightening —and we’re just getting started.