Brokers fear more compensation cuts

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Mortgage professionals are worried First National's compensation cut will see other lenders follow suit or -- what's even more sinister -- adjust their interest rates to force broker buydowns.

“First National's decision was troubling because many brokers fear other lenders would follow suit,” said Sudip Adhikari, a broker with Centum in Toronto. “A slowing economy like this could be a perfect excuse for lenders to do the same."
So far no other lenders have announced plans to reduce compensation, Adhikari said, but shrinking broker compensation is not the only threat.
“Another worry is that lenders might decide to maintain broker comp. at current levels but hike their interest rates,” he said. “This will curtail our ability to compete and could force many brokers to buy down rates.”
Sometime in August, First National told brokers that they will be reducing broker fees across the board by 5 bps. The lender also moved to discontinue its Wizard Reward Program to win greater efficiencies.
At that time, some brokers speculated the loss of FirstLine also had a hand in the decision.

“First National says the move was aimed at reducing cost,” said Brad Geisler, broker with the Mortgage Centre in Alberta, “I suspect it is partly the result of FirstLine's exit from the market. With less competition lenders can afford to lower rate, but they need to recoup that somehow.”
The current market sump has forced many brokers to focus on searching for alternative revenue streams. If broker fee cuts become a a trend, that search will take on greater urgency, said Adhikari.

Indeed, in recent months many brokers have admitted to exploring other opportunities such as selling
insurance or leaving the broker business.
“Broker fees is our bread and butter," he said. "If that tap is reduced to a trickle we'll need to find another spout.”

  • Mortgage Master on 2012-10-06 2:22:28 AM

    It would be nice if the article was accurate.... First National did not discontinue its Wizard Reward Program, they only discontinued a portion of that program leaving a majority of the rewards in place. Prudent lenders with solid underwriting... I certainly can't say that for the rest of the industry.

  • Vic Lehan, Mortgage Architects on 2012-10-06 2:38:21 AM

    A proactive way to offset this would be for us in the brokerage community to increase our funding ratios. We need to know that the deal fits at a certain lender before we send it. And once it is sent try to keep it there. Lenders take on a cost in underwriting and hedging funds for these deals. If we continue as a brokerage community to just throw a deal at a lender without thinking and see if it sticks then that won't do much for us in the long run.

  • Shaun Zipursky on 2012-10-06 2:42:55 AM

    Scotia announced at their broker trip last week that commissions on 5 year fixed / VRM will be cut by 5 bps. Although its not a "straight across the board" cut it's still a cut.

  • JM on 2012-10-06 2:51:53 AM

    Let First National do what they want. Don't give them the business, there action's deserve nothing less than that. There are other lender's out there who understand how hard mortgage agents and brokers work out there in the field to bring business their way and compensate accordingly and respectfully. Deal with these lender's. They are the lender.s that care and respect our efforts, so forget First National. There respect for mortgage agents and brokers at this moment right now is non existent which is sadly unfortunate as it was the same brokers and agents that build this company to the success it achieved and this is their reward to the good people that put them there. No more deals there way, is the way to go.

  • Ann T on 2012-10-06 3:13:02 AM

    With the influx of brokers willing to offer rates that have been bought down, I would not be surprised to find lenders increase rates slightly, forcing a buy down rather than announce cuts to finder's fees.

    As far as First Nat's cut goes, they remain competitive. I have found them willing to work with me, meeting me half way in the cost of a buy down when I'm at risk of losing a deal unlike many other lenders.

  • Ottawa Agent on 2012-10-10 4:18:49 AM

    Let's be honest with ourselves, we are paid very well for what we do. If we can turn the focus from volume to efficiency, then lenders wouldn't be having to cut commissions. Unprofessional or unknowledgible brokers have casued this issue. even in my office, brokers flip lenders for quick close rates. Play with fire, you get burned. It is our own fault.

  • Aussie rules on 2012-10-11 8:41:12 AM

    I think its funny that a monoline leads the way in reducing broker compensation.
    Low rates equals fee cuts, more on the way is my prediction.

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