One leading broker is staring into his crystal ball and forecasting another year of competitive advantage for the bank branch in one or two key areas.
“It’s going to be a very tough year for mortgage brokers (and) I think the continuing underwriting challenges and the continuing changes to the nuts and bolts of underwriting are going to make it harder and harder to do refinancing,” Ron Butler of Verico Butler Mortgages told MortgageBrokerNews.ca. “On the purchase side they’re going to make it tougher for brokers to do purchases but frankly I think the banks will find a way to get around some of the minute changes in the rules.
“Whereas we’re not going to get away with it.”
Underwriting has been a hot-button issue for brokers in 2013, with lenders implementing roadblocks for many borrowers, especially self-employed Canadians. It’s an issue believed to affect mortgage brokers more negatively than bank specialists who, according to Butler, seem more adept at finding a way around the issue.
“At the end of the day, the microscopic things that just kill us (brokers) have to do with the new treatment of debt ratios … how the lender treats what the client’s debt is versus what it says in the credit bureau,” Butler said. “The branches have always found a way to get around that. I’ve been doing this for 20 years and they’ve always found a way to deal with those issues.”
That branch flexibility doesn’t extend to all deals, leaving brokers a competitive advantage in some areas, argues Butler.
“They can’t always deal with pricing issues,” he said. “But if they’ve got a great client with a conventional mortgage… with a ton of history in their branch, positive credit history, good assets, they can do things we just can’t.”
This is part one of a two-part forecast for 2014. Check back on Monday for part two.