Brokers: there are too many of us

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Broker numbers continue to represent a challenge for the industry, that according to mortgage professionals themselves, in answering a recent survey.

 While 33 per cent of brokers canvassed for the fall 2011 CAAMP-Maritz survey characterized that number as “just right,” a whopping 61 per cent said “there are too many brokers” in the Canadian industry. Some 7 per cent argued that “there are not enough.”

The results speak to growing broker concerns around “part-time” mortgage professionals and any consumer perception challenges associated with those agents.

Still, 2012 is likely to see a significant number of agents opt to leave the business, argue industry veterans pointing to higher licensing standards in Ontario.

Last month, FSCO revealed that as much as 10 per cent to 15 per cent of the province's 9,000-plus licensed agents are no longer working at a brokerage and, therefore, unauthorized to sell mortgages, IMBA Executive Director Joe Rosati told

Those mortgage professionals have likely abandoned the business in the more than 21 months since the 2010 renewal period or have taken up administrative or management positions within the industry, he told

Either way, that group’s sheer size is likely the strongest indication to date that Ontario may lose as much as 10 per cent to 15 per cent of its registered mortgage professionals.

The figure jives with the estimates of other industry leaders.

“In the last license renewal period in March 2010, 15 per cent of Ontario licensees – agents and brokers – did not renew their license,” CAAMP CEO Jim Murphy told “In the 18 months since ….They have made up for the 15 per cent loss. Brokers and agents in Ontario this time must also take a re-licensing course, which they did not have to do last time (and) my guess would be (the loss could be) 10 per cent to 15 per cent.”

That kind of chop would likely result from discouraged and inactive brokers opting to exit the business rather than submit to new education requirements introduced this year and taking effect next March. That significant percentage may reflect that phenomenon.

Come April 1, 2012, brokers and agents must have proven they’ve completed a re-licensing course, designed to improve compliance with provincial laws.

  • SW Ont broker on 2012-01-04 4:47:10 AM

    Make it tougher - stop the idiots who are here for a short time - stop the "Jewelery guys" in Toronto (that's embarrasing! Really makes us look bad ! Stop the Part Time, police the companies who continually mess up, Have FSCO monitor those who lie, cheat and steal - after all we pay big $ for representation !!Letting real estate brokers / agents do mortgages is a joke. Can we sell houses - no - so why should they be allowed to buy franchise's ??... Whats good for the goose is good for the gander ! Do it the right way !!! is the only way.

  • Tony Iannetti on 2012-01-04 5:01:34 AM

    I beleive the challenges in the our industry is not the number of full or part time brokers but rather the licencing and educational requirements to become a broker. An apprenticeship program may be a great solution to help increase the professionalism and experience for new brokers.

  • Liz on 2012-01-04 5:02:22 AM

    There are most certainly not enough Brokers in the marketplace today. There are, however, far too many that are part timers. The part timers are the ones that should go. I am tired of taxi drivers, for example trying to sell me a mortgage. Clean the industry up and let the full timers go after the 70 plus percent of the marketshare we are not getting today!

  • David O'Gorman on 2012-01-04 6:40:56 AM

    Too Many of US? How about way too many of the Unregulated THEM?

    I just looked at, there are approximately 300 “mortgage” positions available, across Canada, listed on this one website.

    90% of the positions are for mortgage specialists/advisors for banks or insurance companies. None of these positions will be filled by licensed individuals, having a fiduciary responsibility to the client, abiding by any code of ethics/code of professional conduct, or having any form of provincially mandated “continuing education”. They will not have to worry about the compliance, financial & time burdens placed on licensed mortgage professionals.

    The reality is the barriers to entry in the mortgage brokerage industry are minimal at best. In Ontario, a one- time 5 day course, $700.00 every other year licensing fee, your bi-annual 5 hours of CE & your annual E&O fees & you are in…or you are out for two years & you can come back.

    People keep whining about part-timers. There are AMP’s driving taxis in Toronto. There is nothing you can legally do to stop part-timers, as long as they abide by the law. That said, I wouldn’t want a part-time “mortgage professional” working on my behalf any more than I would want a part-time surgeon operating on me. However, if both the full-timer & the part-timer are licensed & in compliance it is the consumer who has the right to choose with whom they do business.We need stronger standards of formal education, so the barriers to entry are significant.

    What we really need is an mortgage brokerage association stepping up to the plate, and planning & implementing a consumer awareness/education program, showing the positive differences between doing business with a provincially licensed mortgage agent/broker, and bank “mortgage specialist”. Stop dividing the industry into “CAAMPS” & “non-CAAMPS”. There are only two classes of people in the mortgage brokerage industry, provincially licensed mortgage agents & brokers, & everybody else.
    While Murphy & Rosati are playing “Pro-Line for Ontario mortgage registrants”, I will place my bet that the nonrenewal rate for licensed mortgage agents/brokers in Ontario will be closer to 18 to 22%. Odds anyone?

  • Full Time Broker on 2012-01-04 6:55:05 AM

    Part timers don't really affect my business but they indirectly affect my industry in a negative way. If the barriers to entry were high enough to push them out I wouldn't lose sleep.

  • Nolan Matthias on 2012-01-04 7:33:41 AM

    I think we need more in order to compete with the banks. That said, the model needs to change as well. It is our own fault as an industry that we have not provided the tools necessary for part-time agents to become productive full time agents.

    Think about it. There are far less mortgage specialists who fail than mortgage brokers. It can only be the result of better tools and higher expectations.

  • non-industry observer on 2012-01-04 8:44:11 AM

    im not an agent right now, but next week I could be. There is your problem. In what other profession could I pull that off?

  • AB Broker on 2012-01-04 11:52:50 AM

    To: "non-industry observer" You could be a licensed agent by next week in certain provinces, however you could be un-licensed providing mortgages for a bank by the end of the day tomorrow, which is an even bigger problem within the mortgage industry as a whole.

  • Chuck on 2012-01-05 1:38:03 AM

    I'm not an active agent, though I have completed the agent's course through CAAMP. When I do license, I will very likely start as part-time, phasing into full-time over a period of time. My background is 20-years as a financial controller. I'm not going to pretend that I understand the industry, but most industries today wouldn't survive without part-timers. Getting rid of part-timers in any industry is not going to fix the problems that you speak of. I'm sure that there are as many "bad" part-timers as there are "bad" full-timers. The issue should be more about education/experience and far less about whether one put's 80 hours or 20 hours a week into their business of providing service to the public. To jump full-time into a commission based industry with no weekly income to support one during the early days...does that show the public that we are financially responsible to provide the public with sound financial advice?

  • non-industry observer on 2012-01-05 1:51:58 AM

    to AB Broker: good point. two wrongs do not make a right however. To the average customer, if I were to make that transition to the bank tomorrow I would at least have the "credibility" of a big bank behind my name. I strongly stress the quotations around credibility.

  • Happy to do the deals you blow on 2012-01-05 9:07:15 AM

    As a full time mortgage agent I get a great deal of business from the inept part-time, wanna be mortgage agents. You blow the deal but the consumer still wants a mortgage at a great rate so they find me on line where I have dedicated a great deal of time and money to show my knowledge, experience and that I get the job done. In fact I ring a bell in my office each time I do one of the deals that you blow! I know you aren't going away so I'll just take advantage of your lack of knowledge and skill to make a great living as a Full Time Licensed Mortgage Professional. Sign me tired of paying FSCO for nothing!

  • Paul P, Ottawa on 2012-01-08 1:12:20 PM

    from my experience the re-licencing process is excellent. Full of useful reminders. Does it go far enough? No. The current process is truly basic and minimal. It really would not scare anybody away from the mortgage business because of any elevated standard or burden. People leave the business because there is not enough money for everybody to make a decent living. So maybe there are too many of us. Of course those that stick with it and put in a half decent effort will succeed. Starting salary is $0. That deters a lot of people. The 3-5 year climb to self sufficiency creates a lot of turnover. I must say though it is a great career. I agree wit one commentor, the real problem now is that there are too many unlicensed mortgage "specialists" in the banks, insurance companies and investment houses. They seem to be almost unregulated, self policed by their employers namely the banks, etc.. Self policing rarely works - Where is the government when we want them? The same standards and licencing process must apply to all agents selling or advising on mortgages.

  • An Outside Observer on 2012-01-09 11:15:52 AM

    I think is like in every business, if you do the leg work you will be rewarded in the end. It does not matter if you do it part time or full time.

  • Zoltan M. Padar on 2012-01-19 9:36:32 AM

    The first requirement should be for mortgage brokers, to have the brokerage an office open to the public, where the associate to show up to conduct business, get educated and get directions as well supervision. People working in their pajamas from home are not professional, no matter what they think. Also set up more continuous programs to educate Brokers as well as associates. RECA is on the right path, hope they will keep improving members standards by getting the unfit punted.

  • Whatsup379 on 2013-05-06 3:46:47 PM

    How can a person start a commission job with $0 salary when there is a gauranteed income every week? However this person is quite interested in choosing this as a permanent career and hence would like to start part-time to see if this is their field of expertise or not. One cannot ask a person to quit their gauranteed income job and jump into a 100% commission and hope that there will be some money he/she can make.

    I am getting my license and will be starting part-time. Once I see that there is consistent income flow, then and then only I will leave my gauranteed income source.

  • Part Time Broker on 2013-05-07 6:28:24 PM

    It appears that no one like part time brokers and some of the "bashing" in the comments is certainly less than professional.

    I know who appreciates my work. My clients and lenders. My clients get great rates, advice and service.

    Over my last 5 years of being part time I have achieved an 85% closing ratio with my lenders.

    Before you bash, you should accept the fact that some part time time brokers are good at what they do and are assets to the industry.

    How do I compete with full time brokers and bank reps? Service, all emails and phone calls are returned within a hour. How many full time brokers can do that?

  • LOL part time on 2013-10-11 1:32:59 PM

    HA! i joined a legit brokerage. they take 50/50 on your 1st deals and you deal with the head guy. They too busy working their own deals & blew mine!!!! They got me out the business fast enough/ ALL NEW AGENTS- beware of where you JOIN!

    go on kijiji and see how many brokers / agents are there---- NOT ENOUGH BUSINESS

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