It was over a cup of coffee during the summer 2006 when Kelly Curtis and her future business partner, Stephen Gagnon, decided to start a mortgage brokerage.
“Steph, was vacationing in Victoria from Timmons, Ontario. He called me to get together for coffee and over those couple of hours we both discovered we were looking for a change. We wanted the same things both professionally and personally, so we decided to join together and form Canadian Mortgage Designers Inc,” says Kelly.
“Our office is committed to offering the highest quality of professional services to our clients, real estate agents, solicitors and other related associates in the industry,” she adds. “We all know the industry is great with the first transaction; however maintaining that client for the duration of their mortgage is our main goal. We want clients to come back to us for all their mortgage needs, as well as any future transactions they may have. Similarly, our clients are our best referral sources, and we want them to recommend our services to their relatives and closest friends.”
With over 18 years of experience, Kelly has had experience on both the lender and broker side.
“Not only did I leave the broker side to go to the lender side, but I moved from the west coast to the east coast to do it! I was already a big fan of Firstline Mortgages when I took a position with them in Toronto; so it was easy to sell their services and products to brokers who might not have known too much about them. Being on the lender side gave me a deeper understanding of the process and the importance of packaging a deal. It gave me a new level of respect for all the hardworking underwriters and their diligence on a daily basis,” she says. “However, I came to realize that I preferred the broker side of the business as it suited my personality much better. That’s why I came back to this side.”
Kelly was also part of MBABC Education Committee that developed a post licensing education program to provide practical information to new brokers. “We all knew the course to get your license wasn’t much of a help when it came to reading a credit bureau, or reviewing an appraisal, even taking an application,” says Kelly. “We really felt the industry could benefit from a course that would teach and give insight to newcomers in the industry so they had some type of formal training. We spent several years on content and eventually it became what is known today as the MBABC Applied Information Course.”
When asked what advice she would give to new brokers, she says, “Be prepared to work hard and treat it like a full time job. Don’t ever lie to or get angry with a lender. Don’t pretend to know all the answers, and be humble enough to learn from others. I myself have been fortunate to work with and learn from some of the finest individuals in the industry during the span of my career. Paul Grewal, Bob Ord, Gord Dahlen, Meini Eckert, Yousry Bissada and Don Barr, just to name a few.”
Kelly says that this industry has enabled her to achieve financial stability and independence however; her true success is measured by family. “I have 2 well-adjusted young men that I have raised and couldn’t be more proud of. I also have 3 sisters that mean the world to me and give me strength like no one else can in this world.
The friends I have in and out of the industry are second to none and I wouldn’t trade them for the world. I am extremely blessed in my personal life and feel grateful for everyone in it.”
Kelly was awarded the #1 Agent in Western Canada and the #3 Agent in Canada for the Mortgage Centre in 2005. She held the position of Ethics Chair and Co-Chair of the Golf Committee from 2003 - 2008 with the BC Mortgage Brokers Association (MBABC) and was Vice President from 2003 to 2005.
Kelly and Steph are also an annual sponsor for Queen Alexandra's Bear Wear. In 2009, Canadian Mortgage Designers Inc. won Sponsor's choice award for their Disney Bear and sent family of 4 to Disney Land.