Broker campaign to steal BMO's thunder

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Take that, BMO! A broker is borrowing from the playbook of Canada’s most effective retailers, launched an offer meant to counter the now-infamous 2.99 rate.

“I'm trying to use this story that seems to get all the headlines and is free advertising for BMO to get other brokers across the country to join in and gain some media attention and turn it around,” Mark Norman, a broker with VERICO ACME Mortgage Professionals, told “We can strike while the iron is hot and make our challenge what people are talking about rather than the BMO.”

That “challenge" in many ways mirrors the price-match guarantees of some of the country's most successful retailers.

Norman, a St. John’s mortgage professional, is offering $299 to any clients who bring their BMO offers into his office, allowing him the opportunity to arrange another mortgage focused on bettering their saving.

In fact, “if I can't, I will pay them $299 in cash and they can go back to BMO with my money in their hand and get their mortgage there," he said. “We’re going straight to the client, and challenging the idea that the way to save money is only on rate.”

The offer comes on the heels of BMO’s move this week to re-introduce that 2.99 per cent on a five-year fixed, a limited-time offer meant to get homebuyers through the turnstiles, even as the market cools.

Brokers – and, indeed, other lenders – struggled to capitalize on any uptick in mortgage business prompted by a similar BMO offer in January.

In addition to reaching out to all of his book with the offer -- as well as advertising it on his site -- Norman wants other brokers to get in on the action.

Specifically, he's advocating a more proactive attempt to capture some of BMO’s spotlight, hoping brokers from coast to coast will duplicate his offer and so create the same kind of media buzz as the big bank.

“I figure if we can get the media or CAAMP to recognize the brokers’ reaction to this blatant (BMO move)," he said. "it could yield more awareness of brokers for consumers and show we're prepared to put our money where our mouths are.”

  • Shawn Mooney on 2012-03-10 4:50:45 AM

    Excellent. I think it is a great idea. Pretty easy to show clients the benefits of going elsewhere for their mortgage.

  • Bentley on 2012-03-10 6:31:57 AM

    Second that, great idea.

  • Mark Norman - AMP (ACME Financial) on 2012-03-10 6:40:52 AM

    Some may view this as an expensive challenge, but I don't see that at all. As brokers, we’re constantly telling people that we provide a free service and we have better options. Using that model, we have everything to gain, but only IF the potential client sees value in something that’s free, which is where we all struggle. This challenge puts our value directly in the spotlight, and it ensures we have to prove our abilities, because we have everything to lose. As a non discount broker who uses the Williamson approach to adding value over buying rate. I have choosen to be better, not cheaper, because a cheaper rate doesn’t guarantee savings. If we race to the bottom in that manner, we become the Walmart model of financial services, and we’ll have to pump though twice the volume of discounted products to ensure stability in our revenue, but clients will then get half my attention and my relationships and retention will slip. This puts me in a perpetual cycle to find more clients. No thanks. That said, on a $300k mortgage I only have to find $2300 in savings to prove I can beat the 2.99 rate savings, against other lenders 5 year offerings and since I routinely find ways to shorten amortization length and streamline debt obligations, paying one $299 for every 10 clients I meet with is the cheapest form of attracting clients to my business I can think of. It’s time to put our money where our mouths are. Join me in this revolution and join the conversation on twitter: #299challenge

    I'm not going to pay out $299 if I can prove my theory just because someone just wants the cash. My commitment is that I will go deeper and find a better strategy for you, which is what we all boast we do anyway. I think it's time we put our money where our mouths are and not just claim to have value, but actually quantify it with individual clients that would not have found us otherwise.

  • Jessi on 2012-03-10 6:41:56 AM


  • Ron Butler on 2012-03-10 6:51:26 AM

    Well Done

  • Drover on 2012-03-10 7:57:17 AM

    Hear , Hear ! Well done Mark and congrats on being innovative and having the courage to take this challenge on!

  • Story behind the story on 2012-03-10 1:42:00 PM

    Who is he kidding, if BMO was buying Broker business he would be all over it shouting from the top of the mountains, what a joke

  • Corinna on 2012-03-11 3:10:11 AM

    Bravo! What a fantastic idea!!! Thank you Mark Norman for taking time to challenge brokers to think differently - I will be for sure! Because I too have the strategy, I will be doing something similar in my market. Keep us posted on how well it goes!!!!!

  • Mark Norman - St. John's on 2012-03-11 5:13:02 AM

    No SBTS, he would not. We have access to a 2.99% product via AGF Trust right now as well, and it's far more flexible than BMO's product. That's not the issue here, but unfortunately, it appears you don't actually see the story behind this story.

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