“Unfortunately, mortgage brokers are still a well-kept secret,” says Brian Gentles, a mortgage broker with TMG
The Mortgage Group Alberta Ltd. “I run in to lots of A clients – and I’ve been doing this for 15 years now – who are dealing with a mortgage broker for the first time. And they say to me, ‘how come we didn’t know about you?’”
Despite the near-exponential growth of the alternative lending space, it is still a bit of a puzzle that the majority of people looking for a mortgage or a renewal remain oblivious to a profession that can save the client thousands of dollars.
In a lot of cases, these people who have come looking for a mortgage broker have had experiences with their local branch that Gentles describes as disappointing.
“I just had a solid-gold A client come to us for the first time, referred by another happy client, and they had gotten a renewal notice on a variable rate mortgage at prime,” Gentles told MortgageBrokerNews
. “And prime variable mortgages are running about prime -0.56 per cent to prime -0.7per cent. Their existing lender offered them a renewal at prime.”
Gentles says that for the client, there was no credit or income issues, and that they had “a ton of equity” in their home.
“Needless to say, it was a very easy file to get approved,” he says, “and they are very happy with their solution. But they didn’t know where to go; and now, they are our best marketing tool.”
The unfortunate part of the process is the perception that you only go to a mortgage broker when you’ve been turned down by the bank.
“We offer a broader choice; we offer advice much like a financial planner,” says Gentles. “We don’t do investment advice, but we certainly offer credit advice and debt counselling and restructuring.”
While Gentles says that CAAMP
and the provincial associations do their part to spread the word, it is an unfair fight compared to the big budgets of the big lenders.
“We don’t have the advertising budget that the Big Green Chair does,” he says. “Or big blue!”
Brokers may be scoring hit after hit with clients who are already knocking on their door, but the fact remains that for a large segment of the population – mortgage brokers remain virtually invisible.