18 Sep 2015
Memoirs of a Mortgage Broker – The Biker Story
As my client is telling me the reason for his credit woes, I just can’t help but think, “why are you here”? and more importantly “why are you wearing overalls”? Then for a moment I thought I might have said that in my outside voice! But he continues to talk and I realize that it was still my inside voice. Close call.
I have been a mortgage broker for 14 years – the last few years with Dominion Lending Centres. And just when I think I have seen it all, life smacks me in the head and says “snap out of it” there’s more to come.
In a profession where there is a lot of contact with the public, you are bound to find the odd duck or hundred. My colleagues used to joke that I had radar that attracted all the crazies to me, full moon or not.
Over the years I have come across situations with clients that, had I not lived it, I would have never believed it. I often take on the role of mortgage broker, counsellor, lawyer (with proper waivers), matchmaker, realtor, SPCA and so forth. Never have I had a job in which I have worn so many hats and thoroughly enjoyed each profession!
My fellow brokers I am sure can relate to some of the situations and throughout the years I have made notes of some of the funnier events that have come my way and decided to take this opportunity to share them; they are good for a laugh and in this business of stress, deadlines and rules, we all need a good laugh!
I will start with my client Frank (all names have been changed to protect the innocent. Ok maybe the guilty too). Frank was what I fondly referred to as a “biker dude”. He looked like a bad ass, dressed like one and smelled like one. Frank came to see me one day. He was dressed in leather chaps and biker apparel straight out of a Sons of Anarchy episode.
Frank came well prepared for the meeting, that is he was awake and sober. Well maybe awake. We discussed his desire to get a house legitimately…Is there any other way? I ended up telling Frank some of the documents I would need to see if I could help him. He left and I thought that’s the end of Frank. Two days later he has an appointment and as we sit in my office, he produces the documents that I had requested. I have to be honest, if he wasn’t there I may have smelled the Notice of Assessments to see if they had been freshly printed….from the CRA website. Of course that is what I meant!
Frank had good credit and a down payment but let’s just say his income was a little shy of what was needed to qualify for the loan and for that matter, so was his down payment. We discussed things a bit more and I told him I could likely help him if he could come up with some more money for the down payment. See in those days, equity deals were so easy and there was hardly any scrutiny of income, etc. Ah the good old days… But I digress.
I tell Frank “Listen, I am sure we can get you into a house. But we need a little bit more money down”.
He says “How much more”? And I say “Like about another ten percent”.
He sits there looking at me scratching his beard and I wonder if he is contemplating beating me up or what. I mean I am just the messenger. So I take a deep breath and jokingly say, “Frank can’t you go home and dig up a Tupperware container full of money?” He looks at me and says, “Let me see”.
Well within an hour he calls me and says I got the money, I’m going to put in an offer. Needless to say, Frank got into his house and I soon became the go-to-gal for the biker community.
A few months later, Frank was in his new house and he came by the office to thank me. He brought me a gift. He had been to a “convention” and thought of me and brought me a t-shirt which I proudly wore, at night, in the dark and only in my bedroom with all shades drawn. But I still felt kind of like a bad ass because I knew this t shirt was not something you could buy in a gift shop.
Frank continued to drop in just for visits and give me the occasional shirt. Over the years I saw Frank about town. He always gave me a bear hug (he was as big as a bear) and got me a coffee if we ended up in the same coffee shop. Frank became a good referral source. Without a doubt he was the sweetest biker dude I ever had the pleasure of working with. To this day I still have his t-shirts. But I still only wear them to bed in the unlikely event a rival gang sees me and decides to talk to me about my colours!