Brokers: Time for Mono-line consumer advertising

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Mono-lines are facing renewed calls to increase consumer advertising, a way of helping mortgage brokers sell to often skeptical clients – inclined to dismiss all non-banks as B lenders.

“Indeed, I think that there needs to be a push to educate consumers on just what a mono-line lender is,” Dustan Woodhouse, broker with Dominion Lending Centres Canadian Mortgage Experts on B.C.’s Lower Mainland, told “They are pretty much invisible to the consumer currently.

“The non-bank lenders do not do any significant advertising promoting the channel that brings them business or even of themselves. Thus in the minds of most consumers, when they hear names MCAP, Street, First National, etc., they lump them in with the heavily advertised local B lenders.”

That lack of clarity makes it harder for brokers focused on A deals to sell clients on mono-line lending as a legitimate and safe alternative to TD, Scotia and National Bank, but also the big banks working outside the broker channel, said Woodhouse, one of this year’s CMP Top 50.

Ostensibly, advertising targeting consumers would help to better position mono-lines as an alternative to the Big Six and help distance them from the alternative lenders in this country, still grappling with fallout from the American real estate crisis and the subprime lending that led to it.

“I would like to see the public narrative surrounding brokers shift from ‘bad credit, weak income, bank said no?’ to ‘excellent credit, strong portfolio, solid career or business of your own?’” said Woodhouse. “I understand that as brokers we control how we advertise ourselves, but the catch there is that the lucrative and competitive world of B lending has a wealth of advertising by the actual B lenders themselves and independent brokers tend to be associated with those sorts of advertisements as we are clearly not associated with any of the big bank adverts.”

For mono-lines, increasingly squeezed by tight margins, advertising campaigns vary from institution to institution, but generally focus on reaching out to brokers rather than their clients. Mortgage professionals are themselves viewed as an advertising vehicle.

While consumer advertising around the AMP designation has helped to lift the veil off of the industry, high-profile, aggressive campaigns by large broker networks are increasingly credited with elevating consumer awareness of the channel.

As a DLC broker, Woodhouse has likely benefited from that growing public awareness courtesy of the Don Cherry campaign, still a direct appeal by mono-lines would only strengthen industry credibility and counter negative perceptions about its lenders.

“I see a need for more editorial and public discourse about why a AAA client should still be seeking the services of a broker,” he told “It would also be good to see some education on non-bank lenders that actually names the companies and details some history and answers the client’s biggest question – what if they go out of business?”

That can only help, said another B.C. veteran of the industry, although the increasing emphasis on rates has generally helped to level the playing field for big name banks and little-known non-banks.

“There’s only benefit to a mono-line advertising campaign,” Alma Pasic, director of mortgage solutions at Verico AM Financial, told “There is no downside.”

  • Julia not-afraid-to-use-my-real-name Krause on 2011-10-05 5:14:09 AM

    So NOW the reason brokers are losing clients to the big banks is that the independent lenders don't advertise to the public? If you're losing clients to the big banks, you have no one to blame but yourself.

  • Liz on 2011-10-05 6:20:50 AM

    I agree with D. I also think this would be confusing to the general public as the monolines do not deal directly with them. I think it is up to the entire Broker network/CAAMP/IMBA to continue to get the word out about what our industry actually brings to the table.

  • Rachelle on 2011-10-05 6:32:22 AM

    I agree Julia. I'd say one of the reasons the monolines pay you is to represent them and explain why they're better than a Bank. And in the end, it's only in your best interest than sending them to the bank. Supporting Monolines helps grow broker marketshare. If you keep taking the easy route and send to the banks you'll continue to see broker market share decline.
    While I agree, Monolines can provide some better marketing material, what are you doing besides taking the path of least resistance?

  • Angela Wong-Liao, Invis Inc on 2011-10-05 8:51:44 AM

    As a veteran mortgage professional, I believe that it is both responsibility of CAAMP/IMBA and us, the front line mortgage professionals to promote monolines.

  • The Broker on 2011-10-05 10:24:28 AM

    Unfortunately CAAMP is too busy beating the dead horse AMP designation for the 1000 or so actual mortgage brokers in Canada who still hold this valueless designation. When will CAAMP get it that we need a national organization promoting broker awareness? DLC has done far more for our industry in the last year than CAAMP has done in the past 10.

  • Carlo on 2011-10-05 11:35:13 PM

    What the monolines and the broker channel need to do is not more marketing but more work together to deliver a truly differentiating experience to the client..Clients, especially AAA clients want an easy, comfortable experience with the right product at a competitive rate with great advice. The broker can deliver on the advice, service and right product piece, but we need the monolines to contribute by being creative and innovative in how they deliver their products, process and policy..Where is the client experience value differntiator in the AAA spacef rom the monolines?..

  • Didar on 2011-10-07 5:38:46 AM

    Julia, Monoline lender not advertising is not the sole reason we are losing business to the bank but if there is more public awareness on who these lender are only helps brokers sell them to the public. After 11 years of brokering I still have clients who commited to the brand name banks and have never heard of MCAP, street capital. We are talking about promoting the use of brokers and non bank lenders, how can this be a bad thing?

  • Julia Krause on 2011-10-07 6:58:07 AM

    Who said promoting brokers & non-bank lenders is a bad thing? I'm saying brokers can do a better job of educating clients on the difference between banks and non-bank lenders. That's our job. We are here to educate and provide an alternative, and change the 'Canadian way' of thinking that going to the bank is the right (or best, or proper, or accepted, or whatever!) thing to do. THAT is how we'll stop losing clients to the banks.

  • John Dearin on 2011-10-08 8:21:56 PM

    Mono-lines need to offer bank accounts, RRSP's, car loans etc., before we can compete with the banks on an equal footing. they tie thier selling and convice the client that life will be better to deal with one place. Illegal? So what. You think the government will step in?

  • mtgdr on 2011-10-05 3:57:06 AM

    I absolutely agree with this. There is not enough advertising being done on promoting the use of a mortgage broker and the broker friendly lenders (monoline lenders). This is something that the whole industry from CAAMP, IMBA, major brokerages and CEO of Monoline lenders should be involved in doing. This advertising would benefit everyone in the broker industry and help secure our future. We need more public awareness on our industry. Instead of spending millions of dollars on conferences and golf tournaments we should be putting that money into an advertising campaign that would benefit everyone.

    I am surprised that the Monoline lenders never thought of advertising the way that Home Trust has on the B side. Monoline lenders should promote themselves and let the public know that the best way to obtain their products is through a licensed mortgage broker.

  • D on 2011-10-05 4:19:53 AM

    The margins are not massive on A deals, advertising is expensive and it would most likely either affect what they pay brokers or the rates they would be able to offer. We want monolines to compete on pay, product, rate etc. with the banks who often treat that first mortgage as a loss leader, while we ask the monolines not to go direct to the client. I think it is asking a lot of them to advertise for us to. Advertising should be done by the brokers, the broker houses and CAAMP (CAAMP could use some of the sponsership money they already get from these lenders.) Monolines could do a better job as a whole providing brokers with client friendly tools, handouts etc. to help us explain who they are to our clients. I just think that sometimes as brokers we put too much blame on the lenders, I think for the future of our industry we should be realistic about how important monolines are to brokers and how we can work with them to keep them profitable and in the market.

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