THE MORTGAGE CENTRE/SKY FINANCIAL CORPORATION
Unlike many of those on this year’s Young Guns list, Tyler Smith hasn’t had the advantage of being in a booming metropolitan centre to drive his business. Based in the northeastern Albertan city of Cold Lake, which has a population of just under 16,000, Smith has nonetheless been able to build a solid client base since he entered the industry in 2009. He explains how his job has changed since he made his start seven years ago.
“I think the main change since I joined the industry in 2009 is that mortgage brokers are more known to people,” he says. “Back then you really needed to get your name out there and explain what you did. Now with millennials getting mortgages, they do their own online research, and we get a lot of business that way.”
Cold Lake is best known for the Canadian Forces base that’s located there, and its economy is inextricably linked to the military. Oil & gas exploration is the other pillar of the economy, and that means the city has a unique demographic. “The average age [in Cold Lake] is 30, I believe,” Smith says. “A lot of young families move here for jobs.”
Although the recent oil shock has put the brakes on the rapid expansion Cold Lake has witnessed over the past decade, Smith is confident in his prospects going forward. “My target for the year is to stay above $20 million – we have been able to do that since 2012,” he says. “My goal is to get back to the business we were doing in 2013, 2014 when we were doing $30 to $40 million per year.”