It goes without saying that the past 12 months has been a tumultuous time for the mortgage market – but have there been any unexpected benefits to this year like no other?
When it comes to client education, the answer might just be ‘yes’.
“There was a silver lining to the pandemic,” muses Natasha Nikulina, client education coordinator at RCN Capital. “We had a lot of time, especially in the beginning of the pandemic, to flesh out our program and decide what we can do with it.”
The program she is referring to is Amplify – RCN’s new and potent evolution in the field of client education, an online portal packed with resources which Nikulina has been hands-on with since inception.
“I am so incredibly proud of what we’ve accomplished with the program,” she said, reflecting on her journey over the past year from business development coordinator to her current role. “We’ve always talked back and forth: what can we do to offer more education? And then we started Amplify last year. I dived headfirst into creating online courses.”
“It’s what we can offer. It’s what we’re capable of doing. So why not?”
Amplify’s courses are aimed at educating brokers on the topics most important to them. It began with a more traditional structure – “giving people an option to take a course, retaking it if they need extra time, mini quizzes to test themselves” – before further evolving into a one-stop resource hub.
“We seriously started thinking and developing outlines as a team to create other types of content. We have document content where people have options to download different templates and different documents that they may come across in the loan process. We’re developing content that discusses the basic habits of being a good broker. We’re also looking into things like general industry knowledge, like definitions of different terms that might be new to people.
“An online program is perfect because we can offer it to many different people who might not necessarily have the time to sit down for a phone call, and they can do it on their own time. And then when they come to us, they have a better understanding of what we can offer them.
“I need to be aware of the level of knowledge of the person I’m talking to. Are they new? Have they done something similar before? So if it’s someone extremely experienced, I don’t really need to explain industry terms – but for someone who’s just started out or doesn’t have any previous industry knowledge, I might need to spend more time on that. Everyone’s different. And you just need to be especially aware of that.”
While the online courses are currently only available to brokers, investor courses are “not off the table”. Taking a more measured approach to rolling out new content, Nikulina adds, allows RCN to “provide more meaningful content as opposed to trying to do everything all at once.”
And while Amplify is a relatively new endeavour, both Nikulina’s and RCN’s passion for client education is already well established.
“I think you really do have to try new things and grow and see where your talents lie,” she reflected. “I think education and providing it has been in the back of everyone’s minds. We’re being proactive about it and saying: hey, we’re developing this educational content and it’s available here for you, come and get it!”