The above word jumped out at us as we were trying to summarize our chat with Ryan MacEwan, an Account Manager for First National in Saskatchewan.
“Tell me more.”
You bet! That’s friendlii.com’s mission: to help great people and great companies in the mortgage industry find, feel, and inspire each other.
the friendlii crew: Ryan, can you tell us three things about First National that people can’t Google?
Ryan: One of the things that may not be obvious when someone Googles us is the great culture we have inside our company.
First National, being one of the largest mono-line companies in the country, is obviously a great place to get a mortgage. But the thing I love about First National is that the company has such a beautiful connection with all of its employees, and it makes us all feel valued. For example, we get personal messages all the time from Stephen Smith, the head of the company.
Another thing that may not be obvious when you Google us is that we’re very down-to-earth people, a place where folks, clients, mortgage brokers, you-name-it can come to talk as friends. We really want everyone to feel comfortable approaching us. 😊
And the third thing, I feel, is that we have this midwestern approach about everything we do. I call it the ‘Saskatchewan approach.’
the friendlii crew: That’s refreshing! 😊 Especially for a financial company. Ryan, you just mentioned this word ‘mono-line.’ For the folks out there who may not be familiar with the mortgage industry, could you please tell us, what does ‘mono-line’ mean to you?
Ryan: In our context, it means a company that only does mortgages. Unlike big banks, which offer car loans, credit cards, lines of credit etc., and who definitely have mortgages on their radar, mono-line companies like First National only do mortgages. It’s the single thing we focus on, and we do it very well. We put all of our energy into creating the best products for your mortgage that we can.
the friendlii crew: If you were to give public tours of your company, what stops would you make?
Ryan: The first stop would have to be our CEO, Stephen Smith, who is one of the most incredible people I’ve ever met. The reason why is that people could talk to him and experience this genuine, down-to-earth, brilliant person who has created the company that we’re all proud of.
The second stop would be seeing our regional offices, to see the people behind the scenes that are working tirelessly for our clients. So many people who make things happen for our clients sometimes get lost in the shuffle.
(Pictured above are some of Ryan’s colleagues in their office in Calgary.)
the friendlii crew: Part of why that is the case, if we may interject, is that there are no venues for those people to shine. Let’s say I was a mortgage broker who felt great about the help I received from an underwriter. There’s no public place for me to give a five-star review to that underwriter.
Ryan: Agreed. We do it internally, we recognize these people who make our company go around internally, but it never gets out to the public. It’s nice to say thanks to those people. While we’re at it, let me give a shoutout to one of our underwriters, Rick Springer. He’s a super nice, humble, and top-notch guy in our office in Calgary.
the friendlii crew: You’re obviously grateful for your team and your ecosystem. Speaking of things we’re grateful for, what was the last thing you were grateful for, Ryan?
Ryan: I’m grateful for my family every single day. My wife and my children mean everything in the world to me.
the friendlii crew: Can you tell us three things about you that people can’t Google?
Ryan: First, I’m a family man. Number two, I believe I’m a genuine person. Number three, hmm…
the friendlii crew: May we give you a hand? Do you have any pets?
Ryan: I do have two cats. I’m a cat guy! 😺 😊
the friendlii crew: See, people would probably not be able to Google that! 😊 What are their names?
Ryan: Their names are Nitro and Roxy!
the friendlii crew: Speaking of things folks may not know about you, what’s your favourite pump-up song and why?
Ryan: My favourite pump-up song is Thunderstruck by AC/DC.
the friendlii crew: Is there a reason why that song?
Ryan: Not really. It just puts a smile on my face and a rocket 🚀 in my heart every time I hear it! I’ve seen them live, and they really give their all. So I love the upbeat energy of the song, and it also represents a little bit of a symbol for my life, I guess, you know, rocking on, giving it all, and enjoying life while we’re here.
the friendlii crew: Agreed! 🎸 Is there one aspect of your job you wish more people talked about?
the friendlii crew: Second last question: should I call or should I type — how do you decide when you deal with colleagues or clients?
Ryan: I actually deal with both very well. I love hearing people’s voices, and you get a sense about how they are feeling. If there’s specific information I have to share, info on which we can’t have any miscues, on a deal maybe, email’s great for that. Because you can make sure that we pass it along exactly as it’s intended, you can go back and reference it, etc.
the friendlii crew: What didn’t we ask you, Ryan, that you really wanted to share?
Ryan: You guys have been very thorough! I love the fact that you put my cats in there. 😊 😺 It’s something that normally doesn’t come out in a financial talk.
I love the fact that you really didn’t ask me a whole lot about dollars and cents stuff. You got past that we’re a financial institution, and you got right into who we are as people and why we do what we do.
That’s beautifully refreshing. I love the openness and the depth of the questions that you asked!
the friendlii crew: Awww… 💝 Thank you, Ryan, and all the best until next time!
p.s. Following our chats, we often ask our guests to do one unexpected and fun activity. For Ryan, we asked him to draw a pie chart of his typical day. Below is his answer.
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