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Thomas Squires is a CMA Finalist for Lender Underwriter of the Year

Ten Questions with Thomas Squires, finalist for CMA’s Lender Underwriter of the Year Award

We are thrilled to announce that Tom is a finalist in the upcoming Canadian Mortgage Awards! Tom has been underwriting for over 21 years now, including eight years with Optimum and one with Canadian Western Bank. If you are located in Northern Ontario, Eastern Ontario, or Atlantic Canada, and most recently Central GTA, you are probably well-aware of Tom’s enthusiasm and ‘can do’ attitude.

Here’s a bit more about Tom, in his own words:

1. You’ve been underwriting for 21 years now. What do you enjoy most about the position and the underwriters you work with?
“I love the fact that I am ultimately helping someone better their financial position.  Helping to give someone more economic freedom from where they are now is very rewarding. I also enjoy the challenge of putting a deal together. No deal is the same, so I need to weigh out the pros and cons, then find the best fit.”

2. Based on your background, what have you found that many brokers look for in an underwriter?
“I’ve found that many brokers want someone to listen to them and evaluate the application on its own merit—without pre-judging. If I’m handling a difficult deal, I like to be able to say, ‘We may not be able to do this deal the way that you wanted it originally, but here is an alternative solution that should work…’”

3. What’s a favourite story you have from your time at Optimum?
It was the year the Boston Bruins played the Vancouver Canucks in the Stanley Cup Final. Canada vs. The United States. A show-down for the ages. I, of course, took Boston to win the cup. Our Vice President, Lester Shore, took Vancouver as a proud Canadian. The stakes were high - the loser had to sing the other countries national anthem in front of all of Optimum Mortgage, dressed in costume of the winner’s choice.

Since I know my hockey, the Bruins won the cup. I’m not sure what I was more excited for, the Bruins winning, or the chance to see Les sing to everyone. I decided that Les had to dress up as Uncle Sam and sing the star spangled banner. There is a video of this somewhere, but I won’t subject him to showing it to the world, or my ears to hearing that again.

4. What are you most looking forward to at the Canadian Mortgage Awards?
“I’m excited to see the people I’ve worked with for the last eight years, I was fortunate to meet them at last year’s awards, so now it’s like catching up with old friends. It will also be great to see the Ontario BDM’s as I recently started underwriting for one of them.”

5. Words to live by?
“Work hard and get rewarded” is an important mantra for me, and I believe my hard work is paying off as I’ve been nominated two years in a row for Underwriter of the Year. It’s great to see other people recognizing my hard work to help them get their deals done.”

6. If you had the chance to have dinner with anyone (living or deceased) who would it be and why?
Donald Trump, I just find him to be an interesting person. I want to know why he says what he says, he doesn’t have a filter, much like me. For all the good things he says, he slips and says one stupid thing. I want to figure him out.

7. Do you have any hobbies?
Golfing, shooting pool, anything to keep me active

8. Who is your favourite hockey team? 
Dallas Stars, I’m from Texas, so I have to represent the home team during the playoffs!

9. What is one skill you wish you had but you don’t? 
I actually have two skills that I wish I have but I don’t. I wish I could carry a tune, I can’t sing, clap or hum. I wish I could filter myself better, I need to think before I speak, words just come right out of my mouth. 

10. What is your most over-used phrase?
Fair enough