Defending the professionalism of today’s mortgage brokers

The other day while picking some fruit at the grocery store I overheard some friends discussing a home purchase and one of them said that they were thinking of using a mortgage broker to obtain their mortgage. The reply was “Why would you use a mortgage broker, I’ve only had unprofessional experiences with them?” This isn’t what I like hearing about my profession so I gracefully went over and apologized about overhearing their conversation then politely defended our profession.

They kindly accepted my explanation and I offered my card should they have any questions, and gestured it wasn’t in any way to take away from the referral they already had, so as not to seem overbearing and greedy. But if their experience was like their friends’ previous incident they had my info to obtain a different perspective and experience.

Our industry has come a long way since the late 70s and 80s whereas mortgage brokers were engendered as Herb Tarlek’s, often called sleazy, greedy, Guido-like loan sharks. As time has passed our industry has changed drastically, organizing professional associations, both federally and provincially and we’ve also brought on regulation to our industry likening ourselves to the insurance profession.

Since the mid 80s, our industry has gone from organizing only 2-3% of the mortgages in the country to well over 30% in the most recent years. Mortgage Brokers have access to almost every large bank in the country (exceptions being, BMO, CIBC, RBC, even though some of these lenders secretly fund mortgage lenders) plus we have credit unions and mortgage lenders like First National that holds over $30 billion in Canadian mortgages.

Everyday our associations fight to ensure that mortgage brokers and agents are kept to the industry’s highest standards by showing integrity and ethics in every mortgage transaction and conversation one has with the public.

In every profession there’s going to be a few bad apples that will try and rot the core. And now with over 95% of our clientele having great credit, they come to us for the convenience of having almost all banks/lenders at their fingertips, where they know that they’ll get professional advice along with a great rate.

On the flip side we can still help those that are struggling with credit and obtain private mortgages to help save their home, but those private lenders don’t pay a referral fee like the banks so the mortgage broker then has to charge a fee so that he/she can feed their family.

There are mortgage brokerages that only deal with these types of clientele and in the last year we had a client come to us for help after visiting one such brokerage that was charging a total fee of 70% of the mortgage loan. Charging such a high fee is called usury, it’s illegal therefore we reported them to RECA, our governing body as we don’t want these brokers hurting the consumer nor our long-built reputation.

There are over 14,000 mortgage brokers and agents in Canada, and only 8,000 of them registered at least one transaction. These figures alone should tell you that unprofessionalism can creep into our industry as there’s over 6,000 mortgage agents out there parading like they are mortgage professionals because they have a mortgage license.

Just like anything else, if you are searching for a mortgage professional, ensure that you are getting a good one – to me that would mean that you have a few years experience and have handled at least 30 transactions in a year.

Jean-Guy Turcotte is an Accredited Mortgage Professional with Dominion Lending Centres- and can be reached for appointments at 403-343-1125, texted to 403-391-2552 or emailed to jturcotte@regionalmortgage.ca

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