Canada’s mortgage brokers are voicing concerns that negative press in the United States is hurting their business, and their reputations.
The findings are a result of a survey of over 500 Canadian mortgage brokers conducted by the Real Estate and Mortgage Institute of Canada (REMIC), which found that 72 per cent feel that they are being inaccurately tarnished by their American counterparts. Broken down by province the numbers varied however, with 80 per cent in Ontario, 78 per cent in BC and 56 per cent in Alberta agreeing with the statement.
“Canadians have been inundated with stories of how mortgage brokers in the United States, due to questionable business practices, contributed to the American mortgage meltdown,” said REMIC President Joseph White. ”Canadian mortgage brokers typically employ sound business practices, are highly regulated and ongoing surveys show that their customers exhibit high levels of customer satisfaction, a far different experience than what has been reported in the United States.
“The survey further indicates that Canadian brokers want to see a more accurate reflection in Canadian media of the uniquely Canadian experience, a reflection that has been overshadowed by the negative reports about their American counterparts.”
Dave Larock a mortgage planner with TMG The Mortgage Group said that while he personally hasn’t encountered this reaction, he knows it’s unfair for Canadian brokers to be tarred with the same brush as U.S. brokers. “It`s every Canadian broker`s job to ensure that customers understand that just because we share the same job description it doesn`t mean that we have anything more in common with U.S. brokers.”
For Vince Gaetano, vice president and principal broker at MonsterMortgage.ca, the issue is ensuring clients are informed. “The two styles of business are completely different. As an industry participant, every mortgage agent in Canada needs to be able to explain the differences to any client that has a concern about the negative press south of the border and I don’t think there are many clients that have this negative impression.”
He also thinks some in the industry are using the bad press as an excuse. “I believe that the majority of our industry [doesn’t educate the customer] and as a result, they simply blame the negative press from the US for our shrinking market share.”
Martin Marshall, the chair of IMBA’s communication committee, doesn’t believe brokers have anything to worry about. “While IMBA is somewhat concerned that the negative press that U.S. Mortgage Brokers are continuing to receive may have a negative effect on our members’ businesses in the short term, we are confident that Canadians will continue to use the services of licensed mortgage professionals, who follow a strict code of conduct.”