Aigul Rao: Building connections in alternative lending
Name: Aigul Rao
Role: Mortgage Underwriter with Bridgewater Bank
Years worked in financial services: 15
Work location: Calgary
Superpower: Building strong connections with brokers
One might call Aigul Rao a workaholic, but really, she is dedicated to a job she loves and has a desire to grow and learn every day. Aigul uses her outstanding interpersonal skills to develop relationships with mortgage brokers so she can help find the right mortgage solutions for their clients.
The path to becoming a mortgage underwriter
Q: How did you end up working with Bridgewater Bank?
Aigul: At the beginning of my career, I worked as a teacher, then came to Canada to take some courses. I met someone, and my life went in another direction. Before landing in the insurance industry, I worked in various jobs, working my way up to a supervisor role.
I then left to pursue an opportunity with one of the big banks. I was there for 13 years, again taking on more responsibility over time. I was a manager of mortgage specialists when I left to join Bridgewater Bank.
Q: Why did you decide to work in the mortgage industry?
Aigul: As a financial advisor, I worked with many clients on lending and investments, but I was always drawn to the lending aspect. It inspired me more than other areas of banking. From my point of view, it felt so good to work with a client to help accomplish a goal with a lending solution.
An alt lending career in Calgary
Q: How did you select Bridgewater Bank for your next career move?
Aigul: You know that feeling when you meet someone, and in that first 30 seconds, you feel so comfortable with that person? That is how I felt when I was reading about Bridgewater Bank. I saw the posting for an underwriter position, and I have always wanted to learn more about the operations side of mortgages, so it seemed like the perfect fit!
Q: How do you stay informed about what’s happening in the market, especially in your region?
Aigul: We have a wonderful team here that provides great support. We are constantly connecting and staying updated about what is happening in the industry.
On a personal note
Q: If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?
Aigul: Italy. No question. The sculptures, history and nature inspire me. I daydream of when I can walk those streets, have my coffee, enjoy some pizza, and listen to people speak the language.
Q: What’s your most treasured item?
Aigul: Time is priceless. It is why I never waste it.
Q: If I had the opportunity to pass through your region, what would be your top recommendations for things to do?
Aigul: First, we would stop by Tim Horton’s for a coffee. Then we would go to Fish Creek park, here in Calgary. There is one magical spot where I go when I need time to connect with nature.
Q: Do you want to share some final thoughts about your job?
Aigul: I love being an underwriter. It is like I have a key to unlock doors for people who deserve a second chance to own or refinance their property and improve their financial positions. We all have things in the past that might not fit in a lender’s guidelines, but that should not shape our future.