First Foundation
By YP Contributor

A Way to Help First-Time Homebuyers

Being a first-time homebuyer can be stressful. First Foundation began as a less stressful way to help homebuyers find the best mortgage. Prior to starting the company in 2002, Gordon McCallum had never heard of a mortgage broker. After asking a friend what he would do if he had the opportunity to start a business, Gordon took his friend's advice and began researching mortgage brokerage.

“About two weeks later, I was convinced,” says Gordon, an Alberta School of Business alumnus. “I thought that this was something that consumers needed and I thought it was something that I would use if I were a first-time homebuyer and I was starting to think about shopping for a mortgage.”

Over the years, we listened and learned from our clients – what they needed, what their process was like, where the bottlenecks were. - Gordon McCallum, owner and president
First Foundation was founded by owner Gordon McCallum in 2002 as a mortgage brokerage, and has grown from there.
Gordon McCallum started First Foundation as a mortgage brokerage in 2002, and has since grown the company to include financial planning and insurance brokerage.

Own, Grow, Protect

As time went by, Gordon paid close attention to what his clients went through when they bought their first home. “Over the years, we listened and learned from our clients – what they needed, what their process was like, where the bottlenecks were,” says Gordon. First Foundation evolved and grew to accommodate clients' needs and convenience. “We talked to them and decided we would start to offer more and more in-house, so they could do everything in one place and keep it nice and simple."

In 2012, First Foundation started offering general insurance brokerage, which covers home, auto and commercial insurance. A financial division came next, in 2014, to offer clients financial planning and group benefits as well as life, disability and critical illness insurance. “First Foundation is very unique in the sense that we’ve combined three separate types of brokerage,” says Gordon. “Usually, you’ll find a company that does one of those things. We’re one of the few in Canada that does all three, and that gives us a real strategic advantage and a way to better provide services for our clients.”

First Foundation employees experts in mortgage brokerage, insurance and financial planning.
First Foundation is a unique, independent brokerage that offers three separate types of brokerage under one roof.

An Emphasis on Service First

First Foundation is also unique because of their service model. While many brokerage firms use the same model as realtor businesses - one where a company hires dozens of employees, all responsible for finding clients and working on commission - First Foundation hires salaried employees who also receive some commission. “It’s a different service model that puts the emphasis on service instead of finding clients,” explains Gordon.

The mortgage and insurance brokers also don’t charge clients any fees. Instead, they receive compensation from the lender or insurance company. “The great thing is that they really have access to our independence and our advice for nothing,” says Gordon. “Our decision on how to choose a mortgage lender or an insurance company really comes down to what the best fit is for the client – what they need, what’s important to them, what the terms and conditions look like." Gordon adds that if the rates are the same, First Foundation will usually choose the company with the best reputation for customer service.

First Foundation has a unique service model, which includes having salaried employees.
The company prides themselves on their award-winning customer service.

Award-Winning Service

Despite the company’s small size, First Foundation has been nominated for countless awards, including Mortgage Brokerage of the Year, Mortgage Broker of the Year and Top Internet Presence. Two staff members have been finalists for the FDS Broker Services Award for Best Newcomer, Individual Agent/Broker at the Canadian Mortgage Awards, with one taking home the prize in 2014. The company has won awards for CMP Magazine Award for Best Branding, FirstLine Mortgages Award for Best Internet Presence and Diversifier of the Year. Gordon has been honoured with the Accredited Mortgage Professional of the Year award.

Gordon says it is the customer service awards that mean the most to him. “We’ve been a two-time finalist for Top Customer Service in the country at the Canadian Mortgage Awards, and that’s my favourite one, for sure,” says Gordon. “Even though we haven’t won it, we’ve been a runner-up twice, so that keeps us motivated to continue to improve. That’s a huge honour because there are a lot of mortgage brokers out there, so we’re very proud of that one.”

First Foundation, located in Capilano, has been nominated for countless awards.
First Foundation has expanded from its humble beginnings in Old Strathcona to its current office in Capilano.
Close menu