Some businesses measure success by giving their customers 100 per cent.
Not Jill Pollack.
She’s happiest when she’s giving customers less than 100 per cent. Far less. In fact, if she gives you, oh, say, 0.25 per cent or even a smidge lower, she’s elated.
And you should be too. Because, in Pollack’s biz, less is more.
She’s a mortgage broker.
Most people are familiar with Canada’s Big Five banks, and the mortgage services their loan officers provide.
Pollack is a little like that, sans bank.
Like a loan officer, she’ll get you a mortgage.
But while a loan officer sells the bank’s products, a mortgage broker links the buyer and a lender – any lender, anywhere. If they nail down the deal, the lender pays them a finder’s fee for their trouble. The buyer pays nothing, says Pollack.
So she tracks down cheap money and then offers it to you so you can buy that house you’ve always wanted.
It’s always about the interest rate, she says.
“The lending channels that are available to mortgage brokers are lending channels that are available to no one else,” she says. “So there are special, separate lending arms that we have access to that guarantee us the best interest rates in the market place.
“And that’s the No. 1 advantage to using a broker.”
Such brokers have been around for awhile, but they weren’t always able to tap wholesale money markets, like bankers.
When that changed, starting in the 1980s, the playing field leveled and brokers could compete.
Today, they make up a significant chunk of the mortgage market.
Pollock got into the business in 2000, lured by her sister.
She dove into the Calgary real-estate market.
“I was young, in my early 30s and I wanted to do something new, right,” she says. “So I was looking at better career and I wanted the option of self employment.
“I got my feet in the water and loved it. I had an aptitude for the brokering and I stayed in it.”
Ten years later, she moved back to Whitehorse, her hometown, where she once trained horses and worked in a print shop.
“The real reason I opened a shop here is, like, I’m really passionate about the fact that people should not pay too much interest.
“And it seems kind of ridiculous, but I saw that our community had a need for better financing and I thought I’d give it try and see if there’s community support and try to offer better options for people – that’s the bottom line, try to inject new ideas into our community.”
Now, months ahead of schedule, she’s opening up a storefront office, Jill Pollack and Associates Mortgage Professionals, on Strickland Street.
While they seem to be competing for business, Pollack says she’s built a good partnership with the local banks and loan officers. “We’re feeding each other a lot of business.”
She also works closely with realtors and home builders.
Talk with her for awhile, and you’ll discover she’s got a pretty good handle on the local, national and international mortgage markets.
As for Whitehorse, the housing market here is solid, she says. There are plenty of well-employed people in the community working for Northwestel, the Yukon government, the Yukon Hospital Corp. and other companies, large and small.
It makes for a stable market, she says.
Using Pollack, you get a one-stop shop. She can cite the rates offered by any lending institution, saving you several separate appointments. As well, she can shield your credit history from being pulled by several different lenders, which can, in some cases, lower your credit rating.
She can also tap pools of money that a single lender can’t. And she’ll handle many of the deal particulars, including appraisals.
Pollack can do all this in your own kitchen, if you want.
She makes the complicated home-buying business sound easy.
“It’s a great time to buy,” she says. “Get in now. The rates are low and it’s a good investment.
“Just go buy a house. People should do it.”
Contact Richard Mostyn at