Agent: Re-licensing could cull broker numbers by 10%

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Re-licensing requirements for Ontario could instantly decrease the number of mortgage professionals by as much as 10 per cent said a new agent, although the loss of young entrants discouraged by the slow economy and tight market may be a good thing.

“As an agent who’s been in the business for only 16 months, I think re-licensing requirements may be the thing that pushes a large number of new agents who have been struggling or are already inactive over the edge,” Leon Blackman, with Verico The Mortgage Practice, told “Having to pay for the course and having to take it may be just enough to discourage agents who are ambivalent about the industry from renewing. But that loss may be a good thing in the sense that those people are obviously not committed, otherwise, they would take the re-education.”

Blackman is pegging that possible loss at 8 per cent to 10 per cent of Ontario’s current roster of mortgage professionals. That number stood at 11,581 in April, representing a 27 per cent jump from the year-ago period. It’s from those ranks of new agents that the industry is most likely to see shrinkage, he said.

Blackman’s number is in line with the estimates of  season broker Peter Majthenyi, the lead planner with Mortgage Architects telling that the slowing, yet increasingly competitive Canadian market will not only cull the number of new entrants to the broker industry, but thin the existing ranks by as much as five per cent.

While brokers four or more years in the business have weathered the economic slowdown affecting most of the country, new agents have borne the full brunt of that tighter real estate market as originations become fewer and farther in between and young mortgage professionals find themselves without the kind of established portfolios needed to grow refis and switches.

Those challenges have exacerbated difficulties for new agents, said Blackman, suggesting many are prepared to leave the business rather than commit to a re-licensing course and pay re-licensing fees by March 31, 2012.

It also means the province may see a net loss of agents for the first time in five years.

The mandatory education requirement is designed to improve broker compliance with provincial laws, and through online or in-class courses will bring Ontario professionals in line with their counterparts in Alberta and British Columbia. They already submit to similar education requirements as a condition for license renewal in those provinces.

Still, the loss of young blood may be reduced by CAAMP’s move to offer its online course free of charge for members. Others of the three remaining course providers are expected to follow suit.

Blackman is prepared to take the course and re-license with or without that helping hand. "I'm committed to staying in the industry," said the new agent, increasingly turning to social media and the Internet to stir up leads and consumer awareness about his chosen profession.

  • Christopher on 2011-10-05 3:21:52 AM

    It may 'cull' some of the 'old breed' as well who never had to pass a course in the first place to obtain a license and an AMP accreditation.

  • Joe Salloum on 2011-10-05 4:11:33 AM

    It is sad to hear such comments regarding new agents reduction as a good thing. It is the old agents that never took any course to be licensed that need to take this course and be re-educated on Provincial Laws and Ethics in the business. CAAMP and IMBA should focus on getting the bank mortgage specialists to follow provincial laws and be licensed too.

  • Old Breed on 2011-10-05 4:15:04 AM

    Chrissy...When you do business long enough, keep your customers happy, make a few mistakes, abide by the rules & make enough money to stay in this business long enough to be part of the OLD BREED, you to can consider yourself a success.

    In the meantime, you "gradee ate" of a 5 day course, sorry 7 days, cause you "is" a for real AMP, you might be wise to keep your eyes, ears & mind open, & your mouth shut, & your backside against the wall, because you might just learn something that may make you an Old Breed, someday.

  • Loretta Tuff on 2011-10-05 4:36:31 AM

    Yes, what about the old agents, that do an excellant job and have No time to take this course, Not fair by any means!!!

  • AB Mortgage Broker on 2011-10-05 4:40:03 AM

    Old Breed-well said! lol

    As an 'old breed' myself, i think it's high time we cull the heard and increase the professionalism in our industry, whether the culling is 'old breed' or not. Personally, I feel it's those who came into the industry when time were good thinking they could make a million bucks. For any culling to be done effectively, the big brokerage houses, DLC, Mortgage Alliance, MI, Invis, Mortgage Architects, etc... have to quit bringing on anyone with a pulse. It's time to change that mentality! It's time to make better judgments moving forward.

    On with the mortgage revolution!

  • L Rachlin on 2011-10-05 4:44:59 AM

    There is too wide an educational disparity between being an Agent and a Broker. Agents who chose not to complete the mortgage broker's course within a timely fashion, should lose their license to practice. FSCO has made it far too easy for the lowest common denominator to hold themselves out as mortgage professionals.

  • Christopher on 2011-10-05 5:56:12 AM

    I am of the 'old breed' myself, but that hasn't stopped me from learning all I can about my business. Most of the CE courses I take are graded in order to pass, and I don't bother as a matter of principal attending events that gives CE credits just for showing up.

    It wouldn't trouble me in the least to see either old or new agents - and preferably lenders as well to have to repeat the course to keep their job. It might remind them that education should be forever.

  • Liz on 2011-10-05 6:35:33 AM

    I think the most important piece we are missing here is, lets unite as a group for goodness sakes. For once I would like to see us all on the same page and actually "representing" a united front. Get the part timers out however!

  • Claire Drage on 2011-10-05 9:02:44 AM

    I agree with you Liz... its about us growing our market share as an industry as a whole and elevating the level of professionalism whether your brand new or you've been in the industry for many years. Let's face it the biggest hurdle here is the actual cost of re-licensing and CE courses that could potentially "cull". This naturally attrition will remove the part-timers who can't afford to stay in our industry. I am all for this.. if someone can't invest or afford a few hundred bucks to maintain their licensing (whether you agree with the type of CE or education required or not), then they wont survive in our industry at all anyway. More emphasis on better hiring and coaching these new agents is more important to ensure they aren't taken on just cause they have a heartbeat, but because they could actually make it!

  • Linda on 2011-10-05 9:33:26 AM

    You don't have time? or have some sense of entitlement about being in the industry for a long time? I don't understand this mentality and to me only begs the question - what are you afraid of? You should pass any exam standing on your head without studying if you have been in the business so long that you know it all. I say bring it on. If I can't pass .. shame on me then. We can't expect professionalism and not apply an expected standard to it.

  • Ontario Broker on 2011-10-06 12:14:42 AM

    a) there are "part-timers" out there that make more money than alot of "full-timers"
    b) you can not legally discriminate against part-time vs full-time. If they pass the courses & pay the dues, they keep the license. Many years ago the real estate industry tried to eliminate part-timers & was shot down in flames.
    c)Blame CAAMP for the low level of education in Ontario. They want to keep the banks & the mega brokers happy with lots of "not too educated" agents.
    d) part-timers are , in a way, good for the industry. They help spread the cost of licensing & education across more registrants.
    e)Some people want to work their way into the business, over time, or want to "try it" before they "buy into it".Probably individuals who are intelligent, pro-active thinkers.That said I think the "mega brokers" need to be audited by the regulators to prove that they can properly manage & oversee hundreds or thousands of agents/brokers.
    f)To the lady that hasn't got time to take courses. Sorry sweetie,I don't care if you are new breed or old breed, if you haven't got time to learn about your chosen profession, you are, in my opinion, not a professional,no matter how many deals a year you do. I'd hire a part-timer with the right attitude over you, any day.

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