Dominion Lending Centres
Canada’s pre-eminent mortgage company
Dominion Lending Centres President and Co-founder, Gary Mauris, is as energetic and passionate as the company’s national spokesperson, Don Cherry.
It was exactly these traits that grew Mauris’ national mortgage and leasing company, Dominion Lending Centres, into the country’s largest independent mortgage company in less than five years.
Entrepreneurial at heart, Mauris was vacationing at his Palm Springs home when an idea came to him about a new business venture. It was there that the idea to start a mortgage company was (literally) at his feet.
“I noticed that the mail I received was filled with advertisements for several different mortgage companies. Curious, I started doing my homework and learned that 80 per cent of mortgages done in the U.S. were being completed by a U.S. mortgage broker.”
Realizing what works in the U.S. often translates well into Canada, Mauris partnered with Chris Kayat, the largest Royal LePage owner in Western Canada at the time, who also owned a small mortgage company primarily to service mortgage transactions through his Royal LePage offices.
Amazed at the amount of high-profile mortgage brokers in the U.S., when he asked Kayat to name his competitors in Canada, Mauris did not recognize even one company name. “There was no national company with a focus on brand building for something so important to the consumer as finance, which was the motivation behind starting Dominion Lending Centres in 2006.”
Making mortgages easy
With over 2,000 mortgage professionals offering free expert advice to clients throughout Canada, Dominion Lending Centres is the leading national mortgage and leasing company in the country, helping Canadians simplify their mortgages and streamline their overall finances.
“Today, we are the No.1 company in the country,” says Mauris. “We are dominating market share, we now have 390 offices across Canada, and we have access to dozens of banks, credit unions, trust companies and other lending institutions. It’s been a real fun ride and certainly hasn’t been without tons of effort, passion and hard work.”
Whether Canadians are looking to buy a home, renew a mortgage, purchase a rental property or vacation home, or lease business-related equipment, Dominion Lending Centres has a product available that will fit the unique needs and financial situation of each client. Success has come quickly to Dominion Lending Centres, named the Best Newcomer (Mortgage Brokerage Firm) at the 2008 CMP Canadian Mortgage Awards (dubbed the Oscars of the mortgage brokering industry), and has achieved incredible growth. At the 2009 CMAs, Dominion Lending Centres received the Best Branding Award, and again in 2010, with the addition of the prestigious title of Mortgage Brokerage of the Year and Best Advertising. Dominion Lending Centres was also ranked on the PROFIT Hot 50 list of Canada’s emerging growth companies by Profit magazine for two consecutive years, and Mauris himself was a finalist for the 2011 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award.
“This year, our company will fund $11.5 billion in mortgages,” says Mauris. “Out of all mortgage companies, we hold 16 per cent market share Canada-wide and, in some markets, over 30 per cent market share. We are growing today faster than we ever have.”
This volume, of course, is part of Dominion Lending Centres success. By sending $11.5 billion in mortgage business a year to the banks and other financial institutions, Dominion Lending Centres is offered better mortgage products and rates and faster turnaround times. “Because we send these banks so much business, they automatically give us better rates and often more favourable terms.”
“That equals 65,000 mortgages this year across Canada through our company. Since we are the No. 1 mortgage provider in Canada, we work on behalf of the lender to provide Canadians with the very best options to meet their mortgage financing needs.”
Mauris credits some of this growth to a customer who is now highly-educated in the value of using a mortgage broker. “I see it all the time where people have been lifelong customers of a certain bank, and have up to three mortgages there, plus a business account, their RRSP, and typically in an hour I can beat their best negotiated rate by at least half a point. It’s like being able to offer the client wholesale versus retail mortgage rates.”
Through this high level of mortgage volume, Dominion Lending Centres has developed a good working relationship with the banks. “I’m going to send Scotiabank $2 billion in business this year and CIBC $2 billion in business this year, so when it comes from Dominion Lending Centres, the banks provide a product that lets us bring customers in their doors. We underwrite and package the deal, and all they have to do is fund it. Because of that they give us better rates, faster turnaround and better service.”
For mortgage consumers, Dominion Lending Centres offers choice, certainty and savings. Mauris credits his company’s success to the fact that mortgages are about much more than rates—they’re also about providing expert mortgage advice catered to each borrower’s needs. “We have to compete, no question, and we always will,” he says. “But it’s about choosing the right mortgage product for your situation. In some cases we look at your entire package, not just the mortgage, but also personal debt, lines of credit, student loans, etc., and create a consolidated payment package, which can save you up to $800 a month in throwaway interest.”
And, especially in a more challenging economy, throwaway is the last way you want to describe your savings. That said, Mauris believes Canada will avoid the economic pitfalls that have troubled the United States. His expertise in the mortgage market is so valuable that he was handpicked to be on a select team of 15 people to work with Canadian Minister of Finance Jim Flaherty.
During the budgetary consultation, Mauris “acknowledged the Finance Department’s vital role in providing emergency mortgage liquidity during the credit crisis, and also encouraged the government to consider an alternative to eliminating 35-year high-ratio amortizations, whereby a borrower may have to qualify at a 30-year amortized payment but retain the right to a 35-year amortization.”
Mauris exemplifies the best in Canadian business. By focusing in on an underserved market, not only has he created a thriving business, but also offers an important service for customers unsure of the best way to navigate through complex financial arrangements.