"Don't go at it alone"
With nine years of high-level industry experience under his belt, Bekim Merdita of Edison Financial weighs in on where a mortgage professional will find many of the answers that they are looking for.
“My favourite thing to do besides spending time with my family is reading. I read and/or listen to over 100 books a year,” the Edison Financial executive told Canadian Mortgage Professional. “Most of my reading is non-fiction for the purpose of personal and professional development. However, I do continue to mix in a lot of fiction books because there are always great lessons to be learned in any well-constructed book.”
It is this liberal use of reference materials and resources that Merdita says is one of the major ingredients of long-term success.
“For me, the Charlie Munger quote about reading holds true: ‘In my whole life, I have known no wise people (over a broad subject matter area) who didn’t read all the time – none, zero,’” Merdita said. “Don’t go at it alone. There are resources, groups, and mentors available to help you get started. Be less focused on commission splits and more focused on who is going to invest in your training and development.”
The habit of reading proved to be a robust foundation for Merdita’s career so far.
“I began my career as an associate banker at Quicken Loans, which later became Rocket Mortgage. During my tenure, I earned the title of Triple Crown, Presidents Club Mortgage Banker, and director of mortgage banking in our direct to consumer channel,” Merdita recounted.
“In 2018, I was a part of a small team in Detroit, Michigan that pioneered our national sales team of wholesale lending at QLMS which is now known as Rocket Pro TPO,” he added. “In 2020, I had the privilege of being part of the start-up team for Edison Financial – part of Rocket Companies in Windsor, Ontario – as vice president of sales and business development.”
Merdita believes that this kind of preparation is something that a mortgage professional should be doing on a daily basis – and even more so in his case, considering that “the mortgage business [essentially] found me,” he said.
“It took a friend introducing me to the business to find it,” Merdita said. “It’s not something school counsellors pitch to kids as a potential career option, which is unfortunate because it’s an extremely rewarding career. We have the opportunity to help people achieve the dream of homeownership while providing a living for ourselves and our loved ones.”
This ethos of continuous self-improvement is reflected in what Edison Financial brings to the table, Merdita said.
“I have worked hard to become a strong leader of myself and others by bringing our great culture into everything we do,” Merdita said. “At Edison Financial, we live by our -isms – a set of core beliefs that guide our teams and our decision making.”
“The other thing I focus on is the building of an organization that is optimized for scale. Working for Rocket for many years afforded me the privilege to see how wonderful as well as completely necessary systems and processes are in a growing company,” he added. “Creating things with scalability and repeatability in mind allows a company to grow quickly. Great people can then refine and enhance those systems as the scaling continues.”
Together, these elements blend into an approach that’s significantly greater than the sum of its components.
“Great culture that is spread by great people with a common mission creates magic. For anyone who has ever been a part of an amazing team, they’ve experienced this level of synergy which is often difficult to describe,” Merdita said. “It’s exhilarating and fun for everyone involved. It allows our team to band together and work harder to achieve our goal transforming the client experience when obtaining a mortgage.”
So far, the strategy is paying off great dividends for Merdita’s business.
“My favourite accomplishment is going from a kid looking for a job to turning myself into a seasoned mortgage professional. I now have the fortune of being able to focus my attention on building a company which provides opportunities for so many others,” he said. “Since we began servicing clients in March of 2020, we’ve added over 100 additional team members in technology, sales, marketing, operations, and other areas.”