Brokers fret about possible ING sale

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Mortgage brokers are worried that one of Canada’s big five banks might snap up ING Direct – its parent company now announcing the review of “strategic options” to sell the broker channel lender.

“News of ING’s possible sale took me by surprise,” Jeff Attwood, mortgage broker at Verico KW Mortgage, in Cambridge, Ont., told “They offer one of the best product selections and are real advocates of the broker channel.

“The worst case scenario would be one of the big banks snapping up ING and then cutting off the broker channel.”

Banking community observers reported today that rival Canadian banks were eyeing the Dutch-based online-focused ING, which is considering putting its Canadian and UK operations on the chopping block.

“ING continuously evaluates its portfolio of business, in line with its stated objective of sharpening its focus. Within this context, ING today announced that it is currently reviewing strategic options for ING Direct Canada and ING Direct UK,” the bank said in a statement issued Thursday.

“These review may or may not lead to transactions, and no decisions have yet been made in this regard,” the statement reads.

ING is considered to be a good buy. Mortgages held by the bank are considered very safe because thet are insured by CMHC. However, over the years the ING has marketed itself as alternative to the Big Five. There are concerns that INGs customer who flocked to the bank for this reason might flee once it is bought by a conventional bank.

Mortgage brokers, on the other hand, are worried over the fate of product offerings ING has.

“Many of our clients take advantage of ING’s line of credit product such as the Home Equity Line of Credit which you can’t get from the big banks other than Scotia,” said Attwood.

He also said ING provides brokers with a very helpful tool called the ore-approval rate hold system. It is essentially a website where brokers can enter basic information about a borrower and get an instant rate hold for that client. Attwood said it was a great time saver because normally lenders require brokers to submit a full application to hold a mortgage rate.

“Product diversity is always good for the mortgage industry. If ING gets bought by a big bank, we could lose some of the unique products ING offered,” said Attwood.


  • Ron Butler on 2012-08-08 3:09:53 AM

    It's a cycle. Many of us remember a time a few years ago when a new "Alt A" or sub prime lender opened up once a month. That was a very good time for brokers and our share of the market peaked.

    Now we approach the other end of that cycle, no "Alt A" and cut throat competition for Prime business. This is not the fun end of the cycle.

  • JM on 2012-08-08 3:38:30 AM

    No sense of worrying about ING,you can be assured they are not even giving one thought with respect to us (mortgage agents and brokers. They will do whatever suits them favorably. Move forward and wish everyone well.

  • jvice on 2012-08-08 7:58:14 AM

    Brokers should be supporting the broker friendly lenders not the big banks, they will cut you out sooner or later anyway.

    I am also a financial advisor and ING recently dropped all brokers from there investment products. Cost me thousands in residual income trailers.

    So that might be a sign of what's to come on the mortgage side.

  • Rob Campbell | on 2012-08-08 10:34:11 PM

    All of these comments are bang on.
    Count ING out. Within a year, they'll be sold and continue funding in house but will cut us out of the mix.
    These types of companies will just hammer away at current client retention, as well as market straight to the consumer.
    Support the Monolines. First National and Street Capital will grow immensely these next few years, but as Ron pointed out these times ahead will be very, very different than the gravy train we've been riding the last little while.

  • chris on 2012-08-11 2:30:16 AM

    I am soo tired of the threat that "Banks will cut us out" & "Support the monolines"....I have been left hanging by the monolines more times than I care to count...remember Macquarie? Brokers started in the marketplace when all there was were banks....and we will remain so with our great service and supporting the lenders that support us....Scotia has been amazing to me, as have credit unions and a few other lenders. The market will continue to change and we will just have to change with it...Read Boris Bozic's blog about brokers in Australia....big banks and brokers are what they have ...and Brokers have better market share than we do in Canada...I'm know every market is different, but ING was absolutely useless for us here in small town BC....

  • Bonnie on 2012-08-11 6:19:41 AM

    When they changed to collateral mortgage registration last year, we should not be surprised by this recent news. They are positioning themselves to be sold to a big bank.

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