Weighing the benefits of mortgage brokers

Weighing the benefits of mortgage brokers

The mortgage brokerage industry often times takes a lot of heat from the banks, mostly the employees that work at the branch level – as usually their employer works with mortgage brokers either directly or indirectly on an investment level. So it’s nice to hear of an author outside of our industry trumpeting our benefits.

Bruce Sellery, author of Moolala, says that going back to your bank primarily because you’ve been a customer there “forever” is “zombie behaviour.” He made these comments while appearing on the Lang & O’Leary Exchange on the 13th of August. He added, “A lot of people would say its loyalty. I would say it’s lazy.”

Sellery speaks of getting the most bang for your buck, and see what other opportunities are out there for you regarding lenders and rates – it could potentially cost you thousands of dollars for misguided loyalty.

Following are some excerpts from the show:

“You can be loyal to a restaurant you love because they treat you right, but don’t be loyal to your bank because you like the person there…it can make a profound difference in the rate you pay.”

“Mortgage brokers work for you, versus the bank mortgage specialist who works for the bank and offers the products of the bank. Don’t let loyalty trump the interest rate.”

“Banks can be competitive. They have deep pockets. But they are competitive when they have to be competitive.”

You can sometimes benefit from keeping all of your business with a bank but you will have to “fight for” that benefit, says Sellery. To be fully objective, he did bring up some questions about the mortgage brokerage model as well.

Understand how brokers make money, he advises. Most brokers make a one-time commission based on the value of the mortgage. They can also receive volume bonuses, trailer fees, and incentives. “The volume bonuses are…the area where I have the biggest question,” Sellery says. He cites a potential “loss of objectivity” resulting from some brokers thinking: “If I hit my volume, I get X.”

All this being said, our job is to look out for your best interest (pun intended), both on the rate side and also on the service side. Do the lender’s guidelines match your needs? Is the rate competitive with everyone else’s? What other terms and conditions are included? To be fully objective a good mortgage agent will search out all the criteria in the market place and give you the best options out there. All the bank branches can do is provide you with only one option, and that’s their own.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not here to bash the banks, I’m here just to provide the alternative voice to what I hear from some of my clients for what they hear from the branch. No doubt the mortgage industry has some problems, but they usually stem from the novice mortgage agents that have come from the outside without any prior training other than the course that the Real Estate Council of Alberta provides. Like I said in the past, if you are going to hire a professional, make sure you get a good one. We aren’t that hard to find.

Jean-Guy Turcotte is an Accredited Mortgage Professional with Dominion Lending Centres- Regional Mortgage Group and can be contacted for appointments at 403-343-1125 or emailed to jturcotte@regionalmortgage.ca , or visit www.jeanguyturcotte.ca

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