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Manulife One: modern innovation meets old school charm

How mortgage broker Nick L’Ecuyer serves his community from within.

Photo of Nick L'ecuyer

People in the market for mortgage and financial advice in Simcoe County (Ontario) can look forward to receiving some

‘old school’ service from mortgage broker, Nick L’Ecuyer.

While the trend for financial institutions is to become more virtual, Nick’s firm, Mortgage Wellness takes the opposite approach. His family-run business operates small retail locations in each of the communities it serves. It’s here where customers are welcome to bring their families and even their dogs to enjoy a cup of coffee and sit down with an expert who lives in their community, to have an honest chat about their finances. 

“It’s a really old school approach,” says L’Ecuyer. “A lot of mortgage brokers are going 100 per cent virtual. They’re saying, ‘we don’t need an office,’ and we’re saying, ‘would you like to come in for a latte?’ That’s us in a nutshell.” 

L’Ecuyer adds that Mortgage Wellness doesn’t aspire to be the number one brokerage in Canada, or even Ontario, but is wholly focused on being a household name within Simcoe County. 

The value of in-person advice  

There’s a common perception that today’s customers, especially young people, prefer to interact with their financial institutions over virtual platforms. But L’Ecuyer has found the opposite to be true. He says that while millennials may prefer to use their phones to shop for concert tickets, groceries or cosmetics, they’re craving a personal relationship with a trusted advisor for major decisions. 

“What we’re finding is my parents’ generation want to do everything by phone and text, but the younger generation—primarily first-time home buyers— really, really value in-person advice. I think that has a lot to do with the fact that younger generations don’t have a relationship with a banker like our parents do.” 

L’Ecuyer adds that Mortgage Wellness is seeking to fill that gap, offering holistic financial advice to clients who are looking for that personal connection.  

Personal connections 

When families come to Mortgage Wellness, L’Ecuyer says he’s proud to introduce them to his own.  

His father is a partner, and even though his parents have been divorced for 25 years, his mother works there too, answering the phone and working as a client concierge.  

L’Ecuyer’s wife is involved as well, and makes a regular habit of bringing their kids to the office; his brother runs a separate company down the hall; and colleagues who aren’t biologically related are treated like family. 

Mortgage Wellness is one of few brokerages in the country to establish an ownership share structure that gives some of the longest-standing employees a stake in the business. 

“We’re a family-owned company, we’re a small partnership group, we’re an employee-owned company, and we want to help other families in our community,” he said. “People say all the time, ‘we just love seeing your family there’ and most of them aren’t even related to us!” 

Client solutions  

L’Ecuyer says he and his staff spend a lot of time working with clients to improve their financial standing, which doesn’t necessarily lead to the sale of a mortgage – and that’s the point. 

“I met with a client three weeks ago and I had this whole financial strategy for him for the next 10 years, and he’s like, ‘okay, but how do you make money?’ and I was like ‘we just do the mortgage,’” recalls L’Ecuyer. “I said, ‘hasn’t your bank done this for you?’ and we both just kind of chuckled. It really is holistic financial advice – and also, we do mortgages.” 

As he seeks to help his community members get a better grasp on their finances, L’Ecuyer says those conversations often lead back to Manulife One, a solution that saves customers money by combining a range of financial services. 

“It’s quite literally the only solution that we have as mortgage brokers to really wrap our arms around the client and say, ‘I can help with all facets of this—your bank account, your mortgage, your Visa—and it’s going to save you a ton of money,’” said L’Ecuyer. “I love Manulife One for all those reasons. I’m a Manulife client myself; it quite literally changed my family’s financial situation, and I teach my clients how to do the same thing.” 

Personally, L’Ecuyer says Manulife One helped streamline his family’s personal finances, ensuring he and his wife have the money they need when they need it without the stress that comes with managing multiple accounts. Professionally, he believes it’s the most effective solution for furthering his goal of becoming the go-to source for financial advice in his community. 

“At the top of the Manulife statements it says my name and my phone number; they put me front and centre,” he says. “They are also a high trust, high integrity organization, and that’s why we align so well.” 

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