Battle back against rate sites, analyst urges

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Don’t obsess over the disruptive nature of rate comparison sites, says one industry analyst and speaker for the upcoming Mortgage Summit – instead create your own disruption and make your own waves in the channel.
“I'm less concerned about how mortgage professionals and brokerages who choose the discount rate model are or are not wrecking the industry,” says Greg Williamson, the founder of 180 Degrees Solutions. “I think they are disrupting the industry, and I think that is fantastic. Market disruption is an excellent business strategy.”
Still, Williamson sees too many brokers getting beat up on rates and losing deals to the banks. They’re also overlooking the opportunities to build relationships and new clients through the Realtor network.
“My job as someone in an industry that is being disrupted is to either join them or create my own disruption to compete, but it never should be about me criticizing them for what they are doing.
“It helps the Realtor if you can take off their desk two or three deals and make them happen – you become the solution to the problem.”
Williamson, as a speaker at the upcoming Mortgage Summit in Toronto, May 9 and 10 at the Toronto Congress Centre, will urges brokers to abandon the strategy of depending on rate sites, and instead find new and creative ways to attract clients. It’s a strategy founded on believing in oneself.
“Mortgage professionals for some time have told themselves the story that a client’s primary concern is rate,” says Greg Williamson, a Calgary-based broker. “Of course I could also tell myself the story that clients will do business with me, pay higher rates with me, and value my strategic mortgage planning and intelligent sales process.  Whatever story I want to believe is what will come true for me and for my clients.”
Although Williamson encourages brokers to stop obsessing over rate sites, he doesn’t paint them as abominations in the mortgage channel. If anything, he feels they’ve provided a good kick in the pants to the industry.
“I think going forward in this new business cycle, one with slowing real estate markets, virtually no refinances, and a tough pricing competitive market, there is only two ways I can win: Be the cheapest, or be the best,” he told “I routinely ask mortgage professionals, ‘What would your business have to look like, and what would your sales process look like, if you were selling mortgages at considerably higher prices than your competitors?’  
Then I tell them, ‘Great. Now go build that.’”

Williamson will host a Lunch and Learn presentation at the upcoming Mortgage Summit, free to all registered delegates. Space is limited. To reserve your place at the event on May 9 and 10, 2013, visit


  • Jim T, Advent Mortgage Services on 2013-04-02 6:09:54 PM

    Why can't someone be both the cheapest and the best? These are not mutually exclusive events. Just because someone is providing low rates does not mean they are not providing "strategic mortgage planning and intelligent sales processes". In today's competitive market, a broker needs to provide both to win the business. Quick question: when you purchased your last car, did you not demand and expect the best service/experience and price? I rest my case.

  • Leonidas on 2013-04-03 8:09:33 AM

    Why can't someone be both the cheapest and the best?

    Exactly!! To many brokers think that if you are buying down rates, you must not be offering value to your clients.

    Well said Jim

  • Alta Broker on 2013-04-09 11:57:45 AM

    And its free!! 'nuff said.

  • James Shinners on 2013-04-11 6:19:38 AM

    Jim, using your car analogy, the real question is "are you selling Mercedes or Kias?" If you want to sell Mercedes, you have to present and act like you're selling a more expensive item with considerable value added, and if you're selling Kias, then you have to be the low price leader. Different clients look for different things and are willing to pay a higher price for the better product/service. So, pick a niche and market accordingly. Neither strategy is wrong, but Kia buyers don't want to pay a high price and Mercedes buyers don't expect to pay the lowest price.

  • Ron Butler on 2013-04-11 9:20:26 AM

    I completely agree with Mr. Shinners, some clients need a huge amount of help and a ton of lender review to get to the right solution.

    That being said; it's not always Kia versus Mercedes. Sometimes its just Mercedes versus same Mercedes for less money.

    The fact is some lenders let the Broker discount to the bone. So if Broker A is offering First Nat at 2.89% and Broker B is 2.74% First Nat same term. Well, nuff said.

  • Paul Therien - CENTUM on 2013-04-12 10:58:33 AM

    I've said it before, and I will keep on saying it. The mortgage industry in Canada was built on rate - we have been competing on rate for decades. I have seen brokers across Canada for the last 20 years market the tag line “We can beat the banks” – it is our reality and it seems like there are many people who are in denial of that history. We, brokers and lenders, have sold the consumer on the concept that the lower the rate the better the mortgage. Do I think or believe that is correct? No, I do not – but we did a very good job of convincing the consumer that it is the right thing to look at. We needed an edge to sell to the consumer, and rate was our edge in the 80’s, 90’s and 00’s – just as it was an edge to market ourselves as the place you went when the banks said NO back in the 70’s and 80’s.

    In fact we are still recovering from the “lender of last resort” image… and we will more challenged to change the consumers mind about rate simply because the banks spend millions marketing low rates, pay the mortgage off faster, etc.

    Do we need to start making the shift and educating our customers? Yes we do… but we should not be too quick to judge brokers that continue to sell low rates. Remember, this is a monster we created for ourselves.

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