“One of my pet peeves has always been inexperienced people and part-timers in the industry; I think fees should be higher to make it more difficult to become a broker,” George Christopoulos of The Mortgage Centre told MortgageBrokerNews.ca. “I would pay extra licensing and educational fees – look at the cost to be a Realtor. If you’re a good broker you’re making a good dollar and if it’s going to cost you three or four times the amount of fess it’s a tax writeoff anyway. The part-timers are just doing too much damage [to the reputation of the industry].
“Take more of a real estate model and drive up the professionalism of the industry.”
The Mortgage Broker Regulators’ Council of Canada (MBRCC) conducted a survey this past September -- that included responses from 1,113 mortgage brokers in Alberta, Ontario and Newfoundland -- that found that 55 per cent of brokers in Ontario admitted brokering mortgages was not their primary source of income. It also found that only 34 per cent of those surveyed have been licensed for at least five years.
Further, only 40 per cent of those polled admitted to doing their own industry-related research to keep up-to-date on trends and mortgage products.
“Without any financial training you should not be in this industry,” Christopoulos said. “If I’m not in the office every day I have no clue what’s going on because everything changes so quickly.”
But will forcing mortgage brokers to pay more fees increase the professionalism of those currently operating in the industry? Not according to one broker who has first-hand knowledge about how both the Realtor and broker industries operate.
“Do I agree with that? Not really. I think ethics come from somewhere different than that and one of the problems we have with mortgage brokers is that most of them are there just in it for the commission today; they don’t really care where the client is going to be three to five years from today,” Omer Quenneville, who operates as both a mortgage broker and real estate agent told MortgageBrokerNews.ca. “They’re not counting on that repeat, referral business and that’s not something you can change with increased licensing fees or educational requirements, in my opinion.”
Brokers often complain about the prevalence of part-time brokers and one industry professional has suggested higher fees and emulating the real estate agent model could rectify the problem.