Ahead of the 2021 Canadian Mortgage Awards, we’ll hear from the 2020 Gold Winner in the Employer of Choice category – MERIX Financial – about the year that was and what led to its success.
Last year we put tremendous effort into innovating and delivering solutions in an unprecedented time. Where other lenders may have tightened their ropes in 2020, we’ve expanded as much as possible to support brokers and homeowners in a variety of ways.
When COVID-19 hit, MERIX was one of the first to move to a 100% work-from-home structure to do our part to contain the spread and protect communities. MERIX / Paradigm has invested heavily in the best cloud-based technologies for several years to ensure the flexibility of our business. This enabled us to provide seamless / uninterrupted service to brokers and homeowners while keeping staff at home. We also quickly started offering COVID-19 support through extensive financial training, frequently asked questions (FAQs), and deferring mortgage payments for up to six months. All employees worked in the evenings and on weekends to answer any questions, concerns, payment changes and deferrals.
When Filogix was out of service for several days, MERIX was there to offer additional solutions. As prices went up, we held low prices for three days longer and invented a unique solution that provided brokers with a template to submit deals as the staff worked tirelessly overnight to manually record all applications. It was important for us to show the brokers that we work together regardless of the landscape and support them in keeping the business going.
Another important solution we introduced was “Interest Free for Three”, where MERIX pays the interest on new mortgage applications for three months. Homeowners are only responsible for making principal payments, significantly reducing their required mortgage payment, and providing relief during this uncertain time. This product has saved homeowners thousands while having our lowest interest rates (NO Premiums) set, brokerage fees NOT reduced, and savings NOT only activated until the end of the mortgage. It comes out of our pocket to assist brokers / homeowners and to keep you safe. We have even created over 100 free marketing articles to help realtors promote their own business, get all credit, and explain the benefits simply and effortlessly.
As COVID-19 continued, we found that brokers were increasingly reliant on transfers. So we extended a promotion where we covered the cost of transfer-related fees (in addition to covering the cost of appraisals). While this was a huge cost to our organization, it was an extremely competitive option for brokers / homeowners. We firmly believe in investing in our industry so we can all grow. This is the same mentality that inspired our trailer fee program – sharing the wealth and creating a real partnership with brokers is the foundation of MERIX.
Our trailer fee program is an important pillar of MERIX and makes us so unique. Followers provide residual income to brokers by paying them up front, on renewal, and every single year thereafter. The program encourages partnership and reduces broker churn / unnecessary lender swaps by keeping homeowners with our dedicated renovation specialists and continuing to pay the broker accordingly. Our retention rates are high and we have gone to great lengths to educate the market about the importance of diversification, investing in the future and how much trailers can make over the long term. For example, our largest trailer fee paid to date is a mortgage that was funded in 2006 and that the customer is not paying back. So the current trailer earnings for that one mortgage are $ 49,387.50 and rising! These are commissions of over 365 basis points that no other lender in Canada offers. In an era of declining income and increasing uncertainty, we take great pride in seeing brokers cashing tens of thousands of dollars from their trailer accounts to help mitigate the effects of today’s economy. One broker in particular disbursed $ 100,000 in June to supplement his income and do something positive. Also, as entrepreneurs, brokers may not have a retirement plan / source of income to draw from in the future, but MERIX offers it. (Important note: With MERIX you are not tied to trailers. Brokers can opt for an upfront commission using our Lendwise option and choose their remuneration on a deal-by-deal basis.)
MERIX also invests heavily in education. We are consistently transparent and provide our industry partners with regular updates, share educational emails and hold weekly webinars (e.g., insurer updates / clarifications, industry changes / trends, Filogix and BOC updates, guidelines, customer trends, homeowner Training) and share them daily various articles / updates on our social media (MERIX has the highest engagement statistics on social media of all monolines in Canada). MERIX also started the year with the launch of our annual incentive program, where we wanted to reward brokers with a paid educational trip to Milan, Italy, covering the cost of transportation, accommodation, registration for the World Business Forum and various social events. While this trip wasn’t possible this year, agents are always motivated and we look forward to offering it for the next year and beyond. What sets our journey apart from others is our strong focus on education, which always revolves around world class events like the World Business Forum, where global CEOs / Entrepreneurs / Athletes / Artists come together to share best practices in leadership, decision making and business management to learn to drive and encourage new ways of thinking. We choose events like this because we firmly believe in not only being fun, but also investing in training and growing brokers and influencing the industry we are part of.
MERIX strives to support brokers / homeowners in every possible way, from the unique remuneration to finding solutions to the flexibility of the offers. We help the industry by providing brokers with frequent tips, training, and extensive free marketing to educate customers about product differences, pricing, and penalty calculations. We work with all three insurance partners to provide options. provide competitive IRD calculations that save customers thousands; provide compensation options, basic POINTS rewards, and flexibility; Unique products like our interest-free Flex, the NPX MAX mortgage, Enhanced Plus, interest-free for three and more.