Mortgage Alliance Commercial
Years as a commercial broker: 23
Sales volume in 2015: $269 million
Totals deals in 2015: 23
CMP: When did you start at Mortgage Alliance Commercial?
Michel Durand: We opened up the first office in Montreal 10 years ago. That was followed by the Toronto office five years ago, and the Calgary and Vancouver offices four years ago.
CMP: Those are some pretty different markets. What are different challenges they present?
MD: All markets tend to vary throughout the year because of different economic factors. Each is active in its own way. Our agents in all of the markets do quite well, though. In real estate, when the market is good, we do well, and when the market gets tighter, like in Calgary, we do even better because more people come to see us.
CMP: How is the market in Montreal currently?
MD: It is our fastest-growing market right now.
Our numbers are up 27% versus last year.
CMP: You have offices in Toronto and Vancouver. Does the talk about bubbles concern you at all?
MD: We are aware of it, but it doesn’t really concern us. We adapt to what the lenders are concerned about, and they are lending more than ever. In certain markets, they are being more conservative, but good brokers are able to justify to lenders loans they might otherwise pass on.
CMP: Has your business been affected much by the up-and-down economy since 2014?
MD: We are busier than we’ve ever been. Last year was our best year to date, and this year is shaping up to be even better than that.
CMP: You have been in the industry for 23 years. What major changes have you seen during that time?
MD: Fintech and providing digital services to agents to allow them to be more effective. One of the things that has allowed us to grow quickly is our agents across the country have access to centralized underwriting. That means the agents spend more time closing deals and less time figuring out deals, which works out best for everyone.
CMP: It sounds like business is going well – do you have a specific target or goal for the coming year?
MD: We are looking to expand our number of agents. Our business model is a little bit different than others. Our agents are referred deals through the office, and that volume of referrals has increased quite a bit – it has more than doubled over the last two years. It’s nice to keep everyone with a full belly, but we need more bellies to fill.