“The only thing that will add to professionalism in our industry is to have a designation system -- a real one; the AMP is not properly administered and really doesn't provide true professionalism,” Jim Thornton of Real Mortgage Associates wrote on MortgageBrokerNews.ca. “In addition, adding continuing education credits to the mortgage industry would be a good thing. In effect, this will do as you suggest in adding to the overall cost of the industry, but at least you will be getting something out of it and forcing all agents and brokers to update their knowledge.”
The conversation was spawned by a MortgageBrokerNews.ca article about the prevalence of part-time mortgage brokers operating within the industry. And many industry players believe it’s too easy to become, and remain, a broker in Canada.
To become a broker in Ontario, for example, one is must be 18 years of age, a Canadian resident, authorized by a brokerage to deal in mortgages, and complete an approved educational course.
And while one broker suggested higher licensing fees to weed out part-timers, others believe the key lies in creating a broker designation that requires ongoing education and more rigorous course material.
“I can't help thinking if IMBA
didn't literally hand out these so called ‘professional designations’ to these part-timers then we wouldn't have them running around out there masquerading as mortgage professionals,” one reader, Sean Ryan, commented. “The industry is its own worst enemy in this matter.”
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.
Brokers are calling for a higher barrier to entry into the industry, and many believe the first step lies in establishing a more rigorous curriculum for attaining the broker designation.