Mortgage Edge: John Bargis

Mortgage Edge: John Bargis


Location: Richmond Hill, Ontario

What are your goals and strategies for the years ahead?
As much as I’d like to share my thoughts with you on this topic, they are proprietary so all I can say for now is stay tuned.

As an independent, what extra pressures do you feel surrounding volume bonuses? Is there any loss of diversity of product as a result?
The pressures surrounding volume bonus are non-existent, actually. Our approach has always been to distribute volume as evenly as possible to lenders, which allows us access to a diverse cross-section of products, preferred rates, and maximum compensation. Mortgage Edge’s status is treated no differently than any of the network franchises, who are technically treated as independents in the eyes of the lenders as it relates to production requirements and compensation programs.

Have you considered joining a large network?
We’ve been approached several times by all the large networks. One even made us what most brokers would consider a very generous signing bonus offer just to carry their brand. But when we ran the numbers very quickly, the franchise network would make that money back in less than a year and a half and Mortgage Edge would be burdened with a very high cost to its revenue for being part of a franchise for the duration of the agreement.

How do you think independent brokerages can continue to thrive in today’s market?
My advice to any independent is to first identify what their goals are. For example, is it a niche market they want to focus on, is it growth, or perhaps something else? Once this has been ascertained, a plan should be implemented to proceed with the execution. The key is managing the process very closely and to have the ability to make the required changes along the way in order to achieve success.

What advice would you offer to brokers who would like to set up an independent brokerage?
Spend the appropriate time learning about the industry from all aspects first before getting started, so that you have a solid understanding. Strong management skills are also critical if growth plans are part of one’s long-term strategy.

What is your strategy for generating new business?
Our main focus is to invest in our people by being very hands on. They are the key to generating new business. Strong partnerships is where it’s at, and although we utilize the internet for some business development, our main strategy is in relationship building which clearly drives the majority of the business in our industry.

What is the most important thing a broker can do to grow their business?
A broker’s strongest attribute should be understanding how to run a business successfully. Brokers need to properly manage their business on many fronts in order to be effective. Some examples are; building and strengthening lender partnerships, not putting all of their eggs in one basket, being in touch with their agents, running financial business models, staying in touch with changes and being transparent.

What trends have you noticed this year? Have you had to adapt your business strategies to the market conditions?
The trends are well publicized which are a result of all the regulatory changes the industry has seen. Personally speaking, the changes bode well for the broker industry, and there are many opportunities to shine. I’ve seen these trends before and embracing change and planning ahead is absolutely key.

What is the secret to building a successful brokerage?
Our success has been in the investment of our agents and in our lender partners alike. We also make sure we’re very involved with our lender partners from a management perspective. We appreciate and value our partnerships.

What are the advantages of being an independent brokerage?
Personally, our agents are their own brand within a brand, and we encourage and work with each of them to create their own value proposition. After all, they are the real reason that referral sources and clients actually do business with us. We just support them throughout the process.

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