Broker: Road reps adding to street cred

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Brokers worried about an increasing number of mobile mortgage specialists take cheer. That growth may be a good thing for mortgage professionals trying to establish their value proposition, says one industry exec.

“We’ve talked a lot about the negatives about the banks increasing their numbers in terms of road reps,” Allan Kates, VP of sales for Toronto brokerage Northwood Mortgage , told “But there is a positive to that, in that we have a large number of inexperienced mobile mortgage specialists entering the market and that inexperience only highlights the expertise of mortgage brokers and their value proposition.”

It’s an about-face from the conventional thinking around road rep competition – one that sees brokers as maintaining the upper hand even as the banks ramp up their sales staff.

Still, brokers have already begun to better sell themselves to prospective clients by using their skill set and moving the debate beyond rate. The growing complexity of the mortgage process – given new mortgage rules and the shifting rate landscape – have also amplified the need for expert advice, says Kates.

With their increasing reliance on new mobile specialists, banks have effectively handicapped themselves at a time when more clients are looking for the kind of knowledge brokers are best-positioned to provide, he told

Still, there’s some indication that the major banks may have already discovered that bigger isn’t necessarily better in terms of mobile sales forces.

The fourth quarter financials for RBC and BMO both suggest that they’re now moving to claw back on their road rep numbers, shedding 585 and 435 full-timers, respectively – among them branch and mobile sales employees.

Also, those banks aren't the only ones challenged by newbies and the reputational challenges they present their industry, said Mortgage Alliance President and CEO Michael Beckette.

"We also have inexperience mortgage agents, too," he told, advocating that brokerages focus on upping their customer service.

“No matter what the market does,” he said, “we have a job to perform. The fact is consumers like to deal with brokers, but once we get better at customer service, we are going to compete for their business at a whole different level. That should also lead to more strategic relationships with the lenders we deal with.”

  • Denys on 2011-12-20 7:07:50 AM

    Great point Allan! Another positive thing for brokers from bank mobile reps - borrowers are getting used to arrange mortgages outside of the branch walls!

  • Cup Half Full on 2011-12-21 1:27:22 AM

    The road reps in my area are very knowledgeable and provide excellent customer service - I know because I get their deals that they can't get approved. Don't always slam your competition...keep them close and partner with them.

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