Earlier this year, the Board approved the establishment of a new senior-level role at AMBA, in response to our continued growth. This role will is all about the member experience, and will include a diverse set of responsibilities and accountabilities. We sat down with our new CXO to get her perspective on the role and what it means for AMBA and the industry.
1. What is a CXO, exactly?
As Chief Experience Officer, I am responsible for optimizing and transforming the member experience through strategizing and oversight of our events, sponsorship, and membership programs. My role is to continue to elevate the value of an AMBA membership though by ensuring we're responding to member needs, offering high-value events, meaningful opportunities for relationship building, providing members opportunities to volunteer and engage with us, and by expanding our Affinity program. In addition, I'll be supporting the CEO in some of the day-to-day operations, including managing our performance management program and spearheading our recruiting and hiring processes.
2.What interested you in this role?
In previously managing and executing AMBA’s events calendar, I have had the privilege of talking to hundreds of members, learning more about the day to day challenges of our industry, and also, hearing what their priorities are for AMBA. When the position was announced, I knew it was the logical next step for me; I was excited at the opportunity to move into a role that further supports the member experience and the Association. I am looking forward to visiting more of our Brokerages and really listening to how we can better serve our members.
3.How will this new role help support our members?
With this role, members will be top of mind. I will be relying on our membership survey from this spring combined with member outreach to further understand how we fill identified gaps. We want to continue to enhance the AMBA experience and better communicate those membership benefits to bring clarity to members on what we offer as well as how we support them. My goal is to be a resource to members whether they have questions, concerns or ideas for the future. I will also be focusing on our industry partner relationships and how we can expand those partnerships to further support the industry and our initiatives for members.
4.You’ve been the AMBA with several years now. What are some of the highlights of your tenure here so far?
My biggest highlight so far was the 2022 Conference. It was an amazing experience to bring everyone back together for the first conference post-Covid. I’ve also really enjoyed supporting the re-launch of the Awards & Recognition program earlier this year. A special moment from that evening was watching the expression on Ryan Spence’s face when he realized an award was being named after him. The Alberta Mortgage Conference and AMBACelebrates are my two favourite events - I can’t wait to bring both events to the membership again in 2024, this time in Edmonton!
5.What are you most looking forward to in your new role? I am looking forward to hitting the ground running with the membership side of my role. We have a lot of great ideas on how to continue to build relationships with our members and add more value to their membership. The challenge we've had up until this point is that we didn't have a role that was primarily focused on the member experience. Of course, this is the lens we look through in all of the existing roles, but as we've grown, we came to realize that it was really important to have someone responsible for developing a strategy and being hyper-focused on the members. I am excited to put some of the many, many ideas our team has come up with over the years into action!
6.When you’re not busy supporting our members, how do you spend your time?
When not at AMBA you’ll find me at home with my family! I have been married for 13 years and have two children, Reagan (6) and Jack (3). We love being outside for walks or hikes, especially with our two big dogs.
7.What’s something about you that most members likely don’t know?
I grew up in the Boston area and went to Saint Mary’s University in Halifax. I ran a wedding planning business for several years. I am also wildly competitive and will watch any sport as long as I can yell at the TV- hockey and football are my favourites!
8.How can our members get in touch with you?
Our members can always call the main office line at (587) 774-9828 to chat with any of our incredible team - but if you want to speak to me directly, just call and ask for me! You can also email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'm happy to come do a brokerage visit, attend any industry events, or connect with members at the office over a coffee or at one of our many awesome events!
A rainy start to the day didn’t dampen golfer’s spirits at the YEG Real Estate Industry Golf Tournament on Wednesday, Aug. 2! Our first-ever sold-out tournament in Edmonton saw 144 golfers cruising the greens at The Quarry, playing games and chatting with our wonderful sponsors, before convening at the clubhouse for prizes and a delicious steak banquet lunch to celebrate the day.
Here are our top five favourite moments from the tournament:
1. You teed up for the Edmonton Food Bank!
Our lovely attendees raised an incredible $1,625 for the Edmonton Food Bank from the sale of mulligan and raffle tickets alone! We also received plenty of food donations – our donation table was overflowing! Thank you for your generosity, you truly showed the community spirit of the Alberta real estate industry.
2. The winners take it all!
Congratulations to all of our tournament and raffle draw winners! There were eleven raffle prizes up for grabs; the grand prize draw ticket took home an adventure prize pack that included a Coulee Go smokeless firepit, grill pack and two luxury camp chairs.
3. There were games a-plenty!
Golf wasn’t the only game being played on the course – CMLS Financial had a fiery axe-throwing competition going at Slate 4, Sagen had a fierce putting competition on the putting green, and Litco Law had golfers on Slate 6 trying their luck at chipping into a net.
4. Hole in… almost one?
The hole-in-one, sponsored by B2B Bank, saw plenty of hopefuls come and try their hand! With $25,000 on the line, golfers did their best – and while a few landed on the green, no one quite managed to bag that ace. There’s always next year – start practicing now!
5. Snacks on snacks on snacks!
Fat Franks on Slate 1, sponsored by Frost Valuations, and the Ice Cream Truck on Granite 1, sponsored by Bourgeois Brooke Chin Associates, kept the golfers spirits up with delicious hot dogs and ice cream treats!
A HUGE thank you to all of our sponsors for making the day a success!
We appreciate your support and generous contributions.
Are you aware that your windows and doors can significantly influence your home insurance rates? Different brokers, real estate agents and window installation Edmonton experts say understanding the factors affecting your insurance premiums is crucial for homeowners or potential home buyers. So let's delve into the topic and discuss how upgrading your windows & doors can impact your home insurance rates.
Understanding Home Insurance Rates in Canada
In Canada, home insurance rates are determined by a variety of factors. These include:
One factor that can significantly affect your home insurance rates is the condition and quality of your windows and doors. Having old, damaged, or not secure units can increase the risk of break-ins and weather-related damage, which can lead to higher insurance rates.
On the other hand, new, safe, and energy-efficient windows and doors can lower this risk, potentially leading to lower insurance rates.
The Positive Impact of Window and Door Replacements on Home Insurance
There are many reasons why replacing your windows and doors can lead to lower home insurance. New windows and doors often provide:
Choosing the Right Windows and Doors for Insurance Benefits
When planning a window or door replacement, it's essential to consider the types that insurance companies typically favour. Products with enhanced security features, such as multi-point locking systems, can make your home less attractive to burglars.
Energy-efficient models, such as those with Energy Star ratings, can also be beneficial, as they ensure the installed units meet or exceed government requirements regarding energy efficiency and "green" products.
When choosing the right windows and doors for your house, consider materials that are durable and resistant to damage. For example, steel or fibreglass doors are typically more secure than wooden ones.
Window and door replacements can significantly impact your home insurance rates. By choosing secure, energy-efficient models, you can potentially lower your premiums while also improving your home's security and energy efficiency.
If you're considering a home improvement project, don't hesitate to contact Edmonton window installation experts or call +1 (825) 605 4489. They would happily guide you through the process and help you make the best choices for your home.
We are proud to announce the launch of our Broker-Owner course. Designed for practicing mortgage professionals who are interested in starting their own brokerage, it is the first and only course of its kind approved by RECA.
The Broker-Owner course is an advanced program that reviews key industry skills and introduces business concepts that will assist you as a future business owner and team leader. Topics covered include brokerage business models, risk management, employee agreements, legislative responsibilities, and so much more. If you are interested in becoming a broker-owner, you must have at least two years of experience as a mortgage licensee within the past five years and complete the course, its final exam and RECA’s exam.
AMBA also offers two other courses: the Fundamentals of Mortgage Brokerage and the Practice of Mortgage Brokerage. Fundamentals is an introductory course that covers the basic topics that a mortgage broker needs to know, including key industry terminology, credit analysis, and understanding the market. Practice builds upon the concepts from Fundamentals, covering risk assessment, prepping a mortgage application, evaluating market trends, and more. These two courses are required to become a licensed mortgage broker in Alberta.
AMBA’s role in ensuring excellence in pre-licensing education
Every initiative AMBA undertakes is guided by our strategic plan, which is created based on feedback from our membership survey. In 2020’s survey, you told us you wanted AMBA to ensure excellence in pre-licensing education. We heard you! Upon RECA’s divestment of education, AMBA focused on becoming an approved pre-licensing educator for Alberta’s mortgage broker industry.
Through the guidance and hard work of our Education and Professional Development Committee and member subject matter experts, we developed the Fundamentals course, updated our Practice course and have now officially launched our Broker-Owner course.
AMBA’s goal is to become the leading provider of mortgage broker education and professional development in Alberta by equipping professionals with the highest quality knowledge. The ever-changing landscape of the mortgage industry makes it necessary for mortgage professionals to continue to improve their knowledge through training and experience. By providing high-quality education and professional development opportunities, AMBA endeavors to ensure that the public’s best interests are being protected by the real estate industry.
AREF’s commitment to creating a stronger real estate industry
The creation of these three courses would not have been possible without the generosity of the Alberta Real Estate Foundation (AREF). AMBA was awarded a $250,000 Legacy Grant from AREF which helped us develop relationships with professionals in educational development and course creation that not only helped build our current courses but have laid the groundwork to help create future course offerings.
“We heard from our stakeholders that different segments of the real estate sector face different challenges and require unique solutions. This education initiative delivers on the transformational and long-term change for the real estate industry we were looking for through our one-time legacy grant program. Supporting the education and professional development of mortgage brokers protects the interests of Albertans and increases confidence in the mortgage transaction, contributing to a stronger real estate industry,” says Patti Morris, Executive Director of the Alberta Real Estate Foundation.
We are grateful for the work that AREF does for the mortgage industry and for their continued support of AMBA.
Created under the Alberta Real Estate Act, the Alberta Real Estate Foundation is a nonprofit organization that makes strategic investments, forms partnerships, and supports initiatives that benefit Albertans through the real estate industry. Since 1991, the Foundation has invested $27.5 million in nearly 700 initiatives across Alberta. The initiatives they fund advance and improve real estate-related education for professionals and consumers, law reform, and research, and seek innovative industry and community solutions. A stronger real estate industry is a stronger Alberta. Visit them at aref.ab.ca.
On Thursday, June 8, the Alberta mortgage industry gathered to celebrate their hard work and cheer on the AMBACelebrates nominees at the reimagined Awards + Recognition Gala. Over 160 people flocked to the event, their finest cocktail attire shimmering in the bright sunshine. The celebration kicked off at the lively cocktail hour, where attendees sipped on the signature cocktail, snagged a cigar at the cigar station, and jumped into the photo booth (if you mislaid your photo, not to worry – click here to find a digital copy).
AMBA Chair Pam Pikkert began the evening’s program by sharing a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the care and hard work of the Awards & Recognition Committee, the AMBACelebrates Judging Subcommittee and the staff team that culminated in a new vision of the AMBACelebrates awards and recognition program. Before passing the mic to our emcee, she toasted the nominees:
“Tonight’s award nominees are pioneers of excellence in our industry and their commitment to outstanding customer service, innovative solutions, and unwavering professionalism has made them stand out from the crowd. I would like to extend my heartfelt congratulations to each of our nominees for their achievements. Your dedication, hard work, and relentless pursuit of excellence have made a significant impact on the mortgage industry, and our association.”
Comedian Julie Kim then took the stage, announcing the winners of the first three categories:
Mortgage Broker of the Year Award – Tara Borle
Industry Partner of the Year Award – Bhavna Bhasin
New Mortgage Broker of the Year Award – Jessica Yip
Community Impact Award – Brian Gentles
The program took a brief break while guests enjoyed dinner, before continuing the awards by announcing the winners of the mentorship and professionalism categories:
Broker-Owner Mentorship Award – Sarah Strauss
Peer Mentorship Award – Amanda Woolward
Industry Professional Mentorship Award – Braden Gabert
Professional Development Award – Hayley Cross
Association Supporter Award – Jason Provencher
Support Staff Award – Julie Windebank
Our 2022-2023 AMBA volunteers were then recognized on stage for their commitment and service before moving into the final award presentations of the evening.
Bill Patton Memorial Award
Like the award’s namesake, the Bill Patton Memorial Award for Lifetime Achievement is bestowed to a member who has demonstrated a long-term commitment to the betterment of the mortgage industry. Bill Patton’s granddaughter, Kyla Hunter from Home Trust, presented this prestigious award to the winner – Paula Hutton, who received a standing ovation.
An absolute gift to our industry, Paula shows up to every industry event (and plans plenty of her own, often with a charitable component). She builds a sense of community everywhere she goes and encourages others to do the same.
Volunteer Service Award
While everyone thought the Bill Patton Memorial Award was the final award of the evening, AMBA had one more trick up its sleeve – the announcement of a new award. A video message from Brad Quinn of tng began playing, talking about the special inaugural recipient:
“Serving on AMBA’s Board of Directors for over ten years, and Chair for three, this exceptional individual led the association through a critical period of change, transforming AMBA into the thriving association it is today. In addition to being a well respected and admired industry professional, he is a down to earth and humble human being who spends what little spare time he has seeking adventure outdoors. And, on top of it all, he is a fantastic father to his two amazing daughters.”
With that, Pam called Ryan Spence up to the stage as the inaugural recipient of the 2023 Ryan Spence Volunteer Service Award! Thunderous applause resounded throughout the room as attendees stood in celebration of the special surprise in honour of Ryan’s incredible volunteerism and selflessness.
The evening concluded with dancing, late-night pizza and the draw for the $1,000 Fairmont door prize, won by Max Singh!
Thank you to our sponsors for their generosity and support: Community Trust, CWB, Home Trust, Equitable Bank, MCAN, tng, Manulife Bank, First National, Fisgard, Cedar Peaks, Alta West Capital, Bridgewater Bank, TD Bank, Glengarry Farm Finance, Equifax, MCAP, FCT, BrokerLink and Verico.
Congratulations once again to all our award winners! We are proud to celebrate your hard work, dedication, and success – it is members like you that make our association so vibrant.
We’ll see you on June 18, 2024 for next year’s gala!
BrokerLink Insurance offers Alberta Mortgage Brokers Association (AMBA) members exclusive discounts on personal home and auto insurance.
We’re all looking for ways to be savvier about how we are spending our money these days. Whether it’s cutting back on eating out or looking at what household expenses could be shaved back a little, everyone is trying to keep some extra dollars in their wallet. If you’re trying to save money in different areas of your budget, it’s a good idea to also look over your insurance policies.
How to save money on your insurance:
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AMBA celebrates the achievements and successes of outstanding mortgage professionals across the province through AMBACelebrates – our awards and recognition program.
We are thrilled to announce the 2023 award nominees!
Congratulations to all these AMBA all-stars! Catch all the action as the winners are announced at the AMBACelebrates Awards + Recognition Gala on June 8, 2023.
For more information on our awards and recognition program, visit AMBA’s Awards & Recognition page on amba.ca.
The votes have been tallied and the results are in – congratulations to AMBA's 2023-2024 Board of Directors!
Thank you to all candidates who ran in AMBA's 2023-2024 Board of Directors Election and to all members who took the time to vote for their preferred candidates.
Please join us at the swearing-in of your new Board of Directors at the Delta Hotel at the Calgary Airport on Thursday, May 4 at our Annual General Meeting (AGM).
AMBA's newly elected Directors are as follows:
These leaders join the following Directors whose terms carry over for another year:
Thank you to our outgoing Directors:
Downtown Edmonton was abuzz on Wednesday, March 22 as the best and brightest of the mortgage industry descended on the Matrix Hotel for AMBA’s sold-out Get Social. A playlist of eighties classics bumped in the background as the crowd mixed and mingled, enjoying nibbles of vegetable samosas, Tandoori chicken bites and mini cheeseburgers. Late March sunshine poured in through floor to ceiling windows, beckoning some brave attendees onto the balcony to enjoy the fleeting warmth of early spring.
When the final door prize of the evening was drawn – two tickets to the Oilers vs. Coyote game – an excited buzz reverberated throughout the room. Afterwards, people began to trickle out, many heading to the game themselves and already decked out in blue and orange gear.
The AMBA team had a wonderful time gathering with our Edmonton members – thank you for coming out! Thank you to our event sponsors, who helped make the event such a success: Home Equity Bank, Glengarry Farm Finance, Home Trust, MCAN Home, Community Trust, Cedar Peaks Mortgage Services and First National Financial. Many thanks to our annual supporters, Community Trust and Robertson LLP, and our association supporter Diversity Mortgage & Financial Corporation.
March is Fraud Prevention Month, and in recognition, we are reminding those that work in the mortgage industry about the crucial role they play in recognizing and preventing mortgage fraud.
Earlier this year, regulatory experts Ryan DeLuca and Adam Feldman joined AMBA members for a virtual session on fraud and the mortgage industry, in which they emphasized the duty mortgage brokers have to their clients, as well as the public at large.
“Mortgage brokers are not merely facilitators, moving documents from one party, the borrower, to another party, the lender,” says DeLuca. “Mortgage brokers are required to do their due diligence to protect their clients and the public from harm.”
By keeping red flags in mind while working with clients, mortgage brokers can help flag potentially fraudulent activity. The Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC) and RECA are both valuable resources for new suspicious activity to watch out for.
However, DeLuca recommends when brokers come across a red flag to look at the circumstances as a whole to determine if the red flag is an indication of potential fraud.
“You need to use your ‘Spidey’ senses and evaluate the red flag in relation to the rest of the transaction. Does something that is happening make the hairs on the back of your neck or your arms stand up? Does it feel wrong?” says Deluca.
According to RECA, there are five types of mortgage fraud that mortgage brokers should be aware of:
1. Fraud for Shelter
The most common type of mortgage fraud, borrowers falsify information on their application to obtain approval. A February 2023 survey for BNN and RATESDOTCA revealed that 18% of respondents believe it’s okay to distort employment information when applying for a mortgage.
2. Fraud for Profit
This fraud typically involves several parties, including a real buyer and a fake buyer (known as the “straw” buyer). Oftentimes this scheme will involve falsely raising the property value in order to secure a larger mortgage, with the real buyer stealing the money and leaving the “straw” buyer with a large debt.
3. Title Fraud
This type of fraud occurs when a person poses as the legitimate owner of a property and sells the title without the actual owner’s knowledge. DeLuca notes that title fraud is one of the less common schemes in Alberta due to the province’s title and regulatory system.
4. Foreclosure Fraud
While this fraud involves a variety of different schemes, the target is a homeowner on the brink of or in foreclosure. The homeowner is promised financial assistance, typically in exchange for transferring the title to the fraudster, wherein they will ask the homeowner to pay “rent” and take the money without making payments on the home, or even sell the home to someone else and take the proceeds, leaving the target with their debt and without a home.
5. Seller Financing Fraud
A home can be legitimately purchased through seller financing. However, fraud can occur through deceptive or scam agreements. Both the homeowner and the potential purchaser can be victims – the fraud could include the purchaser paying monthly installments to the homeowner without the lending institution’s knowledge of the transaction, or, similar to title fraud, a seller financing agreement could occur without the actual homeowners knowledge.
When it comes to recognizing mortgage fraud, DeLuca encourages brokers to trust their instincts. “You are experts in your field, as mortgage brokers, so you can tell when something feels off, even when the conduct in and of itself may not be indicative of a crime – sometimes it just doesn’t feel right.”
About Fraud Prevention Month
Fraud Prevention Month occurs in March every year. It is a month-long campaign with the aim of assisting consumers and businesses in identifying and reporting fraud. According to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, Canadians lost $531 million to fraud in 2022. Visit their website for information on common scams and other resources.
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Industry updates, news, and content to help you elevate your mortgage broker business.